Monday, October 13, 2014

I'll Be a Monkey's Uncle...or That Monkey is my Uncle...or There Goes Uncle Monkey...


In upstate New York, Tommy the chimpanzee sits alone in a cage in Fulton County. Tommy has an attorney friend, however, who cares about Tommy and is prepared to argue for his right and entitlement to "legal personhood."  Details and more specifics of the organization behind this case can be found at www.nonhumanrightsproject.org.  You know, just in case you think I'm self-medicating.

According to their website: 
"Our mission is to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere 'things,' which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to 'persons,' who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them." 

Basically, the attorney has requested that Tommy be released to join other chimps at a Florida sanctuary. Noting that chimps and other animals have some human qualities, he argued that they should have basic rights - such as freedom from imprisonment. If this succeeds, he will seek personhood for other species he finds human-like. Suggestions like dolphins and elephants have been thrown around.

People of the world, I love animals. Truly, I do. But this is more than a little wacky-bonkers, in my humble opinion.

Humans are humans and animals are animals. The difference is more than body autonomy. I've never seen an animal, even a chimp, stand up and fight for what it thought was right. With the exception of Planet of the Apes (you knew I'd mention that movie somewhere in this post), I've never seen them display wisdom or love of beauty. That doesn't mean they don't, it just means we are not on the same playing field where we fully understand each others world.

Chimps don't sit around asking each other, "Where did we come from? What is the meaning of life? Is it possible that we evolved from Man? Don't give me that look - it's possible."

As far as bodily liberty goes, I still don't have bodily liberty - I'm frequently tied to the house or the car, and it doesn't matter how much I want to break free, it just works out that way. As a matter of fact, ask any human if a new label would assure fundamental rights? Like Tommy, I would like to be released to a Florida sanctuary where I could freely frolic with my own kind. Really, I would. I wonder if Tommy's lawyer is worried about me, too.

Continuing with the bodily liberty goal...let's just call it personal liberty, since "personhood" is the goal for the chimp. The definition of personal liberty is "the freedom of the individual to do as he pleases limited only by the authority of politically organized society to regulate his action to secure the public health, safety, or morals or of other recognized social interests."  Aren't we keeping chimps in enclosures, sanctuaries and cages to secure the public health and safety?  Boom. The chimp is back where he started: the cage. We've gone full circle.

We've seen chimps gravely injure humans; it's not like you can reason with them. They don't seem to feel bad about it, either. So, if we treat them like they have a "legal personhood, " those chimps would have responsibilities in society and end up in jail for any assault, battery or injury. Boom. The chimp is back in the cage. It's not really unfair because we put humans who act like animals in cages, too. 

Come to think of it, we have humans who want freedoms without responsibilities, too. Dang, I'm having trouble defending my side of the argument exclusively.

We haven't really mastered the art of treating all people like persons with rights; I'm afraid we need to work on that first. Do chimps prioritize better than humans?

By the way -  please, please, please don't mention this in front of my dog. If that animal gets personhood, she'd milk it for all it was worth. But I'd have her arrested for stalking so fast your head would spin. 

11 comments:

  1. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    Shecky Shady says:
    You should see the gorilla my sister married! (BA-DUM-BUMP)

    Seriously, I am very much an animal rights activist, Cherdo. I am totally against the capture and caging of any and all wild animals unless it is for the purpose of relocating them to a safer and better natural environment. The only animals that belong in a zoo are orphaned, sick or injured beasts that would not have survived in the wild. However, they do not deserve to be locked in cages. They should be given a clean, natural habitat and room to roam with other compatible animals. I am totally against people keeping exotic animals as pets. Florida is overrun with dangerous snakes and other exotics turned loose when their owners got bored with them.

    Of course, chimps don't sit around speaking the king's English, but they do communicate with each other and try to communicate with us. How do we know for sure what they are thinking or saying? All animals possess some type of communication skill right down to ants. Even some species of plants communicate with each other. I suppose what I'm saying is that every living thing has a right to exist in freedom. Mankind needs to stop seizing wilderness for development into the next Agrestic. Animals were here first. Let them have their space and the freedom to live their lives in peace.

    Happy Monday, dear friend Cherdo!

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    1. I only put the spotlight on one questionable thing at a time, ha ha.

