The following, I kid you not, is a real news story from LifesiteNews.com:
Austrian Court to Decide if Chimpanzee is Deserving of “Human Status”
Animal rights activist judge stalls court proceedings to determine asylum status of chimp
By Meg Jalsevac
VIENNA, April 4, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Animal rights activists and leading experts in several biological fields including primatology and anthropology are joining forces to uphold a case going before an Austrian court which seeks a declaration of ‘human status’ for a 26 year old chimpanzee.
. . . . .
Spearheaded by the efforts of Dr. Martin Balluch, president of Austria’s animal rights organization, activists are campaigning to protect Hiasl from possibly being sent back to the lab by working to have a legal guardian appointed over him. However, since only humans have the right to a legal guardian, they must first convince the court that the chimpanzee, is in fact, ‘human’.
And that is exactly what they intend to do. With the help of testimony from individuals like ‘primate rights’ activist, Jane Goodall and wild chimp expert Volker Sommer, Hiasl’s entourage intends to argue several points to demonstrate his humanity and his right to the subsequent privileges.
. . . .
Evolutionary enthusiast and professor at University College London, Sommer claims, “It’s untenable to talk of dividing humans and humanoid apes because there are no clear-cut criteria – neither biological, nor mental, nor social.”
A British woman named Paula Stibbe has applied to be Hiasl’s legal guardian. She said, “He is a colourful character with lots of energy. The least we can do for him is give him … a future in society.”
The hearing is currently stalled while the judge, Barbara Bartl, an animal rights supporter herself, determines if the claims of ‘asylum status’ for the ape have been legitimately established.
. . . .
Pro-life observers note the irony that chimps may be declared “human” while unborn real humans are denied legal human status and thereby over 50 million are killed each year, even up to full term. Infanticide is also common in certain nations and often not punished. In China, government agents carry out brutal killings of newborns of parents who were not authorized to have another child.
There are calls for law changes in the West to legally declare defective newborn humans as non-human so they may be killed. Princeton University philosopher Peter Singer is an animal rights advocate who has singled out “more conservative mainstream fundamentalist views” that “want to make a huge gulf between humans and animals” — a form of discrimination he calls “speciesism.” Singer has advocated that parents be given the right to kill their defective newborns.
The full story can be found here: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/apr/07040401.html
I, for one, totally agree with the premise that chimpanzees be considered to have the same rights as humans. It only seems fair that they be treated by governments and societies with the same, uniform respect for individual rights that such entities show to human beings. Or at least with the same respect that Catholic homeschoolers receive.
To that end, I can imagine some possible headlines in the years to come…
Local Chimp Council Announces Video Cameras at All Watering Holes
“This will ensure the safety of elderly drinkers,” it claims– Chimp civil liberties advocates aren’t so sure
American Chimp Medical Association Leads Fight for Mandatory Chimp Contraceptive Coverage
Promises to reduce the spread of AIBS (Acquired Immune Banana Syndrome)
Hillary Clinton Promises to Push for Ratification of UN International Rights of the Chimp Treaty if Elected
Obama, Giuliani rush to agree
No Bananas Without “MicroChimp” Implant, Warns EU
Gov. Blunt Assures Missouri’s Chimpanzees that Embryonic Chimp Stem Cell Research Will Not Clone Chimps
“That famous orangutan from the Clint Eastwood movies must be cured!,” says spokesman.
Local Chimp Activists Burn Charlton Heston in Effigy
“That Planet of the Apes movie has hurt our community for years,” says Dr. Zeus.