Should Animals Have the Same Rights as People?

Friday, April 25, 2014

A chimpanzee feeds another chimpanzee with an ice pop at the Chongqing Safari Park August 5, 2007 in Chongqing Municipality, China. (China Photos/Getty)

There's a battle heating up in New York State courts, and it's a question over how we define "personhood."

Tommy the chimpanzee, alongside three other chimps, are suing their captors in order to prove that they are not things, but persons. As persons, these chimpanzees have the right not to be imprisoned without good reason.

It's a fight that's being led by Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project and the lawyer representing the chimps.

Wise says science proves that these apes, alongside elephants, cetaceans like dolphins and whales, and African grey parrots, are among a class of nonhuman animals that exhibit high cognitive ability. They're self-aware, they experience pain and joy and they suffer terribly from confinement.


Steven Wise

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman


T.J. Raphael

Comments [5]

L from New York

No intelligent perspectives here yet

Apr. 30 2014 09:24 AM
Ed from Larchmont

It should be, and is, illegal to abuse animals, so they do have rights in that sense. As stewards of creation we have an obligation to treat animals with respect.

But they aren't persons since they aren't self-determining (free will), and don't have absolute rights as such. I, too, am more concerned about abortion.

(There's an old theological question - can a person be condemned by God because he or she abused animals? And the answer is yes.)

Apr. 28 2014 08:55 AM
John A

Absurdist in the face of legalized abortion.

Apr. 25 2014 03:50 PM
Brendan from Portland, OR

More Zevon!

Apr. 25 2014 12:48 PM

Absolutely -- are they not deserving of our deep respect and love? (Caviat is we must exempt hangar steak. It is not only tasty but surprisingly affordable).

Apr. 25 2014 11:48 AM

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