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View Full Version : Chmipanzee =/= Person?



Steve
5th May 07, 04:09 PM
Activists Want Chimp Declared a 'Person'

http://img.breitbart.com/images/2007/5/4/D8OTLSUG0/D8OTLSUG0_preview.jpgVIENNA, Austria (AP) - In some ways, Hiasl is like any other Viennese: He indulges a weakness for pastry, likes to paint and enjoys chilling out watching TV.

But he doesn't care for coffee, and he isn't actually a person—at least not yet.

In a case that could set a global legal precedent for granting basic rights to apes, animal rights advocates are seeking to get the 26- year-old male chimpanzee legally declared a "person."

Hiasl's supporters argue he needs that status to become a legal entity that can receive donations and get a guardian to look out for his interests.

"Our main argument is that Hiasl is a person and has basic legal rights," said Eberhart Theuer, a lawyer leading the challenge on behalf of the Association Against Animal Factories, a Vienna animal rights group.

"We mean the right to life, the right to not be tortured, the right to freedom under certain conditions," Theuer said.

"We're not talking about the right to vote here."

The campaign began after the animal sanctuary where Hiasl (pronounced HEE-zul) and another chimp, Rosi, have lived for 25 years went bankrupt.

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

Their food and veterinary bills run about $6,800 a month. Donors have offered to help, but there's a catch: Under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal donations.

Organizers could set up a foundation to collect cash for Hiasl, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years. But without basic rights, they contend, he could be sold to someone outside Austria, where the chimp is protected by strict animal cruelty laws.

"If we can get Hiasl declared a person, he would have the right to own property. Then, if people wanted to donate something to him, he'd have the right to receive it," said Theuer, who has vowed to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

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 (http://www.greatapeproject.org/index.php), a Seattle-based international initiative to extend "fundamental moral and legal protections" to apes.

If Hiasl gets a guardian, "it will be the first time the species barrier will have been crossed for legal 'personhood,'" said Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International, which is working to end the use of primates in research.

Paula Stibbe, a Briton who teaches English in Vienna, petitioned a district court to be Hiasl's legal trustee. On April 24, Judge Barbara Bart rejected her request, ruling Hiasl didn't meet two key tests: He is neither mentally impaired nor in an emergency.

Although Bart expressed concern that awarding Hiasl a guardian could create the impression that animals enjoy the same legal status as humans, she didn't rule that he could never be considered a person.

Martin Balluch, who heads the Association Against Animal Factories, has asked a federal court for a ruling on the guardianship issue.

"Chimps share 99.4 percent of their DNA with humans," he said. "OK, they're not homo sapiens. But they're obviously also not things—the only other option the law provides."

Not all Austrian animal rights activists back the legal challenge. Michael Antolini, president of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he thinks it's absurd.

"I'm not about to make myself look like a fool" by getting involved, said Antolini, who worries that chimpanzees could gain broader rights, such as copyright protections on their photographs.

But Stibbe, who brings Hiasl sweets and yogurt and watches him draw and clown around by dressing up in knee-high rubber boots, insists he deserves more legal rights "than bricks or apples or potatoes."

"He can be very playful but also thoughtful," she said. "Being with him is like playing with someone who can't talk."

A date for the appeal hasn't been set, but Hiasl's legal team has lined up expert witnesses, including Jane Goodall, the world's foremost observer of chimpanzee behavior.

"When you see Hiasl, he really comes across as a person," Theuer said.

"He has a real personality. It strikes you immediately: This is an individual. You just have to look him in the eye to see that."

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Link. (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8OTLSUG0&show_article=1)

So wait, he can't just get adopted as someone's pet? They have to go through all this legal mess just because a few people that hang out with the chimp think he's "more than just an animal?"


Organizers could set up a foundation to collect cash for Hiasl, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years. But without basic rights, they contend, he could be sold to someone outside Austria, where the chimp is protected by strict animal cruelty laws.

The problem with the above is what?? They lose their special chimp friend that entertains them by eating pastries and watching TV? What about the other chimp, Rosi? Not as cool as Hiasl, so no need to try and get "person rights" for him?

And what's up with the pic that's included in the article? Is that supposed to make me think of Hiasl as an animal or as a person behind bars?

Ridiculous! Chimp =/= person!

frumpleswift
5th May 07, 04:11 PM
There is a group in upstate New York that wants cows to be considered people.

WarPhalange
5th May 07, 04:11 PM
No. That's why it doesn't get to vote, own a home, or a gun. But basic things like freedom and being treated humanely should be given to all animals.

Zendetta
5th May 07, 04:18 PM
But basic things like freedom and being treated humanely should be given to all animals.

Hmmm. Maybe we should start with extending those rights to all people first, see how that turns out, and work from there.


I'm more in favor of giving animal rights fanatics the same rights as monkeys than the other way around.

WarPhalange
5th May 07, 04:24 PM
Hmmm. Maybe we should start with extending those rights to all people first, see how that turns out, and work from there.

Which people?

Zendetta
5th May 07, 04:25 PM
Take yer pick.

frumpleswift
5th May 07, 04:26 PM
No. That's why it doesn't get to vote, own a home, or a gun. But basic things like freedom and being treated humanely should be given to all animals.

Even the tasty ones?

nihilist
5th May 07, 04:33 PM
This story is quite disturbing.

If this animal rights business keeps up we may see the dawn of an era when I can't even have unconsentual sex with animals any more.

Steve
5th May 07, 04:40 PM
Not to worry, I'm sure you could find some consenting partners that could be taught to role-play as if they didn't really want your man love.

