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Chimpanzee "Personhood" Lawsuits Fail In New York Courts

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the politicians-still-considered-people dept.

The Courts 370

sciencehabit writes "Three lawsuits filed last week that attempted to achieve 'legal personhood' for four chimpanzees living in New York have been struck down. The suits, brought by the animal rights group the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), targeted two chimps on private property and two in a research lab at Stony Brook University in New York. NhRP says it will now appeal each lawsuit to a higher court, and that it will continue its campaign to grant chimpanzees, dolphins, and other cognitively advanced animals legal personhood nationwide."

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370 comments

so how will they earn a living (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#45670077)

ok, so they free all the smart animals. what next?
send them back to the wild to fight for food and die fast?

Re:so how will they earn a living (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670111)

whats next? collect taxes from them!

Re:so how will they earn a living (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 months ago | (#45670137)

A good case could be made for electing them to Congress.

Re:so how will they earn a living (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670219)

A good case could be made for electing them to Congress.

Screaming and throwing feces at each other? It would be an improvement.

Re:so how will they earn a living (2)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 7 months ago | (#45670237)

The Dole lobby would be huge.

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670855)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-human_electoral_candidates

Re:so how will they earn a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670881)

A good case could be made for electing them to Congress.

We'd get much better results by putting Congress in a research lab; or a zoo.

Re:so how will they earn a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670261)

whats next? collect taxes from them!

Profit!

Re:so how will they earn a living (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 months ago | (#45670115)

I assume the chimps will be immediately subject to prosecution for bestiality, paedophilia (they apparently start giving birth around 13-14 years), and failure to file tax returns.

Or if they're found to be incompetent to function in human society, they could become wards of the state, I suppose. Of course, then they'd need lots of prescription meds to control their behavior. Which, fortunately, have all been animal-tested.

Chimps' sex lives (0)

DrYak (748999) | about 7 months ago | (#45670393)

paedophilia (they apparently start giving birth around 13-14 years)

Chimps tend to mature faster than humans. So at that age, the chimp have completely undergone puberty and are more or less adult.
They are not children anymore, you can't consider them as child molester, and thus hardly could prosecute them for paedophilia (when having sex with teenage chimps). Perhaps statuory rape, but not much.

BUT

Chimps tend to use sex for almost any social purpose. They fuck as often as we human smile or hug.
To quote wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Sexual activity generally plays a major role in bonobo society, being used as what some scientists perceive as a greeting, a means of forming social bonds, a means of conflict resolution, and postconflict reconciliation.

So although your specific example (peadophilia with teen-age chimps) may not work, you could probably find arguments to prosecute chimps for virtually almost any word of the dictionary ending in "-philia". And would probably need to come up with a few extra words, too.
Vice squad would have a field day dealing with all this.

Re:Chimps' sex lives (4, Informative)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 7 months ago | (#45670449)

Chimps are not bonobos.

that's doctor lawyer chimp to you! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 7 months ago | (#45670833)

but they can still take the bar exam, right?

Re:Chimps' sex lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670467)

Chimps tend to use sex for almost any social purpose. They fuck as often as we human smile or hug.

So how do male chimps greet each other?

Re:Chimps' sex lives (2)

JustOK (667959) | about 7 months ago | (#45670827)

Well, they don't always see eye to eye.

Re:Chimps' sex lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670489)

FWIW, most humans are done with puberty long before age 18, but that doesn't stop most prosecutors.

Different status (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 7 months ago | (#45670945)

FWIW, most humans are done with puberty long before age 18, but that doesn't stop most prosecutors.

No, what stops most prosecutors is the fact that lots of jurisdiction put the limit at a lower age than 18 (for exemple in europe it varies between 14 and 16).

Now to go back at the subject of under-age sex, lots of jurisdiction tend to make a distinction between "underage sex" (sex with someone under the age of consent, not necessarily someone biologically under-developped) and "child molestation" (actual pre-pubescent children involved).