      Oh, I might have come off as not being in agreement - but I totally am. People are people and animals are animals. There's so much you don't or can't know about their world - they're animals. They're different, people, must we list why before we fully understand? I often think animals are looking at us and thinking, "bummer...they wear clothes and eat unappetizing things in cans."

      But what I do know is that every option you start with once you interfere with their world ends in some kind of cage. Try to make them fit the any other mold that leaving them in the wild, and you'll end up - eventually - with that creature in a cage. The word "sanctuary" is misleading. I've seen some awful sanctuaries.

      This is a perfect example of humans wanting freedoms without responsibilities. Humans want to be free to develop anywhere and everywhere - without thinking of the wildlife. They want to put anything in to a cage without considering the animals quality of life and the fact that we don't handle other humans very well doesn't bode well for any animal. Sadlly, once they have lived in captivity for a long time, they are no longer suited to return to the wild.

      But, my main point is this: do you know what WON'T solve this? Giving them "personhood." Their title isn't the problem. And getting labeled "person" isn't all its cracked up to be and it doesn't guarantee rights.

      The only fix is to never capture them in the first place. And that IS a good fix.

      Have a good day, Shady! Thanks for the input, as always. I love it!

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    2. Short version: I think the whole case is crazy. The problem isn't that we didn't treat Tommy like a person. The problem is we didn't treat him like an animal.

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  2. I wonder if this is the only legal way this lawyer has to get the chimp away from the person who owns him and decides making the chimp like a little kid. Remember the Ikea Monkey? That was is nuts and to dress her chimp up and think of him as a little human was nuts and not fair to the animal. Animals have rights but the problem is we abuse them in all forms. We are the only ones who do this by killing them for their tusks or horns or having them perform in a circus like the bears. I am a big animal lover and feel sad when they are caged but, at the same time, they may not survive much longer in the wild do to us humans. I abhor people who have tigers, lions, apes and other wild animals and feel they can treat them as little kids or big pussy cats. If this is the only way to fight these people and get the animals away from them so they can have a relatively "normal" life then I am for it. It is so very sad when I see these great animals killed for our amusement or for our sexual prowess. I hate, and I mean hate, when people hunt and not use the entire animal but only meant for sport. I hate it when I see chimps dressed up and the people (usually women) talk to them as if they were kids. Why don't they adopt an orphaned child? I wouldn't want them to do that either because they don't work on all cylinders. Now, don't get me wrong, people will place Halloween outfits on their dogs and cats or have a jacket for them and I don't mind that as long as they realize it is cold out or they have that costume on long enough for a picture or to go on Youtube. I just don't like it when they have a bigger wardrobe than I do....that is a little nutty. The animals do not have the freedom to choose as they are taken out of their natural habitat by humans. We must be responsible and if that means we have to make wonky laws in order to help them I say go ahead

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    1. These exotic animals should have never been removed from their place of origin - that is what I mean by treating an animal like an animal. Once they're removed from that, everything is some kind of cage.

      Of course, my dog does have a Halloween costume. Ironically, it's a prisoner outfit - black and white striped, with a prison number and a ball and chain. No joke!

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  3. by Brian Bernbaum
    May 9, 2003

    LONDON - Give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, the theory goes, and they will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare.

    Researchers at Plymouth University in England reported this week that primates left alone with a computer attacked the machine and failed to produce a single word.

    A group of faculty and students in the university's media program left a computer in the monkey enclosure at Paignton Zoo in southwest England, home to six Sulawesi crested macaques. Then, they waited.

    At first, said researcher Mike Phillips, “the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it.

    “Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard,” added Phillips, who runs the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies.

    Eventually, monkeys Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan produced five pages of text, composed primarily of the letter S.


    SSSSSometimeSSS I alsssssso feel like ssSssssstoning, SSSsssssh_tting and p_ssssSSssing on my computer'Sssss keyboard. Maybe monkeySsssSss are persSsssonssss too?

    ~ D-FensssSSssssDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  4. I have a Florida sanctuary. Get a lawyer. Maybe you can be released to frolic with me.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Word has it that you frolic like a champ.

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    2. I'm still caged at this time. Dern. I'm in homeowners' maintenance prison, lol. Everything in my kitchen and living room is covered by something, and the smell of paint is giving me a headache. And to top it off, I have to pay for it.

      Delete

Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo