Wednesday, April 22, 2015

          As we briefly discussed in section Wednesday morning, there are lawyers and scholars arguing for the freedom of animals and their writ of habeas corpus. This New York Times article discusses Leo and Hercules, two lab chimpanzees at Stony Brook University, who are in trial for getting their writ of habeas corpus. The chimpanzee’s defense team is the Nonhuman Rights Project. They are arguing that the chips are “legal persons” with the right to “bodily liberty”.  The article states that the university chose not to disclose the purpose for possessing the chimpanzees. Later on the article states that those against animal rights are against this trial and believe that “animals do not have legal rights any more than they have legal responsibilities”. Legal experts argue that habeas corpus should be available to test the capacity of nonhuman animals.

         After reading this article, I noticed some of the language is human centered. Certain arguments are concentrated on whether or not it benefits us as humans rather than benefitting the individual chimpanzee. After reading this article, do you think the argument for the freedom of Leo and Hercules is human centered, or is it in the best interest of the chimpanzees?


  1. After reading this article and thinking about what we discussed in section, I think another central problem can be connected with the idea of "un-naming". I think it is wrong that they have human names, let alone a binomial species identification. In addition to that, I thing that though superficially the case is about giving Leo and Hercules their freedom, when you go more in depth the case is really about human kind. As a species, humans have put so many barriers to separate and challenge their stance as a higher species. This case challenges this concept that humans believe themselves to be better and that any species, such as chimps are lower, uncivilized and unintelligent, thus do not even apply to our legal, ,social, and communal regulations. As Alice noted, their is a heavy usage of human centered language which shows just how much the case is focused on how it will effect humans, completely neglecting the impact it would have in defining inter-species rights. In my opinion, I relish the day that Carolus Linneaus`binomial system will no longer be used as a barriers between living things. Maybe one day humans will evolve to have the capacity of coexistence.

  2. I agree with Sarah's comment on the naming process of the chimpanzees because it turns the situation into a human centered argument. The fact that their goal to apply a human law, harbeas corpus, to an animal shows how we still have the mindset that humans are above or superior to animals. It's going to be a long process before we reach a level of coexistence but it's important that people are realizing that there is certainly a problem with our system. I thought the comment Mr.Tribe made in regards to Justice Jaffe's decision was interesting, "whether or not we are yet ready to crown those others with the title of ‘human person'". In this quote, human exceptionalism is prevalent because we are once again trying to put the label of 'humans' onto other species. I don't think it's necessary to decide whether or not a species is worthy of human rights when it should be common sense to not practice animal cruelty.