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Posts from the ‘Primates’ Category

The New Conversation about Persons

ape-human-02When the Nonhuman Rights Project filed its first three lawsuits earlier this month, inviting judges in New York State to recognize four captive chimpanzees as “legal persons” with the right to bodily liberty, we were not expecting to set off a worldwide conversation.

But that’s exactly what’s happened – hundreds of articles, posts, comments, videos, chat sessions, conferences and general discussions in dozens of countries.

While the legal cases work their way through the higher courts over the coming months, it seems that this new conversation is one whose time has come. Our relationship, as humans, with our fellow animals is so damaged that few issues could be more important than how we relate to the natural world in the years ahead.

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Chimpanzee Personhood: What the Media Said

As soon as we started filing our first three lawsuits last week, we were deluged with media interest from around the world. Here are just a few links to some of the hundreds of reports:

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Chimpanzee Personhood: What the Judges Said

It's a little unusual for a judge to wish you good luck as you head off to appeal his decision. But that's exactly what happened when the Nonhuman Rights Project went before the Hon. Joseph Sise in a county court last week.

It was the first of three court proceedings on behalf of four chimpanzees in New York State – Tommy, Kiko, Hercules and Leo – whom we're seeking to have released to sanctuaries.

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First-Ever Lawsuit Filed for Chimpanzee Seeking Legal Personhood

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This morning, the Nonhuman Rights Project  (NhRP) filed suit in Fulton County Court in the state of New York on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee, who is being held captive in a cage in a shed at a used trailer lot in Gloversville.

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Leaving Las Vegas

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Last December, Terry the chimpanzee celebrated his 34th birthday. He got some apples and other treats, and a few visitors wandered by, but it wasn't much of a party. When his next birthday rolls around, however, Terry will have lots to cheer about. He'll be free.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Jersey, a chimpanzee at Save the Chimps, is busy checking herself out in a mirror – not very different from what you or I do when standing in front of the mirror, especially if, like her, you're a 13-year-old with lots of friends and family!

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Why ‘Experts’ Get So Confused about Legal Rights for Nonhumans

Is their confusion perhaps deliberate?

Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) mother feeding with baby investigating grass. Captive, France

An article in The Week asks: “Should Apes Have Legal Rights?” As the Nonhuman Rights Project prepares to file its first lawsuit asking a court to recognize a nonhuman as having the fundamental right to bodily liberty, this is just one of many media outlets that are increasingly posing the question and inviting “experts” on all sides to comment.

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Why ‘Experts’ Get So Confused about Legal Rights for Nonhumans

Is their confusion perhaps deliberate?

Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) mother feeding with baby investigating grass. Captive, France

An article in The Week asks: “Should Apes Have Legal Rights?” As the Nonhuman Rights Project prepares to file its first lawsuit asking a court to recognize a nonhuman as having the fundamental right to bodily liberty, this is just one of many media outlets that are increasingly posing the question and inviting “experts” on all sides to comment.

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Farewell to Tea Party Chimpanzee

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As a youngster, he drank tea on TV and dressed up as James Bond. When he grew up, he spent the rest of his life at a zoo in the U.K. Louie the chimpanzee died last week. He was 37 years old.

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Chimpanzee Decisions a ‘Very, Very Important Milestone’

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The decision by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to phase out medical research on chimpanzees and to send all but 50 of the 360 who are owned by the government to sanctuaries has brought together two unlikely partners.

NIH director Dr. Francis S. Collins is effectively the dean of all medical research on animals in the United States; Dr. Jane Goodall, the famed primatologist who is one of the directors of the Nonhuman Rights Project, is a vocal opponent of research on chimpanzees. (Full disclosure: Most of my current work is also with the Nonhuman Rights Project.)

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Travis, Tragedy and the Other Chimpanzees

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Travis and Charla when he was a youngster

In February, 2009, 14-year-old chimpanzee Travis attacked Charla Nash, a friend of the woman who "owned" him. He tore off her nose, ears and hands, and blinded her as his owner, Sandra Herold, frantically beat him, stabbed him and called the police. When they arrived at her home in Connecticut, they shot Travis dead.

