Saturday, October 13, 2007

Not a person yet

A provincial judge in the city of Weiner Neustadst has dismissed the case brought forth to try and protect a 26 year-old chimp. Matthew Hiasl Pan and another chimp, Rosi, have lived in an animal shelter for 25 years and that shelter had declared bankruptcy recently.

Animal activists have tried to have the courts continue to protect them from being sold or moved out of Austria where they now live. It seems that their annual upkeep is $6,800 a month and donors have tried to set aside money for their upkeep. The catch in Austrian law is that only a person can recieve personal gifts.

They have sought to have him declared a person since February rather than set up a foundation to try and clear his future care, which could be until he reaches 60 years old, the average age for a chimpanzee in captivity. Animal activists have stated that they are not trying to declare him a human, just a person, not an object as he is viewed now under Austrian law.

Their legal case though has sparked worldwide debate as to whether lines would be crossed and doors opened by declaring a chimp a person. They have vowed to take the dismissed case to a higher court and the world will have to watch and wait for the outcome.

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