Can a chimpanzee be considered a legal person? Apparently, ‘not for now’ a judge ruled back in December 2013, in Niagara County, New York. The Nonhuman Rights Project, a group that supports legal rights for chimpanzees, was denied a writ of habeas corpus (produce the body, or governing against unlawful detention) for a 26-year-old chimp named Kiko. Had the writ been granted, Kiko’s owners would have been ordered to appear in court and justify his detainment, thus opening the door to consideration of something unprecedented in American history: the possibility of legal personhood for a non-human animal. I believe the ‘pro’ argument was based on the premise that chimps remain genetically similar in design to humans, which in itself goes a long way to explaining why the animal has been so badly treated by scientists claiming to be working on our behalf! Since human rights are denied to human beings every day, and everywhere, perhaps Kiko the chimpanzee might be better off retaining his animal rights, after all, some animal rights can only improve, whereas human rights can only deteriorate!
Cut to this week!
A New York judge has granted the legal right of habeas corpus to two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, currently being held in detention at a biomedical research facility at Stony Brook University, Long Island, where the animals have reportedly been used by scientists studying the evolution of human bipedalism. A final ruling will be given on 6th of May as to chimp status. If the two chimpanzees are indeed given legal person status, what is there to prevent Nonhuman Rights Project lawyers suing the university for compensation that may be used to better house Hercules and Leo?
What does the future hold for general animal kind? Despite the 21st century anarchy that prevails around the world, animal captivity…labs and zoos, must surely one day come to an end, after all, most right thinking individuals believe our domination over the animal kingdom is a heinous crime. Re-educating the wider public towards anything remains a slow and painful process. For instance, it wasn’t that long ago we were all led to believe the chimpanzee was to blame for AIDS!? Furthermore, what can be done about the millions of backward-thinking people who still cling to the belief that animal parts from endangered creatures can cure all ailments, when in fact their claim couldn’t be any further from the truth!