Chimps Are People Too, Insists Scientist

Jane Goodall, expert on primates, is to tell a court that apes are people, in a groundbreaking case that will determine whether a chimp can have human rights. Goodall has agreed to testify that apes deserve the same treatment as humans. The case has been filed in an Austrian court by Paula Stibbe, 38, a Briton who wants to become the legal guardian of a chimp called (Hiasl) Matthew. The case was accepted by the court before officials realised Matthew was a primate, but their efforts to have it dismissed have failed. The case centres around money given to Matthew by a well-wisher to safeguard his future after the animal home where he lived went bust. Ms Stibbe and her lawyers say he should have the same rights as a child and have a guardian to help him spend it. Ms Stibbe said: “Matthew likes watching TV and videos and playing games like any child, and can use signs and gestures to say what he wants. Of course he has the right to be recognised as an individual.” This is the second legal action in Europe to address whether primates should be guaranteed human rights; the Socialist government in Spain has proposed a law to allow moral guardianship of great apes, akin to the care for severely disabled or comatose people. Matthew and another chimpanzee, called Rosie, both now 26, have lived at the sanctuary since then, but when it went bankrupt, an anonymous donor gave several thousand pounds to Matthew to safeguard his future. Dr Martin Balluch, an animal rights campaigner who instructed lawyers to file for guardianship...