A New York appeals court is currently being asked to consider whether a 26-year-old chimpanzee should be entitled to ‘legal personhood’. Tommy, a retired circus performer living in a cage in upstate New York, is represented by lawyer Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP). The NhRP’s argument is that animals with ‘human qualities’, such as chimps, should have basic rights – including freedom from imprisonment.Continue reading “Tommy the chimp is just an animal, not a prisoner”
Helene took part in this Battle of Ideas debate with Professor Nicola Clayton.Continue reading “What do animals know?”
A lecture given by Helene at the Leeds Salon’s Tetley Talks. Are apes really ‘just like us’? Or are the boundaries between us and other species greater than many would like to claim?Continue reading “Just Another Ape?”
On the dust jacket of Dale Peterson’s new book, The Moral Lives of Animals, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs, is effusive in her praise: ‘There’s a special place in the hearts of many of us for books that express the “oneness” of life on Earth’, she says, ‘and this book tops them all’.Continue reading “Animals don’t have morality, people do”
Watch Helene taking part in a discussion at the Manchester Salon with Professor Tipu Aziz, David Thomas, Jeremy Taylor and Dr Richard D. Ryder.Continue reading “Should apes have rights?”
Today we are often told that us ‘arrogant’ human beings need to get off our anthropocentric pedestal. We are not as special as we think; we are ‘just another ape’. Peter Singer, the so-called father of the animal rights movement, claims that the great apes – that is, orang-utans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos – are not only our closest living relatives; they also possess many of the characteristics that were once considered to be unique to humans.Continue reading “The chasm between great apes and people”
Should apes have rights? Absolutely not. Rights are a human concept, premised on the idea of autonomous individuals, who should be treated equally before the law.
Animals are not autonomous. They cannot take responsibility for their own actions, and they cannot – like us humans – subordinate their individual natural drives to the interest of society as a whole. In fact, they do not have society. It is therefore nonsensical to grant animals rights.Continue reading “Animals are useless, unless humans make use of them”
Time and again, we are told that humans are not that special after all: abilities previously thought to be uniquely human are now purportedly evident amongst the great apes. The most recent claim, published in the current issue of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, is that orang-utans use mime to make themselves understood.Continue reading “Orang-utans are not remotely like humans”
A handful of chimp mothers carrying around their dead babies is not evidence of ‘human-like’ qualities.
‘Chimps “feel death like humans”’, the BBC reported this week. And according to Scientific American: ‘Like tool use and self-awareness, distinct grief and mourning might be just one more thing we share with our closest living relatives.’Continue reading “Monkeys mourning? Don’t make me laugh”