Friday, May 04, 2007

Are Apes People Too?

Foxnews reports of an interesting case in which a case is being made in Viennese court to grant basic human rights to a chimpanzee.

The campaign was launched earlier this year after the animal sanctuary where Hiasl (pronounced HEE-zul) and another chimp, Rosi, have lived for the past 25 years went bankrupt.

Activists want to ensure the two apes don't wind up homeless if the shelter closes. Both have already suffered trauma: They were captured as babies in Sierra Leone in 1982 and smuggled in a crate to Austria for use in experiments at a pharmaceutical research laboratory. Customs officers intercepted the shipment and turned the chimps over to the shelter.

Apparently, this is a growing trend.

Austria isn't the only country where primate rights are being debated. Spain's parliament is considering a bill that would endorse the Great Ape Project, a Seattle-based international initiative to extend "fundamental moral and legal protections" to apes.

It would certainly set an interesting historical precedent.


  1. The trouble with granting (other) apes rights, of course, is the question of ape-on-ape violence; if one ape beats up another, do we indict the bully for battery?

  2. Interesting. One of the things that Jane Goodall witnessed was attempted genocide of one "clan" by another. Pure, unadulterated violence.