Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Animals, People, Criminal Justice, Intelligence, Society, Human, Law, India

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2020/12/28

The questions regarding animal rights are still accurate nowadays. A lot of organizations that protect the rights of animals try to call the society for protecting animals and treating them well. Many welfarists as well as media’s representatives claim that animals rights are often underrepresented in modern society. The society which doesn’t take into consideration animals’ treatment may be viewed as poorly developed and full of limitations. This work will consider the issues of giving such animals as dolphins and chimpanzees the status of “non-human person”; the way these issues are represented by media as well as what they can say people about their current society.
Thus, quite recently the Indian Ministry of environment reached an important decision which prohibits dolphin captivity in India. This country was the first to adopt such measures and may serve as an example for other countries. Therefore, Laura Bridgeman in her article What India’s Decision to Ban Dolphin Captivity Means stated that this decision “is particularly significant because it reflects an increasing global understanding that dolphins deserve better protections based on who – rather than what – the are” (Bridgeman). It is true that many people use the concept what when they speak about animals. And it is the main problem which contributes to unfair treatment of animals. That is why everyone who is concerned with the rights of animals claims that it is necessary to give them some rights as they are highly intelligent and sensitive animals. Mike Adams, for example, states that, “dolphins have human-like self-awareness and engage in highly complex communications with other dolphins using grammatical sentence structure” (Adams). Laura Bridgeman supports this argument saying that dolphins can experience all kinds of emotions, solve different problems and make decisions. In other words, it is possible to say that dolphins have all the necessary qualities in order to qualify them as non-human persons.
Unfortunately, but many people do not only view dolphins as what instead of who, but also treat them as property. They make them doing different tricks and elements and introduce them as an attraction for parents and their children. Mike Adams suggests that using dolphins for the purpose of entertainment is practically the same as putting small children into cages and use them for people’s attraction. It was proved by different scientists that dolphins are too intelligent in order to be treated this way. That is why India decided to adopt some measures against their unfair treatment. At this event India’s ministry said, “it is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose” (Crabtree). Thus, dolphin’s high intelligence serves as the main argument that they should be treated in a better way.
It should be also noted that the idea of viewing dolphins as “non-human persons” is highly appreciated and respected by media. All the authors that cover this issue absolutely support India’s decision to ban dolphin captivity and encourage the rest of the globe to do it. Thus, Mike Adams is rather radical as he claims that dolphins should not only been granted personhood. He believes that dolphins are far more intelligent than people. The author states that dolphins would never create radioactive plants or bombs and other terrible things that people do. Thus, speaking about the issue of giving some rights to people, he says the following, “I have far more faith in the intelligence of dolphins than I do the intelligence of humanity” (Adams). There is a high possibility that if other nations recognize intelligence of dolphins as well as their self-awareness people would start to treat them better as well. In such a way their appreciation of these self-aware animals would change. It is also possible that people don’t see that these animals have such characteristics as cognitive complexity, intelligence, self-awareness and a whole spectrum of various emotions. That is why, according to Laura Bridgeman, “dolphins should be given certain basic rights – not the rights to vote, mind you, but merely the rights not to be captured, confined, or killed, in order to prevent the suffering that they most likely experience when these rights are violated” (Bridgeman). It is important to mention that media’s representatives try to persuade the pubic to treat dolphins as “non-human persons” and to convince them that it is important to give some rights to these animals. They absolutely support India and its decision to ban the keeping of these intelligent animals for the country’s entertainment.
It should be also said that not only dolphins deserve legal rights. The members of Nonhuman Rights Project claim that chimpanzees deserve to be granted rights of bodily liberty as well. Thus, in his article Can chimpanzee be considered a legal person? Brandon Keim quotes the words of the Nonhuman Rights Project’s founder Steve Wise who claims that chimpanzees “are persons with a right not be owned or imprisoned” (Keim). Otherwise, they would be treated as an object of property. The members of this Project conducted a research which shows that chimpanzees have practically the same cognitive and emotional qualities as humans do. Therefore, it is unfair to treat them as human’s property.
The main evidence of chimpanzee’s receiving legal rights lies in the fact that that the mind of a chimpanzee is quite similar to that of a person. Thus, Brandon Keim in an article A Chimp’s day in Court: Inside the Historic Demand for Nonhuman Rights states that according to many scientific researches, “at a purely neurological level, chimpanzees share many of the same features – enlarged frontal lobes, asymmetry between left- and right-brain functions, specialized cell types in specific brain regions – associated with high-level cognition in humans” (Keim). Therefore, it is clear that chimpanzees have cognitive similarities with humans. It should be also noted that there is a conceptual richness of chimpanzees’ communicative abilities. Thus, they are capable of symbolic and perspective thinking. Furthermore, the can think about past and future events. Among other qualities that are similar between chimpanzees and people it is possible to mention the following: self-consciousness and determination, the ability to make plans, sequential learning, imagination and others. There was also conducted a research according to which chimpanzees showed their great numerical and sequencing abilities and managed to out-calculate human children.