Re:Chimps' sex lives (3, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#45670695)

Actually, the pedophilia would work. If chimps are deemed persons, then in the US, they would be required to abide by the laws of this country. In the US, the age of consent would still apply and since laws regarding pedophilia are age based, even if chimps are sexually mature, they would still be guilty of it. If you enact legislation permitting it for chimps, then you open up equal protection suits for human pedophiles as the two classes of person would be treated different under the law.

More likely what would happen if chimps were granted personhood would be that they are deemed incapable of caring for themselves in society and have to be institutionalized, just as they are now. I'm sure the group pushing for this would want them to be returned to the wild, however, as persons, here, but not there, they have no citizenship abroad for us to deport them. In addition, any of them born here, as persons, would be US citizens and could not be deported.

In the end, the court did the right thing. Animals, no matter how intelligent are not persons under the constitution. The appellate process will find the same thing.

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 7 months ago | (#45670401)

In that same vein, I'll consider granting personhood to other species when they themselves can communicate and stand up for rights those species believe they are entitled to. Like a chimp or dolphin Frederick Douglass [wikipedia.org] .

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 months ago | (#45670127)

I don't have any point to make with what I'm about to say (seriously). But your point strangely reminds me of the debate about sending former American slaves back to the countries from which they or their ancestors were first taken.

Re:so how will they earn a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670225)

New meaning to "jungle fever"? Yeah, that's just as ridiculous as your comment.

Re:so how will they earn a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670311)

I don't have any point to make with what I'm about to say

That's an indication that you shouldn't say whatever it is that comes after that phrase.

Re:so how will they earn a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670151)

No. If they were treated like humans they'd probably be sent to prison for public indecency (exposure of genitalia etc) and other crimes, maybe even put on sex offender lists if they have committed nonconsensual sex or sex acts in public.

You get the rights and benefits, you should get the responsibilities/liabilities too.

I'll be a monkey's uncle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670535)

No. If they were treated like humans they'd probably be sent to prison for public indecency (exposure of genitalia etc) and other crimes, maybe even put on sex offender lists if they have committed nonconsensual sex or sex acts in public.

Everybody's got something to hide
except for me and my monkey.

selling there votes (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#45670163)

as when they are a person they have the right to vote.

Re:selling there votes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670349)

I am willing to bet the chimp can spell better than you, so perhaps it can vote better than you also.

Re:selling there votes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670943)

Not a single spelling mistake in that statement. Grammar, syntax, and composition are a different thing.

Re:so how will they earn a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670191)

They just want to have sex with 'em.

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

paulmac84 (682014) | about 7 months ago | (#45670221)

Give them jobs as librarians [lspace.org] ? If an orang-utan can do it, why not a chimp?

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 7 months ago | (#45670233)

Didn't you have a chimp as Persident of the United States a few years ago? /me ducks and runs...

Re:so how will they earn a living (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670301)

We still do.

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#45670879)

Yes, just not the same one.

Re:so how will they earn a living (2)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 7 months ago | (#45670361)

It makes no sense as the chimps have been in captivity. There is no possible way to reintegrate them back into existing, indigenous, wild African chimp societies. Its like forcing a family to adopt someone, it won't work.

And what is their definition of freed from captivity? An animal is either wild or in captivity. So we do what, turn them loose into the streets? Maybe they can get a job at walmart as a greeter. A zoo is still captivity and chimps privately owned are still in captivity just like dogs and house cats.

I understand the idea behind the suit but this is such a stupid case that it almost sounds like a prank. I cant explain it any other way.

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#45670903)

Is this the same line of logic that claims blacks were better off as slaves than they are now as a free people?

Re:so how will they earn a living (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#45670477)

Good. The court will come back with the inevitable conclusion they are not people, precedence will be set, and we won't have to see this stupidity again. And best of all, New Yorkers will pay for it all.

Re:so how will they earn a living (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#45670871)

Weren't they free before they were held captive by humans? In which case, wouldn't they return to the same style of life they had prior to captivity? This doesn't sound very complicated.

ook? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670081)

ook! ook!

