Saturday, June 28, 2008

I say put him on the Stand!

Isn't it every trial attorney's wet dream to put a trained chimpanzee as a witness?

The country's supreme court has upheld a lower court ruling which rejected the activists' request to have a trustee appointed for Matthew.

So now 36-year-old Miss Stibbe and the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Matthew, by the way, is a chimpanzee.
Organisers could set up a foundation to collect cash for Matthew, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years.
Or they could buy the mangy creature and promise not to fit him for a tuxedo, but I don't think that the actual welfare of the animal is what they're really concerned with. What this looks like is a stunt plaintiff making a philosophical argument that people, being the rutting and eating stupid beasts that they are are no different that any other simian that we'd like to think have complex emotions and might eventually manage to accomplish something with a typewriter, if only enough of these drips "cared" about them.
But they argue that only personhood would ensure he is not sold to someone outside Austria, where he is protected by strict animal cruelty laws.
In dismissing the activists' request to get a guardian for Matthew, a lower court ruled that the chimp was neither mentally impaired nor in danger - the legal grounds required for a guardian to be appointed.
Not the varied use of “it” and “he”, “person” and “human” in this stunning ontological dialog!

But the biggest fallacy is this unexamined assumption:
Miss Stibbe, who is from Brighton but has lived in Vienna for several years, says she is not trying to get the chimp declared a human, just a person.

'Everybody who knows him personally will see him as a person,' she said.
Exactly - It the humans embedding meaning in this and conferring human qualities on him based on a chimp's manners reminding us of human affectations. Yet even though the worst the possible outcome of this 'crisis' is that the local equivalent of the SPCA or a government department whose competence is wildlife would sort out where this animal will collect his social security, “justice” (for the feelings of the well meaning) marches on.

After all, get a load of this zoophilic reader comment. It's rather telling in that it confers acceptance of the idea that a chimp is as much a person as a human. Like many philosophically dubious causes, it's just a matter of strange, lonely people forcing their emotional problems on a newly discovered brand of victim:
I wish them all the very best of luck - given what supposed human beings do to each other on a daily basis, I'd far rather give human rights to chimps and other great apes who are infinitely superior to all those inhuman 'humans' who blight society, and certainly wouldn't shame us all the same way.
This is an awful lot like the socially minded parents who try to get their daughters to play with truck, and their sons to play with Barbies – it's about the big chimp, not the little one trying to impose their feelings on a helpless subject.

- Hat tip: George in Baghdad. Bless you for finding this dreck.

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