Another aspect that shows chimpanzees’ resemblance with human beings and serves an example that they should be given legal rights is their tool-making and cultural traditions. Thus, Brandon Keim uses this argument in order to support the idea that chimpanzees should be treated as “non- human persons”. Chimpanzees know how to teach one another complex tools. This ability of the animals resembles the way the aboriginal groups used to learn things from one another. Chimpanzees are also capable of mental time travel that is “the ability to imagine oneself in the past and future, as well as the present” (Keim). This unique ability presupposes that chimpanzees possess one of the most important qualities – autonomy. In fact, autonomy is usually regarded as a feature that can be observed only within human beings. Therefore, all these arguments support the idea that the issue of animal rights is often underrepresented in the society. It is true that people do not always recognize their resemblance with chimpanzees and treat them as property. And the evidences provided by Nonhuman Rights Project state that at least some attention should be paid to animals rights.
Therefore, it is possible to say that Nonhuman Rights Project’s case which aimed to give chimpanzee a legal right to bodily liberty failed. Unfortunately, but the society is not ready for such changes. Despite the fact that many judges were sympathetic to the case and claimed that the members of Nonhuman Rights Project together with Steve Wise made the strong arguments they referred to the article 70 of New York’s legal code according to which habeas corpus decisions simply do not include chimpanzees. A lot of scholars were holding the same standpoint as well. Thus, many of them agree that chimpanzees are highly intelligent and self-aware animals and they argue against animal experimentation. However, most scholars believe that, “the Nonhuman Rights Project arguments are academically powerful but “just not feasible” as a legal strategy” (Keim). In other words, their arguments lacked standing as they showed intelligence of chimpanzees but not the fact that mistreatment of these animals would somehow make people suffer. That is why they didn’t receive support from the court.
It is also remarkable that this case received wide press coverage. Thus, Brandon Keim claimed, that “In Wise’s hands was a lawsuit demanding something unprecedented in American law” (Keim). It became the first case which target was to give legal rights to chimpanzee, a quality which was previously reserved only for humans. It is true that media tries to be objective regarding this case but at the same time it is clear that most of media’s representatives support the idea of giving chimpanzee legal rights. Thus, Keim in his article A Chimp’s day in Court: Inside the Historic Demand for Nonhuman Rights provides a clear example why chimpanzees should be given some basic rights. As it is stated in his article there are many people whose cognitive abilities are far lower than that of chimpanzees. These are usually people with mental disorder and dementia. These people may stay in certain clinics and other medical institutions but they would never be used for experiments. Therefore, here rises a question: Why chimpanzee couldn’t receive at least the right not to be viewed as property? Unfortunately, but in spite of many evidences and arguments provided by Wise, the most of the judges didn’t want to hear this case.
It is evident that this case with chimpanzees and the denial to give these animals some rights shows that there is something wrong in the society. Many people in our society stuck to the idea that chimpanzees, dolphins and other living beings are only animals which do not possess any feelings or emotions. People think that this idea gives them the right to conduct experiments on them and to view them as their own property. And the evidences provided by many respectful scientists which show that these animals possess a wide range of emotions and are self-aware didn’t change the situation radically. Yes, may be people do not conduct experiments on chimpanzees anymore but they still cannot admit that these intelligent animals deserve some basic rights. This reluctance to change the accepted opinion shows that current society is still full of limitations and does not want to cross the borders. Therefore, the chimpanzee’s case shows that there are still some concepts in the society that need to be revised.

Works cited

Adams, Mike. “Dolphins granted personhood by government of India”. Natural News. 9 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015
Bridgeman, Laura. “What India’s Decision to Ban Dolphin Captivity Means”. Earth Island Journal. 12 Jun. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015
Crabtree, Jim. “India Bans Captive Dolphin Shows as Morally Unacceptable”. Environment News Service. 20 May. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015
Keim, Brandon. “A Chimp’s Day in Court: Inside the Historic Demand for Nonhuman Rights”. Wired. 12 Jun. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015
Keim, Brandon. “Judge Rules Chimps Can’t Be Legal Persons, But Activists Vow to Fight On”. Wired. 12 Sep. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015

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WePapers. (2020, December, 28) Current Events Essay Essay Sample. Retrieved December 09, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/current-events-essay-essay-sample/
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