Re:ook? (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#45670461)

Stupid mon-

Roddy McDowell (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 7 months ago | (#45670089)

Was not available for comment

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670167)

Everyone needs a hobby!

A small consolation (5, Funny)

blackbeak (1227080) | about 7 months ago | (#45670169)

At least chimps can still comment on /.

The Lawyers for NhRP are racists (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 7 months ago | (#45670173)

The basis for their case is saying that African-Americans are no better than chimpanzees and since African-Americans have rights, chimpanzees should as well. Oh, they dress it up differently and try to make it sound like that is not what they are claiming, but that is what the case law they cited amounts to.

Re:The Lawyers for NhRP are racists (4, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#45670825)

To bad you got modded down as a troll because actually you are more or less correct - they are comparing chimp captivity to slavery. From a summary about the case:

n each case, NhRP is petitioning judges with a writ of habeas corpus, which allows a person being held captive to have a say in court. In a famous 1772 case, an English judge allowed such a writ for a black slave named James Somerset, tacitly acknowledging that he was a person—not a piece of property—and subsequently freed him. The case helped spark the eventual abolition of slavery in England and the United States. Wise is hoping for something similar for the captive chimps.

The irony is that their proposed solution, if they win is to house the chimps in a preserve in Florida. The claim it would be like the Native American reservations. However, there people are free to come and go, but the chimps would not have that right, so effectively, they would still be captives. They would just have different masters/caretakers.

I guess for the NhRP different classes of persons are entitled to different rights. Then again, that is pretty much what slave owners thought, too.

intelligence (2, Insightful)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 7 months ago | (#45670193)

Considering that chimps are as intelligent (at least) as two and three year olds, I think they should be given the same sort of rights. The right not to be tortured, and mistreated for one.

Oh but they are beasts and awful, and rape and stuff. Yeah, humans are horrible aren't they.

Humans aren't special. Get over yourselves.

Re:intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670421)

humans are unique, in the same way as chimps are unique. The difference is on average humans have the ability to plan, use tools, and effectively modify our environment.

No matter how many sign language lessons, or classes you give a chimp , they are still a species that lacks the biological attributes that grants "human intelligence". Biology reuses bits, all animals show "traits" of intelligence. Our species got lucky and natural selection gave us big brains, flexible and adapative bodies.

The natural world is a brutal and cruel place, and thank your lucky stars that our ancestors were better/lucky/chosen (pick your religion), otherwise this communication medium would be beyond us all...

The sad thing about this case is it highlights how HUMAN rights for HUMANS are not equal.

Unnecessary cruelty to animals should not be allowed, but by definition if you are not human you are an animal.

Being a person has a legal status because humans are responsible for their actions. Humans that are not, we lock up.

If any good comes from a confusing case like this coming to light, is so that they can be slapped down, and the idiotic thinking that resonates with it.

Re:intelligence (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#45670497)

but by definition if you are not human you are an animal.

Or possibly a bowl of petunias.

Re:intelligence (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670509)

You might want to learn a bit about chimpanzees.

They "have the ability to plan, use tools, and effectively modify our environment."

They go on murder parties to other chimp groups. They strip out all natural resources that they can access in an area (food). They can actually communicate, not just mimic.

Also, "by definition if you are not human you are an animal" you might want to go look up the biological definition of Homo sapiens. We're animals too.

And "humans are responsible for their actions. Humans that are not, we lock up." Chimps behave in similar ways by shunning, punishing or even killing those chimps that don't conform to group behaviors.

So maybe you need new definitions, and obviously knowledge, of the differences between humans & chimps.

Re:intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670523)

"The difference is on average humans have the ability to plan, use tools, and effectively modify our environment."

Chimps do all of those things. I don't understand why people need to define a special category for intelligence which basically boils down to "things humans do". We are obviously more intelligent than chimps. On the other hand, chimps are obviously more intelligent than mice. Personhood is a sliding scale, and should be treated as such.

