Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chimp Rights

Is it time that chimps are given legal rights? What about elephants, dolphins and whales?

" This morning New York’s Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether chimpanzees deserve to be given legal rights - specifically two chimps named Hercules and Leo being held in captivity by Stony Brook University in New York State for use in an anatomical research programme.

For the sake of posterity, the case is “Nonhuman Rights Project v. Stanley, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 152736-2015”.

That’s a joke, right?

No. The Nonhuman Rights Project, a group founded by Steven Wise, an attorney and animal rights activist, is deadly serious. And the question of whether the most intelligent non-human animals should have a legal status beyond mere objects has generated significant legal debate in recent years.

But how can a chimp have rights if it can’t even speak?

Nor can some mentally ill people, or unborn children for that matter. But they still have legal rights.

So which “right” do they want chimps to be granted?

Specifically, the right to liberty – or “bodily freedom” – ie not to be stuck in a cage, or a science lab.

So if the court decides in their favour do the chimps simply walk off into Manhattan?

No. But they do get to go to a sanctuary in Florida to live out their days in as much freedom as is practically possible. "
This will be interesting to watch. I suspect that most, if not all, venues have animal cruelty prohibitions. And the US Constitution refers to humans with no intent of referring to animals. Still, in today's anti-intellectual atmosphere anything can happen. You can deprive life to your fetus but animals must have lives that are free of intervention? Of course.

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