animal abuse, animal welfare, chimpanzee, legal, Nonhuman Rights Project, Tierrecht, Tierschutz

Animals in Court

What approach to changing how humans treat animals is more effective: appealing to the conscience and hearts of humans not to hurt other beings or changing the laws so that other beings besides humans have the same legal status? Here is a group of lawyers fighting in court for the rights of animals:

“A legal team from the Nonhuman Rights Project argued on their behalf of Hercules and Leo — two chimpanzee plaintiffs wrongly imprisoned inside a SUNY animal experimentation laboratory – in a New York Supreme Court. Here are some of the news reports of Hercules’ and Leo’s historic day in court:

For a general overview of the proceedings, follow this link for a short Fox News TV report.

Wired magazine focuses on the fact that Justice Barbara Jaffe decided to call both sides into court for a hearing at all. It quotes me as telling reporters after the hearing that the fact that she held a full hearing represents a victory in itself. “Many human beings have these kinds of hearings,” I said. “Chimpanzees are now being treated like all the other autonomous beings of this world.”

Wired also takes note of how the judge challenged New York Assistant Attorney General Christopher Coulston’s argument that there’s no precedent for a case like this. It is the very essence of the common law, she said, that it “evolves according to new discoveries and social mores.” And so, she asked, “Isn’t it incumbent on judiciaries to at least consider whether a class of beings may be granted a right?”

The New York Times quotes me telling the court that chimpanzees “are the kinds of beings who can remember the past and plan ahead for the future, which is one of the reasons imprisoning a chimp is at least as bad, and maybe worse, than imprisoning a person.” They are enough like humans that they should have a right to “bodily liberty,” even if other rights, like voting or freedom of religion, are beyond them.

The Guardian also takes up the scientific evidence presented by the Nonhuman Rights Project, citing the voluminous research on “chimpanzee intelligence, emotions and consciousness” and noting that Hercules and Leo are “autonomous and self-determining beings.”

Courthouse News picks up on the parallel that the Nonhuman Rights Project draws between the imprisonment of chimpanzees and human slavery, adding that Coulston “bristled” at the comparison. “This language of animals as slaves is exactly what I’m talking about of the slippery slope,” he said, arguing that the case could open up the possibility of court cases on the rights of zoo animals, farmed animals, and even pets.”

Here are the links to more information:

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animal abuse, animal trade, animal welfare, chimpanzee, legal, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PeTA, Petition, say no to animals in entertainment, Tierquälerei, Tierschutz

Where Do Wild Animals Belong?



On my daily walk to school I passed by a house where the second story windows opened to an almost jungle-like view. And sometimes, if I was lucky, I could see a brown, furry creature pass by the window. Whenever this happened my school mates had to drag me on so that I would not miss class since I rather wanted to stay and watch, hoping for more than a glimpse of whoever lived up there. Rumors about who this was were abundant, from a dwarf to a child with fur to some fantastic toy. But eventually I did find out who it was I was waiting to see: a chimpanzee, living right in the middle of my home town, a town far away from any jungle, let alone any natural habitat where chimpanzees live in the wild.

I was desperate to get a closer look, even had the courage to ring the door bell. But to my utter disappointment I never was allowed to enter the house and never got to meet this chimpanzee. One day the windows were empty, no lush foliage, no movement, no chimpanzee. The people and with them the chimpanzee were gone.

In hindsight, it probably was prudent not to let anyone wander into their house. But it definitely was also ignorant and cruel to have a chimpanzee live there with them, this social creature all by himself, without family, far away from his natural habitat.

There is a bill addressing this situation that needs more support to go forward:

“A bill intended to protect citizens and wild animals has elicited support and a compassionate response from both parties and is moving into the next stage necessary for approval. The Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 2856/S. 1463) passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in late July, setting it up for a vote in the whole chamber.”


Please read more here and sign the petition;jsessionid=307063D6445D43E9B6792A367C47F842.app338a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5611&autologin=true&utm_campaign=Captive%20Primate%20Act&utm_source=PETA%20E-Mail&utm_medium=Alert


Thank you for spreading the word on animal awareness!