Re:intelligence (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#45670933)

"The difference is on average humans have the ability to plan, use tools, and effectively modify our environment."

Chimps do all of those things. I don't understand why people need to define a special category for intelligence which basically boils down to "things humans do". We are obviously more intelligent than chimps. On the other hand, chimps are obviously more intelligent than mice. Personhood is a sliding scale, and should be treated as such.

The flaw in your thinking is that personhood is a sliding scale, it is not. Personhood, a human construct, is only applicable to human beings. Is an invalid less a person than an athlete? No, they are both equal persons, but they have different capabilities. Society may value those capabilities differently, but it doesn't change the personhood.

People trying to elevate lower species to persons rely on things like intelligence, or sentience and the like. If that is the case, then all of us, if we are asleep or unconscious, cease to be persons. A person in a coma is still a person even if at that moment is less intelligent or sentient than a chimpanzee or dolphin. What makes a person a person is not their intellectual ability or any other ability. It is an inherent trait of being a human being.

As such, personhood is not subjective, it is an absolute, yes or no. All human beings are persons. All persons are human beings. There is no gray area or sliding scale. It is as simple as that.

Re:intelligence (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#45670883)

I agree with most of your points above, but I wanted to point out that the issue with tools and animals is not so much in the ability to use them, but the ability to craft them... to take existing resources and combine or modify them in some way as to be fit for a specific class of purposes, and *then* to use said tool. Many animals can use tools, taking something which already exists in a state that is suitably fit for some purpose which may not itself be part of nature, and using it for such, but there are, as far as I am aware, only isolated cases of animals actually crafting tools in nature, specific only to the individual creature so discovered doing so, and this trait is not generally shared even by others of the exact same species.

Re:intelligence (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#45670507)

Considering that chimps are as intelligent (at least) as two and three year olds,.....

Really? Maybe some really stupid 3 year olds.

Re:intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670725)

Well, chimps can be taught to communicate & use tools better than 3 year olds.

What's your definition?

Re:intelligence (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#45670515)

Pretty much any animal with consciousness should not be tortured. I'm highly skeptical of the necessity for experiments without sedation or pain killers.

Re:intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670547)

Considering that chimps are as intelligent (at least) as two and three year olds, I think they should be given the same sort of rights.

That puts them on par with some of the more excessively domesticated dog breeds. Wolves and the wildest breeds are noticeably above that. Cats tend to be cunning, but also seem to have an innate ability to determine what you want to test them about, and avoid giving you any useful data.

So, since chimps are less intelligent than most dogs, we already have a long legal history for that level of mental ability. Unfortunately, that long legal history includes far too many cases of "love it as a puppy, then abuse it briefly before leaving it on a street corner to fend for itself."

Maybe humanity should grow up and realize that it is something special, and that power comes with responsibility.

Re:intelligence (1)

glwtta (532858) | about 7 months ago | (#45670689)

Humans aren't special. Get over yourselves.

Don't see any chimps or dolphins wringing their hands/flippers over who has what rights. That seems to be a pretty special human trait.

Re:intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670861)

Get over yourself. There are no inalienable rights in the natural world. None.

And what is special about 2 years old? The fertilized eggs of people and frogs also have about the same level of intelligence.

A fundamental difference between 2 year old humans and chimps in general is that the humans will not stay at the level of 2 year olds for long.

A second is that 2 year olds are not granted full personhood or responsibility anyway - the main rights they have are to life, and a life free of abuse.

A third is that we are humans and granted the rights to ourselves.

Re:intelligence (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#45670939)

Considering that chimps are as intelligent (at least) as two and three year olds, I think they should be given the same sort of rights. The right not to be tortured, and mistreated for one.

Oh but they are beasts and awful, and rape and stuff. Yeah, humans are horrible aren't they.

Humans aren't special. Get over yourselves.

Most humans become civilised. Some however revert;.

What's really going on here.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670201)

A bunch of dog-fuckers are basically trying to legalize bestiality by creating a situation where they can argue a chimpanzee (or other animal) gave them consent.

