Sunday, August 12, 2007

Newsweek Features Emma and Jackson at Chimps Incorporated

Newsweek recently featured a story about Emma and Jackson at Chimps Inc. in Bend, Oregon.

The chimps were brought to Chimps Inc. after their previous owners were taken to court for alleged abuse and neglect. Now the former owners want them back.

This conflict is being fought out in court - and it has raised an important question: Do chimpanzees (whose DNA differs from humans by less than 2%) have any rights, or are they simply property?

This situation harkens back to the Dred Scott Vs Sandford Case, which took place shortly before the American Civil War. At that time, the same question was asked about a slave (Dred Scott) who petitioned the US Government for his freedom. Unfortunately for Mr. Scott, the United States Supreme Court ruled that (as a slave), he was property and therefore had no rights under the US Constitution.

In today's world, the Dred Scott decision is considered to be misguided, at best, and shameful, at worst. I am hopeful that Emma's and Jackson's fate will be happier. It would be unfortunate if it took another 100 years for such wonderful creatures to be afforded some rights and dignity.

I know and have great respect for the people who run Chimps Incorporated. I am confident that all of the animals under their care are supported in a loving and responsible environment. It would be a terrible tragedy if Emma and Jackson were taken away from such a nurturing home.

I encourage you to contact Chimps Incorporated to offer whatever assistance that you can. Many thanks!

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