The courts get one right

This may be what is referred to in legalese as a “no duh” ruling:

Apes aren’t us.

In a blow for animal lovers and simian-rights advocates, a five-member state judicial panel unanimously ruled on Thursday that a chimpanzee could not be considered a “legal person” and thus sue for his freedom.

A “blow for animal lovers”? Slow down there, Walt Winchell! I love our dog, and I appreciate the birds and other critters out in the backyard, but that’s a long way from wanting them protected by the Bill of Rights.

This case has a darker side than is apparent on first read. Applying the concept of “personhood” to non-humans on the basis of a minimum level of cognition is the first step to creating another category of living being — non-person humans.

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