Argentine court declares that ape has human rights

You would have to assume that by the mere title of human rights including the word human, that apes were automatically disqualified.

Not so if you are an Argentine judge:

In an unprecedented decision, an Argentine court has ruled that the Sumatran orangutan ‘Sandra’, who has spent 20 years at the zoo in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, should be recognized as a person with a right to freedom.

The ruling, signed by the judges unanimously, would see Sandra freed from captivity and transferred to a nature sanctuary in Brazil after a court recognized the primate as a “non-human person” which has some basic human rights. The Buenos Aires zoo has 10 working days to seek an appeal.

The “habeas corpus” ruling in favor of the orangutan was requested last November by the Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) alleging that Sandra suffered “unjustified confinement of an animal with proven cognitive ability.”

Lawyers argued that just as a person, the ape is capable of maintaining emotional ties and has the ability to reason, while feeling frustrated with her confinement. Furthermore, the legal team claimed that the 29-year old orangutan can make decisions, has self-awareness and perception of time. And therefore, all things considered, Sandra’s presence at the Zoo constituted illegal deprivation of liberty.

Not to speak poorly of Sandra, but the same can be said about most dogs and cats.  

Habeas corpus is a fundamental legal term in human rights, dating back to the early fourteenth century during the reign of Edward I in England. At that time courts began requiring the monarchy to report the reasons behind restricted freedom of a subject.

Sandra’s case is not the first in which “habeas corpus” was invoked to secure the release of wild animals in human captivity. However, in the US the two recent cases failed. A New York court, earlier this month has ruled that Tommy chimpanzee was not legally a person and is therefore not entitled to human rights.

Exactly!

And in 2011, a lawsuit against SeaWorld to free five wild-captured orca whales was dismissed by the San Diego court.

I would have thought that any court would simply refer to the “Human” part in human rights, and keep the decision simple.

Not so in Argentina, where humans and apes are now considered legally equivalent in law.

Imagibe the fun the lawyers can have with that one.

 

– Russia Today


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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