Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Chimpanzee Center of Court Case to Determine Legal Rights of Non-Human Primates

This case is extremely monumental. The decision here will affect many related issue. At concern is the question of intelligence equaling rights.

There is no debate here that Hiasl, a 26-year-old chimpanzee is extremely intelligent.

It’s just amazing to me that anyone would be callous enough to justify moving him from a sanctuary to a vivisection torture laboratory.

His story is typical: stolen from the jungle and destined for torture. Luckily his story was slightly different in that he was seized and moved to a sanctuary. Baxter, in it’s infinite cruel look at the work will not look to gain control of his destiny.

Some interesting points:

“Chimpanzee's DNA is 96 percent to 98.4 percent similar to that of humans -- closer than the relationship between donkeys and horses.”

“In New Zealand, apes -- gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos -- were granted special rights as "non-human hominids" in 1999 to ensure protection from maltreatment, slavery, torture, death and extinction.”


Article:

Austrian court to rule if chimpanzee has human rights

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2007/04/02/2003354887

THE OBSERVER, BERLIN
Monday, Apr 02, 2007, Page 1

He recognizes himself in the mirror, plays hide-and-seek and breaks into fits of giggles when tickled. He is also our closest evolutionary cousin.

A group of international leading primatologists argues that this is proof enough that Hiasl, a 26-year-old chimpanzeein Austria, deserves to be treated like a human.

In a test case, campaigners were seeking to ditch the "species barrier" and took Hiasl's case to court. If Hiasl is granted human status -- and the rights that go with it -- it will signal a victory for other primate species and unleash a wave of similar cases.

Hiasl's story began in 1982 when, as a baby, he was taken from Sierra Leone and smuggled into Austria in a crate with seven other chimps destined for a vivisection laboratory east of Vienna. But customs officers seized the crate and Hiasl was sent to an animal sanctuary.

Now the sanctuary faces bankruptcy and Hiasl could be sent to the Baxter vivisection laboratory after all.S

eeking to save Hiasl, who likes painting, kissing visitors and watching wildlife programs, an Austrian businessman has donated ?3,400 (US6,700) toward his upkeep.

However, unless Hiasl has a legal guardian who can manage the money, it will go to the receivers. As only humans have a right to legal guardians, his campaigners said it was necessary for Hiasl's survival to prove that he is one of us.

Primatologists and experts -- from the world's most famous primate campaigner, Jane Goodall, to Volker Sommer, a renowned wild chimp expert at University College London -- will give evidence in the case, which is due to come to court in Vienna within the next few months.

One of their central arguments will be that a chimpanzee's DNA is 96 percent to 98.4 percent similar to that of humans -- closer than the relationship between donkeys and horses. They will cite recent findings that apes hunt with home-made spears and can fight battles and make peace.

In New Zealand, apes -- gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos -- were granted special rights as "non-human hominids" in 1999 to ensure protection from maltreatment, slavery, torture, death and extinction."It's untenable to talk of dividing humans and humanoid apes because there are no clear-cut criteria -- neither biological, nor mental, nor social," said Sommer, an evolutionary anthropologist.

Paula Stibbe, a British woman, has applied to be named Hiasl's legal guardian."He is a colorful character with lots of energy. The least we can do for him is give him ... a future in society," Stibbe said.

Barbara Bartl, the judge and an animal rights campaigner, has stalled proceedings until documents are provided proving Hiasl has, as his friends say, the status of an asylum-seeker, having been abducted illegally from Sierra Leone.I

f Hiasl is granted human status, Martin Balluch, of the Association against Animal Factories, who has worked to bring the case, wants the chimp to sue the vivisection laboratory."We argue that he's a person and he's capable of owning something himself, as opposed to being owned and that he can manage his money. This means he can start a court case against Baxter, which at the very least should mean his old age pension is secure," Balluch said.

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