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Italian Journal of Psychology and Internet
Psicologia Online

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Italian Journal of Psychology and Internet - Psicologia Online
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lunedì 28 maggio 2007

Hiasl, battle to get legally declared a "person."

Hiasl, a 26-year-old male chimpanzee looks through the glass at his enclosure at an animal sanctuary in Voesendorf, south of Vienna, on Friday, May 4, 2007. Austrian animal rights advocates are waging an unusual court battle to get the chimpanzee legally declared a "person." Hiasl's supporters argue that he needs that status to become a legal entity who can receive donations and get a guardian to look out for his interests. (AP Photo/Lilli Strauss)

By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer
(AP) -- In some ways, Hiasl is like any other Viennese: He indulges a weakness for pastry, likes to paint and enjoys chilling out watching TV. But he doesn't care for coffee, and he isn't actually a person - at least not yet.

Humans are recognized as persons and protected in law by the United NationsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights[5] and by all governments, though to varying degrees. Non-human primates are not classified as persons, which means their individual interests have no formal recognition or protection. The status of non-human primates has generated much debate, particularly through the Great Ape Project [6] which argues for the personhood of the non-human members of the family Hominidae. In 1995 Ignaas Spruit, director of Leiden (Netherlands) based Pro-Primates organization, went farther, as he proposed that some rights should be recognized to all non-human primates.[7] In the same way, the American anthropologist Earnest Albert Hooton, enlarging the sense of the famous quote by Terence, used to say "Primas sum: primatum nil a me alienum puto", that is to say: “I am a primate; nothing about primates is outside of my bailiwick” [8]

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