Re:What's really going on here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670569)

I didn't know your mom is in that group!

Silly NhRP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670223)

Monkeys aren't people. Corporations are people!

Re:Silly NhRP (0)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#45670969)

Monkeys aren't people. Corporations are people!

You are only partially correct. It is true that monkeys aren't people, then again, neither are corporations. There is a difference between people and persons. Corporations are persons under the law, but they are not people. Monkeys are not even people unless you are referring to The Monkees. The Monkees were both people and persons.

tears & innocence spirit of life missing from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670231)

it's doubtful the hymenless monkeys would want to be in the same category of spiritually bankrupt as us advanturers

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670247)

While this definitely challenges our notions of what criteria must be met in order for a living being to be considered a person, perhaps it's time that we dusted our assumptions off and took a look at them. I'm definitely not opposed to having other sentient non-homo sapiens on the same legal footing as myself -- quite frankly, it excites me, because it forces us to think systemically, rather than in terms of human exceptionalism. Brave new world ahead :)

All corporations are people (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670269)

just not all primates.

Re:All corporations are people (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#45670991)

Some corporations are people, they are called Corporation Sole, in those jurisdictions that allow for it. Most US Corporations are not people. However, they are persons under the law.

This isn't about animal rights (5, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 7 months ago | (#45670295)

It's about people trying to force their extreme beliefs on others. If they were seriously interested in the humane treatment of animals, they would be pushing for tighter restrictions on mistreatment and better living conditions of corporate farm animals. At least put the court tax dollars to some better use than trying to push your "religion" on people.

Re:This isn't about animal rights (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#45670633)

At least put the court tax dollars to some better use than trying to push your "religion" on people.

Religious would be to see the chimps as different from us (the current status quo).

But in fact, that pile of atoms you're made of has no clear boundary. It's not like you, the pile of atoms, is a separate entity from the pile of atoms that makes up the chimp. So in fact, you and the chimp are one entity. You *are* the chimp. Don't you think it's time somebody stood up for your rights?

Slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670345)

If chimps were declared to be humans, then gorillas would be next, followed by orangutans, Rush Limbaugh...

ms. monkey has final say in most issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670357)

like genuine nativity... where does momkind get that kind of sway? why do we pretend she's an accessory? us bearded wonders

Human soceity not ready for this (5, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 7 months ago | (#45670369)

Human society is not ready to grant intelligent animals sentient or human status. It sounds like an enlightened idea, but our laws and societal norms cannot accommodate granting these rights without significant and fundamental change.

Take any law that governs the interaction between two humans and apply that to a human verses say a dolphin and you immediately run into serious and unworkable situations. Imagine having to grant a dolphin the right to confront their accuser in a court of law. Really? What about applying laws concerning manslaughter or murder or accidental death? What about representation in government?

Yes, I know the New York case was not about all of these things, but once the door is open you can never close it. Just look at the legal ruling that corporations are legal persons to understand what I mean.

Re:Human soceity not ready for this (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 7 months ago | (#45670499)

Enlightened idea? No, this is just foolishness.

Re:Human soceity not ready for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670617)

a nice observation. This is human society for humans. We can be civilised and treat animals humanely, but animals by definition are not members of human society.

It is one of the resound ironies of our time that "animal lovers" perpetuate the mistreatment of animals. People who have pets create a market for the breeding of *more* pets. People claim to "love their pets" but pets are basically slaves. If humans were nicer to each other, perhaps animals would not need to bear the brunt of our missing affections...

Just saying...

Re:Human soceity not ready for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670635)

There was no legal ruling. Just a clerk recorder's opinion.

So if you're saying that eventually some activist judge, or clerk recorder may grant strange laws with undetermined consequences, then I agree.

Re:Human soceity not ready for this (2)

bhspencer (2523290) | about 7 months ago | (#45670811)

Consider that we provide children a special status in our society. We consider children to be persons and afford them rights as such. Yet we do not hold them accountable for murder in the same way we do for human adults. Giving a chimp the status person does not mean we have to give them the same rights as human adults.

