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Activists want chimp declared a person

Animal_rights_activists_are_trying_Somehow, as we planned for Memorial Day weekend (hot dogs or chicken? Indy or Iron Man? "Living Lohan" or "Deadliest Catch"?)  we missed some of the most important animal news ever.

Austrian animal rights activists are fighting to get a 26-year-old chimpanzee legally declared a "person," and they say they have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. The International Herald Tribune reports:

The Vienna-based Assn. Against Animal Factories insists the chimp needs that legal standing so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests — especially if the bankrupt animal shelter caring for him shuts down....

In January, Austria's Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling that had rejected the activists' request to have a trustee appointed for the chimp. The high court ruled that under Austrian law, only people are entitled to have guardians.

The full name of the chimp, above, is Matthew Hiasl Pan. Last year, the shelter where he lived filed for bankruptcy protection.

(This all raises another question: Can a human be legally declared a chimp? We can offer up candidates if pressed.)

--  Alice Short

Photo: Lilli Strauss / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (16)

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It doesn't elevate a monkey to call it a legal person. It is a putdown to the rest of humanity that surrounds the animal rights person. An intended putdown if the animal rights person were honest. They should have formed their social relationships with human beings more successfully. I don't think they have. That is where the energy is coming from. It is hostile energy. The animal should be protected if it can be under legal doctrines that don't come near those that protect humans. If it can't it's just AN ANIMAL. A cow is an animal too. Are we going to call a cow a person too? You know the answer to that one right? That's the real point here. Nature religion time.

This is outrageous!! What is happening to the world that we're living in? There are numerous ways to take care of a "chimp" rather than declaring him a "person" to reap benifits that "persons" get! I think that the same individuals who are fighting to get the chimp the recognition should be declared "chimps" so that they can attend to his needs. Or it doesn't work vice versa??? hmmmm

The activists need to consider the fact that if an animal is considered a "person", what happens if he is injured and needs to be put to sleep. Is that murder? Does he have the right to vote? Does he need a social security number? The list goes on. Why not just have his owner identify a trustee to their estate (including the chimp)?

Why would a chimp want to lower his standards and become a human?

Next, they'll want the new "person" who is still a chimp to have the same rights to marry a human. Why not? When will it all end?

Good Lord. I'm as liberal as they come, but this is ridiculous.

Is it any more absurd, ridiculous or outlandish for a chimp to be declared a "person" than a corporation? Yet our law considers corporations as "persons".

From the comments posted people are more worried about their own rights than the well being of this animal. Your not looking at the issue and the issue is there is a person who wants the right to take care of this chimp legally and their proposal is the most efficient and logical way to do this through the legal system.

this case isn't about declaring monkeys as better than humans but declaring a species thats shares over 98 percent the same dna as humans and the intellgence greater than many mentally handicapped humans is a far cry from naming a cow a human.

Why infringe on someone trying to help out a friend? Look at the hatred in what you are writing, no wonder so many people are better friends with animals then the faceless bloggers and think very little before they write.

Yeah, then someone will want to marry the chimp get rejected and then kill it. man some people ain't got no sense.
Rob Herndon

Next he'll be a registered Democrat.

I'm amazed at how angry some of these comments are. Wow, people, relax! I love that this will now mean we will "marry chimps". Gee whiz, get a friggin sense of humor. Are you people just itching to be angry at ANYTHING? It's an insult to humans...more like an insult to chimps, seeing some of these wacky reactions. I'm betting you are voting for McCain. Weirdo conservatives always worried about the "sanctity of marriage", the "sanctity of being human". Get over yourselves.

I'm amazed at how angry some of these comments are. Wow, people, relax! I love that this will now mean we will "marry chimps". Gee whiz, get a friggin sense of humor. Are you people just itching to be angry at ANYTHING? It's an insult to humans...more like an insult to chimps, seeing some of these wacky reactions. I'm betting you are voting for McCain. Weirdo conservatives always worried about the "sanctity of marriage", the "sanctity of being human". Get over yourselves.

Please do not degrade animals by calling them 'persons', They are superior to humans.

Chimps are not monkeys, as the previous poster claimed.

They are Great Apes, like humans, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos. They are our nearest relatives among non-humans. They have feelings, memories and self-consciousness. They bond socially iin long-term loving relationships. They are "smarter" than many mentally disabled humans and infants whom we grant rights to.

The is a good argument to be made that Great Apes are persons with legal rights. Not all legal rights, of course. But neither do children or disabled people have all rights.

Gorrillas are on the right. Bonobos are left-wingers.

Having the right to not be tortured or killed is not the same as having "rights" to drive a car, marry or own things. Of course, as the US no longer thinks humans should have the right to not be tortured, I guess it might be better to be an ape in Spain. The important thing is that the study of animal DNA, intelligence, emotions, culture and social structures is slowly giving us a lot more information about how alike or different we people and various other animals are. The lines of relationships may have to be redrawn again, as they have been in the past when slaves, women and children slowly gained rights as (then) science revealed how similar they were to the (then) ruling white men. This process has occured before, just with different "beings" in focus. As a woman, I benefit from the fact that around 100 years ago people figured out that women were similar to men. It was a shocking thought at the time.The challenge is that serious thought and analysis has become unpopular in these times, and certainly in these types of venues.


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