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Opening Arguments

Cheap rights

This weird, weird world just got a lot weirder:

Hercules and Leo, who are currently used for biomedical experiments at Stony Brook University on Long Island, were granted habeas corpus by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe.

Habeas corpus is a legal petition that detainees use to seek relief from unlawful imprisonment, and by granting habeas corpus to chimps, Jaffe endorsed the idea that they deserve the rights of a human being with respect to being confined indefinitely and in less than humane conditions.

Advocates argue great apes are highly intelligent and self-aware beings with complex emotional lives that deserve basic rights, including the right to be free of inhumane treatment.

Many of us who are not of the loony left persuasion have argued for years that there can be no such thing as "animal rights" because rights require a reciprocating set of duties and expectations, which animals, even "highly intelligent and self-aware ones," are incapable of. That's not an excuse to treat them badly but a recognition that to confer rights on them cheapens the whole concept of rights when applying them to the human race.

So, easy fix, just call them people, and they therefore deserve himan rights, too! Boy, talk about cheapening the concept.