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Should Chimpanzees Be Given Human Rights?
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Should Chimpanzees Be Given Human Rights?

A New York judge has approved a petition to consider making chimpanzees are legal persons!

  • The Case That Could Change Things

This approval has occurred due to a case concerning two chimpanzees called Leo and Hercules who have had medical experiments conducted on them at the Stony Brook University in Long Island. The University has to make an appearance in court at a later date to provide a good reason why the two chimpanzees have been interned. However, it has been requested that the two chimpanzees are set free so that they can stay at Save the Chimps, a Florida sanctuary, where they can be with over 200 other chimpanzees in a habitat that mimics their natural African environment. Hopefully this will happen. The Nonhuman Rights Project is an organization working very hard through common law to gain legal rights for animals. Instead of viewing animals as objects, they fight for animals to be given rights such as bodily integrity. The Hercules and Leo case was brought forward by the Nonhuman Rights Project so that they can be freed. This is the first time in history that an Order to Show Cause has been granted, resulting in a hearing that will be held on 27 May 2015.

  • Why Animals Need Human Rights 

Giving animals legal personhood really means giving them human rights. Although it is a controversial subject, this really just ensures that animals are given basic rights, among them being that they are not property but individuals, and they are protected so that they can live their lives freely instead of being at risk of suffering at the hands of human beings. This is especially important if we consider that animals feel a range of emotions, just like us. Think of how cows have best friends and feel anxious when they are not together. Think of how your pet dog will walk over to you and rest his head on your lap when he can sense that you are sad. Think of how chimpanzees contain 90 percent of human DNA. But even other animals should have human rights, such as those raised on farms who are kept in cages and reared for their fur or to become food for humans, as well as animals that end up in the circus to provide entertainment. Giving animals human rights makes sense. After all, isn’t it our responsibility to look out for those beings on the planet who cannot voice their feelings and opinions? So much is spoken about saving the environment, the oceans, and the ozone layer, and those things cannot speak yet they require our diligent work to heal the planet. The same goes for animals.  







*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

More about animal, rights, New, York, laws, legal, persons
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  1. Support
    Wow-- what a great read! Thanks!
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  2. Marvin Double
    Marvin Double
    As a long time vegan I understand the intention of the initiative to give animals human rights. From a purely emotional point of view the concept has merit. Many animals are complex, sentient beings with a broad spectrum of thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, the natural world is filled with a animal species which are simpler physically in terms of gross anatomy and neurological capacity. While we can relate to Chimps as being more human like, or dogs as being empathetic, it is harder to relate emotionally to mussels and clams. Giving chimpanzees human status sets them apart from other creatures. More to the point, legal recognition of this status may create a certain legal standard, or threshold to meet to achieve personhood. In that regard such an action could in fact exclude equally deserving animals. Exclusion from this club of recognition could actually imperil the very efforts of animal rights activists. Legal precedents are tricky, slippery things which do not always work in everyones best interest. Legal precedent is used to justify human executions, and obviously those being executed are already recognized as being human. The idea of creating some kind of measuring stick by which to judge humanness is, in my opinion, a dangerous thing. I also think it works against the basic vegan premise to respect all life. As a final note, consider also the following point. Many countries have so called charters of human rights. The United Nations has a very well written and clear Charter of Human Rights. The noble intention of these documents is obvious, and routinely ignored. War, poverty and starvation all violate human rights on a massive scale daily. Hour by hour egregious violations of human rights take place in the billions. This fact leaves me to ask a simple question: Why would any animal actually want to have so called Human Rights?
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