Re: SOC/LAW: Chimp Rights

Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 14:33:15 MST

In a message dated 2/4/2000 1:10:43 PM EST, writes:

<< Here's a review of an interesting-looking book that proposes that chimps
 bonobos should enjoy certain legal rights now reserved for humans:
 My own thinking on the subject of the rights and duties of sentient
 (played out on this list with excruciating inconsistency over the years) has
 led me to thinking along the lines described in this review. >>

    I myself agree that the Great Apes; Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Gorillas,
Oranguatangs should be classified as persons. The level of compency of
these people to participate and interact in our society remains to be seen.
But basic "human" rights should be applied to them. I know that some
would point to the Chimpanzee and say we need them for medical research,
but I can not sacrifice another person simply because they are "lesser" or
"different" from me. As a physician, I have explored my own thoughts and
feelings about that point quite a bit, and I still come to the same
And as a private individual, I know it would be wrong to harm an ape for my
own benefit (except in the unlikely event that the ape in question was a
threat to me, in which case it would fall under self-defense, as would any
other person). As a medical student, I presented at the American Medical
Student Association a resolution calling for the ending of all medical
on the Great Apes which would lead to physical or psychological harm.
Unfortunately, that attempt was defeated, chiefly in the name of continuing
AIDS research. In future, I hope to revisit the issue, but in the arena of
medical professional organizations. Hopefully by the time I am ready to
I will have enough ammunition to get through to my fellow physicians that
these Great Apes are people, deserving of all the protections thereof. For
other animal species I am yet trying to decide, but the Great Apes I have
grown convinced are people.

Glen R. Finney, M.D.

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