Chimpanzees in Austria are citing discrimination.
The OG’s, or Oberster Gerichtshof (Supreme Court there), recently ruled that chimps are not people.
Spokesperson for the chip activists, Georgie, stated through sign language,
This is absurd. We share 99.4% of our DNA with homo sapiens. But apparently that isn’t enough.
Maybe they have something against our sexual prowess, and want to protect their women.
Since the time of Cro-Magnons, people have emulated animals in sexuality.
The Romans called chimps Pan Satyrus, a man-ape that would rape Roman women.
And for good reason: the average Chimp mates up to four times a day.
You guys just can’t compete with that.
Humans fantasize about being a chimp all the time. Come on, admit it.
With Europe’s aging population, and all the men on Viagra, chimps are looking especially attractive. All guys just bring your women flowers. We bring them exotic fruit, every time.
Heck, we’re even smarter than most law students.
Some scientists seem to concur. Their closely related cousins, Bonobos, who the chimps are also petitioning for, seem to express unique sexual behaviours.
They seem to resolve a lot of their conflicts with sexual behaviour. If two bonobos have a fight, they may make up with a sexual reconciliation, which is typical for their species. So there’s a lot of sexual activity that goes on that has more social meaning than reproductive meaning.
Georgie claims that interspecies relationships is more common with European human males and chimp females, popularized by movies like Planet of the Apes.
Georgie also says these fears are being blow out of proportion.
The media is not absolved in this situation. Just look at how they depict us in King Kong, as if that frail little thing could satisfy our appetites.
But seems like these chimps have a thing or two to teach these humans. De Waal says,
Bonobos have a greater variety of sexual postures. The bonobos can do it any way they want – and they can do it face to face also. So positionally – so to speak – they have a richer repertoire. And their sexual behaviour is not just male to female. It’s also female-to-female and male-to-male and male-to-juvenile.
But not everyone, including this Austrian court, is ready to show that kind of Big Love.
The chimp protest arose from the case of a chimp named Matthew Hiasl Pan, who was smuggled into the country for testing by a pharmaceutical company.
Association Against Animal Factories in Vienna were intervenors in the case, translating their sign-language for them.
DDr. Martin Balluch, applicant for the Association, said,
All the courts have successfully evaded the central question, whether a chimp should be considered a thing or rather a person. We have supplied 4 scientific expert statements, which univocally state that chimps indeed are persons according to the law as it stands today. At least the Supreme Court, I would have thought, should have dealt with this issue. But, actually, that the person, for whom we were seeking a legal guardian, was a chimp, is not apparent in any of the verdicts. That also has a positive side, though: it is not so obvious, after all, that a chimp is not a person, otherwise the courts could have said just that. Indeed, the widespread media reports on the case prove that society is very interested in this question of chimp personhood, and considers it far from easily answered. Just to deny us to put forth our application and pose that question, cannot be the solution.
Chimps are not lab rats or mice, they’re unique animals
But it’s the “animals” part that the chimp activists specifically take issue with.
Humans appear as only slightly remodeled chimpanzee- like apes.
Goodman claims that labels such as “apes” and “monkeys” are discriminatory and derogatory towards the chimps. He proposes a new taxonomy system to rectify this:
One would be Homo (Homo) sapiens, or humans;
the second would be Homo (Pan) troglodytes, or common chimpanzees,
and the third would be Homo (Pan) paniscus, or bonobos.
Basis for Petition
The activists cite discrimination on cultural grounds:
- chimps prefer eating with their feet, a long-standing custom in their communities
- chimps groom each other for recreation, a demonstration of their collective spirit and caring for one another
- different standards of nudity; due to the climate in their homeland, chimps find clothing to be restrictive
- discrimination based on traditional chimp names, such as Bonzo, Bubbles, J. Fred Muggs, and Cheetah
- humans claim chimps are lazy and non-industrious; all they are interested in is their appearance, hence the collective grooming
- failure to participate in recreation sports and music activities preferred by human
Georgie states that Pan’s last name also evokes the fears of ancient Pan Satyrus, and could be the cause of the speciest denial by the court.
The chimps are selling these T-shirts stating “chimps are people too!” to raise awareness. They will not be wearing the shirts due to the expressed cultural norms that they would like to see respected.
Concerns of Violence
Authorities in Austria have cited concerns with the decision, fearing it could spark riots and violence.
There are already reports of chimps arming themselves, and police are on high alert.
Authorities are especially concerned because a single chimp is about 6-7 times stronger than an Austrian male.
The leader of the chimp underground movement, featured here in a suit, goes by the name of Orang O’Tan.
He is said to have begun training his followers in unarmed combat skills, as shown below.
The obvious solution to this entire mess is to find a legal course of action that would give these mindless chimps an alternative.
The case is being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, but they’re not sure how to convince the court they have standing in a court for humans.
Bonobos typically stand upright; chimps do not. Harrietta, legal adviser and chimp advocate, can be seen to the right (she is actually a Bonobo).
A provincial judge in Wiener Neustadt previously declared that the Bonobos had no standing, despite this evidence to the contrary. Harrietta apparently made paper boxes as toys from her factum, and the judge in Wiener Neustadt never received the documents.
But chimps have human counsel too. Mag. Eberhart Theuer, supported the application and will lead the appeal. He said,
The way this verdict was reached, denied [Matthew Hiasl Pan] a fair trial. Instead of carefully studying the arguments and judging on this basis, the applicant was denied legal standing. The question at hand is whether a certain being has certain basic rights or not. This question should have been answered by the courts. That did not happen, hence the right to a fair trial and other basic rights of the chimp Hiasl were broken. We will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights on these grounds.
If the chimps are unsuccessful in their appeal, they are considering immigrating to Canada and petitioning a refugee claim.
But if they experience similar discrimination here, they have declared their interest in a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
The basis of their complaint will be that the Commission insists on using the word “Human” in their title.
They think we would all be better off if we just all called ourselves “Homos.”
Glen Finch. The Bodily Strength of Chimpanzees. Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 24, No. 2 (May, 1943), pp. 224-228
Derek E. Wildman, Monica Uddin, Guozhen Liu, Lawrence I. Grossman, and Morris Goodman. Implications of natural selection in shaping 99.4% nonsynonymous DNA identity between humans and chimpanzees: Enlarging genus Homo. PNAS, Jun 2003; 100: 7181 – 7188.
(You would have to be a complete idiot, or maybe just a monkey, to take this seriously, but we’ll tell you not to anyways. )