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Should chimpanzees be considered people?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma ~ Eartha Kitt.
Animals (118)      Ethics (86)      Philosophy (16)     

"Schimpanse Zoo Leipzig" by Thomas Lersch - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

President of the Nonhuman Rights Project Steven Wise is arguing that chimpanzees should have legal personhood, which would mean they could not legally be caged against their will.

This would have implications for other types of intelligent animals such as dolphins and elephants.

Do you think chimps should be considered people? Why, or why not?

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Top Answers
I'm not sure about this. I saw an interesting episode of the BBC series Horizon a while back in which Danny Wallace tried to answer this question. A couple of the philosophers he spoke to were very dismissive and didn't even bother to address the question properly, but I thought the part where he met a chimp and she asked him to play chasey with him was quite lovely.

When we talked about this subject at uni the conclusion I came to was that animals should be treated more or less like children, ie. looked after but not expected to take full responsibilty for their own actions because they just don't have the same intelligence that we do. Looked at in a historical context though that sounds a bit creepy since there was a time when women and people of particular races were regarded as things or as children rather than fully fledged thinking adults.

I would think a big stumbling block would be that it's hard to measure the intelligence of a creature who is very different from us since they don't see the world the same way we do (literally even, some have different senses from us).

So...yeah, I really don't have an answer, but I'll be interested to see what other people come up with.
No, I don't think we should even monkey around with this issue!
Good one.
by Gia
There're enough 'chimps' in various workplace scenarios', especially Government, so we can do without any additional!

The proposer of this idea must be 'dreamin', isn't he?
What a load of total rubbish, & he's probably been paid 1000's $$$$ to think up this garbage!
I don't think that chimps should be treated like humans, they don't have the intelligence, or communication skills. That being said, I also believe that animals should have more rights than they do. Animals are living being and that should give them rights all their own. Unfortunately, the world currently does not work that way. Hopefully, as we move forward, we will become more forward thinking in this regard.
Steven Wise doesn't advocate treating them like humans. He said they don't propose giving them human rights, but rather chimp rights.
Now see that makes more sense, individual rights for an individual being.
Interesting question. I don't think that chimps should be legally considered people per se. But I certainly think they should be given the respect they deserve as intelligent and feeling animals, and that this should be protected by law, if they call these 'chimpanzee rights' then so be it. To cage an animals such as a chimp is despicable given what we know about the way they function and behave.
by Vee
Jennifer, I like your idea of treating them as children.
by Vee
Undecided. The one in the picture looks like Tony Abbott pondering the May 2015 Budget.
Maybe we should give them legal personhood.
No way. Just respect all of creation and treat them well.
by Gia
But what constitutes treating them well? Can you still imprison them, or kill them and eat them?
No. Chimpanzees are animals. If we started giving them legal personhood, we would then have to consider, Orangutans, Gorillas and all other apes. Having said that, animals are still deserving of our respect and consideration.
Humans are also animals.

In the article I linked to they do consider extending rights to other great apes and other intelligent animals.
I think ALL Animals need to have 'rights'.

Not people rights.....that is for us.

But something different needs to happen, where human beings can not kill or hurt

What is happening right now to animals is Evil!!! so yes give them 'Rights', so stop humans hurting these poor defenseless animals,
They need MORE RIGHTS!...I am so upset at
the pain they go through.
no, why should they -they are animals
by Finy
So are we.
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