European Court agrees to hear chimp's plea for human rights
His name is Matthew, he is 26 years old, and his supporters hope to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
But he won't be able to give evidence on his own behalf - since he is a chimpanzee.
Animal rights activists led by British teacher Paula Stibbe are fighting to have Matthew legally declared a 'person' so she can be appointed as his guardian if the bankrupt animal sanctuary where he lives in Vienna is forced to close.
An anonymous businessman has offered a substantial amount to cover his care, but under Austrian law only humans are entitled to have guardians....
I DON'T like (but I understand) the tendancy of so many people to use the courts to get what THEY want, not realizing--or even caring about what sort of precedent would be set for future related issues if/after they win their case.
Many of these people are like punk kid brothers who, if you don't cow to them, will go get their "big brother" (i.e. government) to come and beat you up. Especially those who display a great reluctance to compromise, as the caretakers of this chimp appear to be doing.
I think in cases like this there is very rarely any jurors involved. That is a good thing because otherwise the lawyers would have to find 12 simian peers plus some alternatives. If Matthew throws poop at the judge I am afraid that he may be held in contempt.
I actually think that the whole thing is just government red tape. The people who care for the monkey want to continue to do so, but apparently can not once the zoo or whatever it is they work at is shut down. There are probably laws against privately owning the monkey and this is the only way the group sees to keep the monkey safe. If he has been in human care for 26 years, odds are he can't go back to the wild. Corporations are also legally called a 'person', so it isn't like something in this area is unprecidented.