You may have read about a recent court decision in Argentina — Captive orangutan has human right to freedom, Argentine court rules — in which:
Animal rights campaigners filed a habeas corpus petition – a document more typically used to challenge the legality of a person’s detention or imprisonment – in November on behalf of Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo.
The trial court ruled that:
An orangutan held in an Argentine zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom … .
We thought a writ of habeas corpus was an Anglo-American remedy, but it seems to be recognized elsewhere. Anyway, despite the outcome favorable to the orangutan, this is similar to a case in the US we wrote about earlier — see Oook, Oook — Chimps Lose in Appellate Court.
The Discovery Institute is keenly interested in such cases, because of a new campaign they’ve launched, in which they pose as the champions of what they call “human exceptionalism” — a thinly disguised claim that humans aren’t related to other animals, and therefore, as the creationists always say: “I ain’t no kin to no monkey.” We wrote about that campaign here: Discovery Institute: Two New Themes.
The Discoveroids were delighted when the New York chimp case turned out as it did, and they even went a bit overboard about it, demanding sanctions against the lawyers who represented the chimp’s position — see Discoveroids Oppose Frivolous Lawsuits. We intend to remember that the next time they champion some crazed creationist who sues about “viewpoint discrimination.”
Anyway, here are some excerpts from the Discoveroids’ reaction to the Argentine case: Court Declares Orangutan “Non-Human Person”! It’s written by Wesley J. Smith. We don’t hear much from him, but he’s a Discoveroid “Senior Fellow” and a lawyer. The bold font was added by us:
I have been warning you and warning you: It takes just one judge, wanting to make history, to kick the props out from under our tottering societal embrace of human exceptionalism.
Yes, he seemed to be a voice in the wilderness, but now the horror he warned of has come to pass. He describes the court’s ruling and then says:
One hopes this will be overturned on appeal. If it isn’t, some will simply shrug. Others will laugh and roll their eyes. But indifference is the enemy of maintaining a righteous society and there is nothing funny about erasing human exceptionalism.
Oh no! This is the culmination of Darwin’s evil work — we are no longer exceptional! Let’s read on:
The animal rights agenda — completely unnecessary to protect animal welfare — won’t elevate animals to the level of humans, but will reduce us to the value of animals. And that means that the weakest and most vulnerable — the disparaged and the outcast — will eventually lose their inherent protections based simply on being human.
Egad! Only the Discoveroids and their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — can save us from impending chaos. Smith then cites his own book, and some writings of others, which predict (with bracketed material in Smith’s original):
If they [the animal-rights movement] established through culture or law that human beings have no intrinsic dignity greater than that of any animal, the world would not be a better place for either humankind or animals.
Instead, it would be a utilitarian nightmare in which the strong would destroy the weak, in which power-crazed leaders would destroy everyone who loved peace, in which the wealth of the world would be concentrated in the hands of a murderous few, in which mercy would be unknown and the only virtue would be the ability to survive, in which the only right would be the right to die.
Aaaargh!! A “utilitarian nightmare.” He concludes with this:
Our courts must say no, and do so with unequivocal force and ringing eloquence. Human well-being and liberty are at stake.
So there you are. The Discoveroids, in their glorious battle against materialism and evolution, are fighting for your rights, dear reader. Join them and proclaim, loudly and proudly: I ain’t no kin to no monkey!
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