Re:Human soceity not ready for this (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 7 months ago | (#45671011)

They are asking to grant "person" status. Not Human status.

And put cognitively disadvanced ones in captivity? (1)

Quila (201335) | about 7 months ago | (#45670391)

Like these morons.

From cages to prisons (4, Insightful)

coldsalmon (946941) | about 7 months ago | (#45670397)

The want chimpanzees released from "illegal detention," but if we treated them like people, they would end up in prison very quickly. I would give them two days before they were guilty of trespass, theft, assault, and battery. They would be ruled incompetent to stand trial, and probably placed in a psychiatric prison in solitary confinement. That is what we do with people who act like chimpanzees.

Re:From cages to prisons (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 7 months ago | (#45670485)

You forgot the possibilities of malicious wounding, attempted murder, and murder. Chimpanzees are incredibly strong and often violent

Re:From cages to prisons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670747)

You forgot the possibilities of malicious wounding, attempted murder, and murder. Chimpanzees are incredibly strong and often violent

Sounds like something a damn dirty human would say.

Re:From cages to prisons (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 7 months ago | (#45670605)

I would give them two days before they were guilty of trespass, theft, assault, and battery.

Heck, they'd probably be done in for indecent exposure in a matter of hours.

This is animal rights groups being really stupid. Smart animal rights groups focus on things like protecting endangered wild animals, putting a stop to puppy mills, rescuing pets, and ensuring humane treatment of captive animals, because those are what most people are comfortable supporting.

Re:From cages to prisons (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 7 months ago | (#45670693)

Not to mention they walk around naked all the time. They would be arrested the moment they step outside their (tree) house!

Re:From cages to prisons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670741)

The want chimpanzees released from "illegal detention," but if we treated them like people, they would end up in prison very quickly. I would give them two days before they were guilty of trespass, theft, assault, and battery. They would be ruled incompetent to stand trial, and probably placed in a psychiatric prison in solitary confinement. That is what we do with people who act like chimpanzees.

We also elect them to public office. (note that I'm adding a logical AND, not an OR to the parent quote)

Legal Fiction (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670403)

From my understanding, the lawyers were hoping to create a legal fiction such that habeas corpus would be applicable to the chimpanzees, similar to the way that personhood is granted to corporations for many different purposes. A corporation needs to be a "person" so it can be sued. But corporate personhood does not grant corporations every right that people have. The same thing is happening here. No one wants to give chimpanzees the right to vote.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_fiction#Corporate_personhood
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_corpus

Re:Legal Fiction (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#45670745)

This is exactly the kind of thing a democratic process should handle rather than courts (who can't "discover" new things out of centuries of contrary precedence without decades of free speech persuasion shifting the populace anyway.)

You simply cannot have courts adding to potential political power without the consent of the governed. Otherwise it is a power grab. Even if no chimp ever votes.

A similar thing must be done for artificial intelligence lest somebody spawn off a hundred trillion voters they control.

Re:Legal Fiction (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 7 months ago | (#45670887)

No, of course not!

We just wanna sue the monkeys!

We're not crazy or anything!

grunting truth to power (1, Interesting)

hirundo (221676) | about 7 months ago | (#45670411)

This isn't about giving power to animals. It's about giving power to guardians of animals. Just like organized religion is about giving power not to God, but to priests.

Re:grunting truth to power (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#45671005)

This isn't about giving power to animals. It's about giving power to guardians of animals. Just like organized religion is about giving power not to God, but to priests.

Interesting, since not all religions have priests, nor do they all have a deity. Might your anti-catholic bias be showing?

Less dumb than (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670443)

corporate personhood?

At least chimps are living breathing organisms and not an abstract legal construct.

Waste Of Taxpayer Dollars (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 7 months ago | (#45670479)

YOUR Taxpayer dollars. Can society sue people who file such frivolous lawsuits to force them to pay for the court's time and legal costs of defending against such silliness? Because I already have to pay for enough silly shit without adding stuff like this to the list.

hierarchy of rights (1)

dingleberrie (545813) | about 7 months ago | (#45670491)

I'm trying to keep up, but I think this is the hierarchy of rights that I have seen in the US.
It's hard to settle on the exact order. Each item could up or down one level.

