Quite my favourite story of the week has nothing to do with Eastbourne. It was about an attempt in the US to have human rights made applicable to chimpanzees.
Don’t get me wrong. I like chimpanzees. I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one, but then I don’t have a daughter, so that worked out nicely. But let’s face it, the word ‘human’ in the phrase ‘human rights’ applies to, erm, humans. Chimpanzees are quite like humans, but crucially, they are not humans, any more than a desk is.
The Nonhuman Rights Project petitioned three courts in New York State in a bid to have four chimpanzees moved to a sanctuary where they could live out the reminder of their days in freedom. The Project, a charity, claimed that the animals were living in horrible conditions. The courts declined to grant the Project’s wishes. The Project intends to appeal and says it will not monkey about.
OK, facts over. Rant begins. If I were a judge, I’d throw the operators of the Project into jail for wasting the court’s time. This bit of monkey business is not a complicated matter. Human rights are for humans, not for animals or statues or Barbie dolls or Batman or anything else other than human beings. This should not be a difficult concept to grasp.
The Project is run by well-meaning people, no doubt, but they are utterly clueless. So much that is bad is being done to human beings, that worrying whether a chimp gets a banana seems wrong-headed to the point of madness.
I know a man who kills snails because they enter his house and leave trails all over his floors. Hell, I eat dead chickens. They don’t seem to have a lot of rights, other than the right to be tasty and have their unhatched young taken away to make omelettes. Harsh words, I know, but there it is. It’s not just a dog-eat-dog world; it’s a Crombie-eat-chicken world.
The Project must have had attorneys, who must have advised the Project that this was a case worth sinking their teeth into. And their money. I’d have the attorneys locked up for even longer than the Project people. Any attorney worth his salt must be able to spot that human rights only apply to humans. But they advised the Project to spend its donors’ money on this barmy idea.
I have in my home a statue of a Rastafarian garden gnome. If he starts misbehaving, over the balcony he’ll go and no one can touch me for it, unless he lands on someone’s head. He’s a lovely statue, well-behaved and mostly silent. But although he looks like a man, he isn’t: he’s a 90-pound statue, made of concrete.
OK, well, enough of that. I don’t actually believe in human rights for humans, which is a separate story, but now we’ve run out of Internet and I only have space to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Chimpanzee.