More than four years later, Nash has been in the news again this week as she attempts to sue the State of Connecticut for $150 million, arguing that officials knew that Travis was dangerous but did nothing about it.

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Enough Already!

gorilla-zoo-062413One of the gorillas at the Dallas Zoo has finally had enough of a bunch of out-of-control kids yelling abuse at him through the glass.

This thoroughly dignified, captive individual keeps his cool as the children yell, beat their chests, and shout "You're ugly!" at him.

But shouts of macho superiority turn to screams of terror when, from his perspective, the kids go over the line by pointing at him.

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Meet Your Ancestor . . .

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This is Archicebus achilles, or "beginning long-tailed monkey." One of the very earliest of our primate ancestors, she weighed about an ounce, could fit in the palm of your hand, and lived in the trees when most of the Earth was a tropical paradise about 55 million years ago.

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Why You Lie Like an Ape

chimps-lie-2-052113Next time someone catches you telling a small fib, just explain that, as one of the great apes, it's just part of your cooperative nature.

After all, you can truthfully add, that's the conclusion of a team of researchers who studied the development of co-operative behavior in 24 different kinds of primates, from lemurs to chimpanzees.

They concluded that the animals had developed the ability to lie and deceive in order to form coalitions, get food and find a mate:

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Hanging On for Dear Life

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This orangutan was rescued as she clung to the last remaining tree in her forest. Bulldozers were clearing another huge swath of Indonesian rain forest for yet another palm plantation.

The rescue was one of a series of rescue missions by International Animal Rescue (IAR) as they race to save as many as possible of the last remaining orangs. Soon there will be no forest – and none of these wonderful great apes.

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According to the Daily Mail:

The frightened animals were desperately searching for food and had even resorted to eating bark from the trees they were trying to hide in.

One female orangutan was heavily pregnant, while another, who was still lactating, is thought to have had her baby snatched to be sold as a pet or killed before the rescue team arrived.

The final female was found with her scared baby clinging to her back and both were very thin from malnutrition.

The orangutans are darted with tranquilizer guns, caught in a net as they fall, and then hurried to the IAR rescue center.

Here's a 12-minute video of some of the rescue operations. (Note: Some of the footage is obviously troubling.)

One thing you can do: Always check the label on food products and cosmetics. If it says "palm oil", skip it. 

P.S. I was wondering about other products that may be related to the palm oil industry, so I called the So Delicious company to check if their dairy free, coconut-based milks, creamers and frozen desserts come from those same palms. They assured me that they don't, and referred me to their sustainability page.

Vivisected Chimpanzees Greet the Sun

Check out the moment when a group of chimpanzees who have lived their lives at the New Iberia laboratory in Louisiana step out into the sun at Chimp Haven for the first time.

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Great Apes in the Mist

craig-stanford-chimp-030613KCET interviews great ape researcher Craig Stanford about the demise of our closest cousins in the wild.

Stanford explains why all the great apes will be extinct within a few decades unless action is taken right now. He says that such action is entirely practical, but there's no sign, right now, that it's about to be taken.

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After 22 Years in a Laboratory, Will Camillo Be Retired?

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This is the most you're going to see of Camillo the chimpanzee – at least for the moment. When the San Antonio Express-News asked the Texas Biomedical Research Institute for an interview, along with a photo of the 22-year-old veteran of vivisection, Texas Biomed simply told them: "No interviews, no photos."

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Chimpanzees Check Out the Snow

A delightful video from the Gut Aiderbichl sanctuary for traumatized chimpanzees and other primates in Austria.

We first met these guys, who came from laboratories where most of them had never even set foot out of doors, when they ventured into the sunlight for the first time in their lives. Nice to see them checking out the snow now!

What’s Next for the Government’s Chimpanzees?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has taken another big step toward bringing an end to the use of chimpanzees in research. But there’s still a long way to go – and it’s still quite uncertain where the retired chimpanzees can go and who’s going to pay for them.

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