1 People in my country.
2 Corporations
3 People in other countries
4 People in other countries who look like they have nothing
5 Cute animals
6 Monkeys that aren't so cute
7 non-cute things that can't harm me
8 scary things

Re:hierarchy of rights (1)

glwtta (532858) | about 7 months ago | (#45670721)

2
1
5
3
6
4
7
8

Re:hierarchy of rights (4, Informative)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 7 months ago | (#45670859)

1 US Corporations
2 Foreign Corporations
3 People in my country
4 People in other countries
5 People in other countries who look like they have nothing
6 Cute animals
7 Monkeys that aren't so cute
8 People in countries the US government doesn't like
9 non-cute things that can't harm me
10 scary things

FTFY

Incorporation (1)

Larry_Dillon (20347) | about 7 months ago | (#45670567)

That monkey needs to incorporate!

so what if we ruled in favour? (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 7 months ago | (#45670703)

1. giving a chimp personhood status would simply galvanize the deep south to further refute and disregard the theory of evolution. everything from parking meters to toilet seats at countless courthouses would be etched with the 10 commandments. obama earns another 40 cities he cant visit without staying in the car, and a grumbly subset of abortion doctors just put on another layer of body armor.
2. im sure more than one pet foods company and pharmaceutical conglomerate would be a bit furious at the prospect of having to pump more cash into IT to purchase machines to simulate their drug interactions and metabolic research, but IT would finally be able to afford that Killer Instinct arcade game on Ebay.
3. professor Random's intern would have to update her facebook status to 'removing 124 tubes from each monkey this weekend, FML'
4. courts would open a pandoras box of steaming culture war shit about personhood. everything from human emrbyos, zygotes, and electrons surrounding the lint clinging to the hair on a human testicle would be demanded status as a person. shaving a landing strip into my naughty bits turns into a 10 year prison sentence and every time my kid smacks her head on the playground i get to pick up trash on the highway.
5. we cant have another reboot of planet of the apes, because now its just a documenary about some bigoted astronaut with a superiority compelex and anger management issues.

Jerry was a man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670715)

Back in the late 40s or early 50s RAH (Starship Troopers) wrote a short story about court case trying to establish the rights of a genetically engineered gorilla. The story ended with the court deciding that because the gorilla (genetically engineered) could speak in his own defense he was a person and had the same rights as a human.

Frontier Psychiatry (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 7 months ago | (#45670831)

That boy needs therapy. Psychosomatic. That boy needs therapy. Purely psychosomatic. That boy needs therapy. Lie down on the couch! What does that mean? You're a nut! You're crazy in the coconut!
What does that mean? That boy needs therapy.

I'm gonna kill you.

We can't let this pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45670857)

If this succeeds, then we might have to start considering LIBERALS as people too. Then again, if the cognitive test requirements are strict enough, it might be a non-issue.

on the internet no one cares I am a Chimp (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 7 months ago | (#45670893)

enough said

If companies can be people... (-1, Flamebait)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#45670917)

If a company can be a "person" surely a chimp can be too, right?

On the subject of personhood... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#45670961)

Serious question, and probably a bit offtopic here, but could anyone who actually has a real understanding of how the law works explain in layman's terms what is really gained in society by considering corporations as people? I can imagine there must be some benefit, but I'm not sure what it is.

There is a better use of resources. (3, Insightful)

macbeth66 (204889) | about 7 months ago | (#45671009)

How about these nitwits find some better ways to improve the human condition before they go off to tilt at windmills. I am all for the prevention of cruelty to animals, but this has just gone over the top into nutcake land. I don't want anything to do with PETA anymore because of the looney positions they started taking in the past few years.

The whole lot of them, just look silly and make it a lot harder for reasonable actions to be taken.

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