Denver, Colo., May 11, 2018 / 10:00 am
After a New York judge said that courts must seriously consider whether animals deserve some legal protections afforded to people, Catholic philosophers say that human beings are unique, and that, when it comes to law and ethics, that matters.
"Chimps are amazing living beings… and it could be a big mistake to just think of the chimps as things or instruments," said Dr. John Crosby, a philosophy professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
"Undeniably, there is something there mysterious [about them]. There is something of worth, but there is not a person. And therefore, because they are not a person, there are no real rights the chimp has," he told CNA.
Nonhuman Rights Project has sought to release two New York-based chimpanzees, Tommy and Kiko, from the cages of private owners, and into a wild animal sanctuary. Steven Wise is the lawyer in charge of the animals' defense.
In March 2017, Wise filed for habeas corpus relief, citing the similarities between mankind and primates. The filing alleged that chimps' captivity constituted a kind of unlawful imprisonment.