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An Austrian court makes it official: chimps are not people.

A chimpanzee cannot be declared a person, Austria's Supreme Court has ruled…

An animal rights group had sought to have the chimp, Matthew Hiasl Pan, declared a person in hopes of gaining guardianship of the animal.

The shelter where Matthew has lived for 25 years is going bankrupt, threatening to leave him homeless. Donors have offered to help support him, but under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.

The punchline:

The rights group said it would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

We last checked in on the chimpanzee community on Monday.

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  1. Get your hands off me, you damn, dirty ape!

  2. In retrospect, the critics were all wrong and Conquest really is the best Apes film.

    The first one is a sci-fi classic, but it really could have been made at virtually any time. Conquest is such a perfect artifact of its moment in film history that it really should be put in a time capsule.

  3. If this is considered a person, why not a chimp?

  4. Too bad the court didn’t close the opinion by singing :

    “I hate every ape I see,
    from Chimpan-a to Chimpan-z”

  5. J sub D:

    I was almost certain you were going to link to this guy.

  6. I RTFA, and I question their motives 🙂 But let me premise my remarks by saying I know nothing about Austrian law.

    Here’s what I don’t get. The article says:
    The shelter where Matthew has lived for 25 years is going bankrupt, threatening to leave him homeless. Donors have offered to help support him, but under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.

    But then it says:

    Organisers said they may set up a foundation to collect donations for Matthew, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years.

    But they argue that only personhood will ensure that he isn’t sold outside Austria.

    Umm, can the foundation not accept personal gifts? Does the term “person” in the first quote have the same sense it does in US law, so it means any person, natural or juridical (corporations, llc’s, etc.).

    My minimally informed opinion is that this was a test case by some animal rights activists trying to get personhood for an animal. Austrain law has to be somewhat like US law, right? Like, they could set up a foundation with articles of incorporation or bylaws or however they do it, stating that the chimpanzee may not be sold, and have a board of directors that they trust to not sell him. The foundation accepts the money for that mission. Problem solved. (Of course, if you know more about Austrian law, please correct me).

  7. I was almost certain you were going to link to this guy.

    Heh. Safe. Both white. Careful now.

  8. If this is considered a person, why not a chimp?

    I was almost certain you were going to link to this guy.

    Heh. Safe. Both white. Careful now.

    I could have used this and few would have objected.
    I think.

  9. Caesar is not pleased! Cancel my vacation to Vienna!

  10. That didn’t work. Trying again.

  11. All your base are belong to us.

  12. I was expecting a pic of our very own Commander-In-Chimp, Curious George.

  13. http://formerbeltwaywonk.wordpress.com/

    circumstantial evidence that reason is behind the newsletter smear campaign and that Rockwell was the target all along.
    Ron Paul was just collateral damage.

  14. But will they build these cities on Rock and Roll?

  15. That didn’t work. Trying again.

    I was so hoping it would be Whoopie Goldberg.

  16. But will they build these cities on Rock and Roll?

    Go to your room. Without dinner.

  17. Joe Allen:

    That article is missing the fact that Matt Welch’s blog post was in response to Jamie Kirchick’s appearance on MSNBC. It’s not a grand conspiracy, get over it.

  18. But will they build these cities on Rock and Roll?

    I’ve gone viral, baby!

  19. On the other hand, the question on whether people are chimps was left unresolved.

  20. Caesar is not pleased! Cancel my vacation to Vienna!

    Caesar –
    That would be unwise. Vienna is absolutely beautiful and a manageably sized city. The Viennese are also particularly friendly and quirky. Try the gelato (if you go when it’s warm). You’ll find people walking around with cones of gelato all over the place.

  21. Sorry, hu-man, but Caesar has already changed his itinerary, trading Vienna for chimpanzee-friendly Rome (which has its own forms of indigenous gelato). Caesar will miss those lovely Viennese pastries, but Caesar must be strong.

  22. All my life I’ve known of this ruling’s coming and I’ve dreaded it … like death itself.

  23. What would have been very amusing is if the court decided that Matthew was a person and then deported him to Sierra Leone because he was an illegal immigrant.

  24. Hey, Zaius, how about shutting the fuck up? Didn’t hear that orangutans were being stripped of their rights. Lawgiver-damned excuse for a primate. Go back to Borneo, you loser.

  25. At long last, the debate over Apeas Corpus is settled … or is it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_on_Great_Apes

  26. hier is Mr. Steven Crane and Mrs. Zaius. Apparently during a Yiffing session. (SFW “nur Tier-GV”

  27. What would have been very amusing is if the court decided that Matthew was a person and then deported him to Sierra Leone because he was an illegal immigrant.

    Sulla wins the thread.

  28. The head of the Austrian Animal Protection group is not getting involved with this, because he thinks this cause is stoopid…

    also, besides the silliness of using the courts this way, the main silliness is that a fund solely for Hiasl and Rosi cannot be set up. That’s the problem.

  29. Sierra Leone ? Why ever? In 1983 Australopithicines, who are 200% Austrian, won the America’s Cup, but it was subsequently lost to a crew of Swiss deck apes, They would surely welcome so senior a figure as Herr Pan.

  30. Sierra Leone ? Why ever?

    The article mentioned that Matthew was captured in Sierra Leone and smuggled into Austria.

  31. Free Matthew Hiasl Pan!

  32. The great thing about the furry fellow’s name is that his “family” name Pan is the term used by scientists to identify chimpanzees (as a genus). It’s like someone foresaw this legal situation and wanted to plant a subtle distinction, a sort of flag identifying Matthew’s humanness or non-humanness. Or it’s like someone found a fun irony in (“)giving(“) to the chimp (someone has to be able to receive in order to be able to be given something) a human naming convention but deriving the family name from a denotement of non-humanness. Of course this is all silly semantics. But this case demonstrates that it’s better to be silly about meaningless things than silly about real things (hmm, is this chimp a person? let’s give this serious thought…)

  33. Thirty-three posts on a chimp thread. Pathetic. There was a time this would’ve garnered at least a few hundred. Kids today just don’t appreciate Planet of the Apes humor. The real movie, not the awful Marky Mark one.

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