Thinkchair
5th May 07, 04:41 PM
This story is quite disturbing.

If this animal rights business keeps up we may see the dawn of an era when I can't even have unconsentual sex with animals any more.

Dont worry, that the puritans already made sure you cannot do that.

bob
5th May 07, 04:43 PM
Everyone knows that only Jean Luc Picard can actually prove you're human.

downinit
5th May 07, 05:11 PM
Maybe if the activists successfully produce a humanzee with the chimp, they'll have a viable case.

nihilist
5th May 07, 06:22 PM
MANIMAL!

http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/1774/wolfgd2.gif

PizDoff
5th May 07, 07:07 PM
Haha, I read that one as well. I personally feel they should be allowed to vote!

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/070504/koddities/chimp_challenge

Steve
5th May 07, 07:14 PM
Haha, I read that one as well. I personally feel they should be allowed to vote!

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/070504/koddities/chimp_challenge

See, now this is a picture that I could understand someone using:

http://us.news3.yimg.com/ca.yimg.com/p/070504/capress/i1178321100145165027.jpg

Toes through the bars? Doesn't really do it for me.

Kein Haar
5th May 07, 09:30 PM
Why would we assume chimps want to be considered people?

They may think we're low lifes.

Steve
5th May 07, 09:38 PM
Win^.

Yiktin Voxbane
6th May 07, 12:35 AM
You must spread some Chimp-droppings around before giving it to Kein Haar again.

Insightful words Mon Ami .

bob
6th May 07, 12:41 AM
Why would we assume chimps want to be considered people?

They may think we're low lifes.


It's true...



Chimps Are More Evolved than Humans

New genetic analysis suggests that chimpanzees have adapted to their environment more rapidly than humans have.

By Bijal Trivedi



With our big brains, capacity for speech, and upright stance, humans have long assumed that our species must have hit the genetic jackpot. But a controversial new study challenges the idea that we sprinted along on the evolutionary fast track while our chimp brethren were left swinging in the trees.
A comparison of thousands of human and chimpanzee genes suggests that chimps have actually evolved more since the two species parted from a common ancestor approximately five million years ago, according to Jianzhi Zhang (http://www.umich.edu/~zhanglab/publications.htm), an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who led the research.
Mutations happen spontaneously, and most are neutral or bad, says Zhang. But sometimes a beneficial mutation occurs in an individual and spreads throughout the population over time, a process known as positive selection: the genes carrying these good mutations confer evolutionary advantages that allow organisms to adapt and thrive. The changes thus become "fixed" in the genome.
Scientists generally believed that traits like higher cognitive skills were due to bursts of adaptive evolution, in which key genes accumulated beneficial mutations that contributed to the evolution of the human species.
To test that idea, Zhang and his colleagues analyzed sequences of approximately 14,000 genes from the chimp and human genomes. They compared rates of two types of mutations--those that alter the shape of the gene's protein product and those that leave the structure of the protein unchanged. Genes that have been changed by positive selection have significantly more protein-altering mutations.
The results, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org/), were surprising. Chimps had 233 positively selected genes while humans had just 154, implying that chimps have adapted more to their environment than humans have to theirs.
"It's human egotism to put us on a pedestal," says molecular anthropologist Morris Goodman (http://www.genetics.wayne.edu/Faculty/goodman/goodman.htm) of Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. "I was attracted to the paper because it seemed to be chipping away at this desire to make us all that extra-special. At the molecular level, humans are not necessarily exceptional in terms of the adaptive changes."
To Zhang's surprise and disappointment, the positively selected genes were not related to brain or cognitive function but to more mundane cellular housekeeping duties. "One explanation might be that the number of genes responsible for evolution of the human brain may be very small," Zhang speculates.
The Michigan team also discovered that a higher percentage of positively selected genes were associated with disease in humans than in chimps. According to the laws of population genetics, natural selection tends to be more efficient at spreading good genes and tossing bad ones in large populations than in smaller ones. Until recently, the chimpanzee population was much larger than the human population, which may have allowed natural selection to eliminate the deleterious chimp genes.
The other explanation, says Zhang, is that human genes that may have been advantageous in the past may now trigger disease because our environment and way of life have changed.
Not everyone is convinced that Zhang's team has drawn the correct conclusion from the gene analysis. Humans and chimps are so similar that it is difficult to determine whether the genes are the product of positive selection, says Bruce Lahn (http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/lahn.html), an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Chicago who studies the genetic basis of brain evolution.
"It is very rare that there will be enough changes in such a short lineage to tell us there is positive selection," says Lahn. "I'm very surprised that they claim these are positively selected genes. I would guess if they tried to publish each of these genes as an example of positive selection, there wouldn't be enough supporting data for the majority of them."





http://www.technologyreview.com/Biotech/18544/

Steve
6th May 07, 04:03 AM
Only chimps would not start a war on terror.... Right?

*hopes Bush is less evolved*

danno
6th May 07, 04:18 AM
if chimps could vote, who would they elect?

http://web.mit.edu/margret/www/myndir/comics/bush_chimp.jpg

ICY
7th May 07, 06:08 AM
I'm glad Canada won't do this, my dream of owning a chimp and a gorilla to be my servants on my farm will come to fruition.

Question!
7th May 07, 01:43 PM
Yes but considering how strong apes are, if they revolt, what could you do?

Kein Haar
7th May 07, 05:15 PM
Not a DAMN thing.

But this is where technology will save us with brain implants to make them compliant.