Wednesday, May 6, 2015

When is an animal a legal person?

I thought this would be an interesting article to share after a notecard that was read in class today asking the a similar question, should animals have legal rights?

The article is about how a Judge submitted a court order that gave two chimpanzees the writ of habeas corpus, which means that one cannot be unlawfully detained. The two chimpanzees are being held at Stony Brook University and the Nonhuman Rights Project is trying to send the chimpanzees to an animal sanctuary in Florida. The controversial part of the story is that the writ of habeas corpus is only extended to legal persons, meaning that chimps are legally people? Unfortunately, no. The judge amended it on thursday and said it was just the best way to get the university to come to the courtroom to present its case.

Here's the full article:

This got me thinking about if animals should have human rights under the law. The first thing I thought of was the scene from the show Monk with the chimp in the interrogation room. I know that's a far from accurate representation of animals having rights, but I think there may be a point to it. Animals don't communicate or think the same way we do, so it wouldn't be close to impossible to punish them justly for their wrong doings. However, I believe they should have protection from inhumane animal testing and also from zoos, which is an entirely different debate.

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