Should Animals Have the Same Rights As Us?

Julie Chung
The Hercules and Leo case concerning two chimpanzees held at the Stony Brook University, will have a hearing Wednesday, May 27, in the New York County Supreme Court Civil Branch.

The New York Supreme Court Civil Branch will continue hearing from the "Hercules and Leo" Chimpanzee Rights Case, on Wednesday, May 27.


The two chimps, Hercules and Leo, have lawyers seeking to have them moved to an animals sanctuary, while the Stony Brook University researchers are fighting to keep Hercules and Leo in their lab for further research and testing on physical movement.

Animals have been involved in court cases many times before. In fact, the earliest record of an animal on trial dates back to 1266. But what makes Hercules and Leo's case so significant is that this case follows the ruling in another case from a year ago, where a judge ruled that chimps should not have the same rights as people.

With the case hearing tomorrow, one of the main arguments that have given this case a strong direction is the use of habeas corpus in Hercules and Leo's defense. However, since habeas corpus requires a detainee to fight against unlawful imprisonment and the court does not recognize chimps as people, this cannot be applied to their case.

One of the main arguments that will most likely be used by the university is the chimps' lack of ability to reason, understand, and have a sense of morality. It's quite interesting though in the Hercules and Leo case, because the main question at hand is: will the university be charged for the illegal detention of two chimps in their lab?

To the more progressive person, the answer is simply: yes.

I believe this basically comes down to whether or not enough people see all animals' sole purpose and function in life as to serve people. A more progressive approach may believe that anything that is living and has the will to live, has the right to do so on their own accord without suffering.