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Are Chimps almost human?


Are Chimps almost human?

Did you know that chimps and human share almost 99 percent of their genetics? Chimpanzees are more closely related to us than they are to gorillas or orang-utans.  Just like us they can be empathetic and affectionate, but they also can be hostile or conceited.  The young chimpanzee usually spends up to five years with their mother. Chimpanzees have being successfully taught sign language and can recognise themselves in the mirror.  A US court has granted ‘human rights ‘to two chimpanzees who were been held captive for research purposes in Stony Brook University in New York. Manhattan Supreme Justice Barbara Jaffe granted an order of habeas corpus on the behalf of two chimpanzees, Leo and Hercules.  She said they were to be freed from their captivity in Stony Brook University, and were to be released to ‘Save the Chimps’, a sanctuary in Florida.  They will live there with about 250 other chimpanzees, in a similar environment to that of their natural home in Africa.  The Nonhuman Rights Project is an organization, which works on achieving the legal rights for non human species.   They want the law to recognize the rights of animals not as property but as legal persons.

Primatologist Frans de Waal said “we are apes in every way, from our long arms and tail – less bodies to our habits and temperament.” In 1965, a chimpanzee called Washoe was taken from West Africa and brought to America for the space programme.  She lived with an American family and they taught her sign language.  Washoe learnt how to use 350 signs.  When her teacher suffered a miscarriage she signed to Washoe ‘my baby died’ and Washoe signed back ‘cry’. He then placed his hand on her face and touched the tear rolling down her cheek.  She was amazed and touched by his empathy.

Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape, taught Congo the chimpanzee how to paint.  Congo enjoyed painting abstract art.  If Desmond told him to finish painting before Congo had decided his art was up to standard, he would throw a tantrum.  He had an artistic temper just like a human! He wanted to complete the work himself.

In this writer’s opinion chimpanzees shouldn’t be kept in a laboratory for testing purposes.  I agree with this.  I don’t like the idea of any animal being imprisoned in a cage.  I feel they should be free to roam about in their natural habitat.  I believe humans should respect animals and show them the love and compassion that they deserve.  What right do humans have to treat animals in an inhumane way?  However in saying that I do understand there is an argument that scientists have to experiment on rodents for medical testing purposes.   Unfortunately, they will have to continue testing on them until they discover another method of testing.  I don’t like the idea of an animal being hurt in this way, but thanks to them scientists know what the side effects of medication are.

I certainly don’t agree with chimpanzees being used for research purposes.  I think that is like conducting experiments on an under developed and simplistic human.  Chimpanzees are sensitive, intelligent creatures who feel pain physically and mentally and this is why the Non -Human Rights Project in America wanted to fight for their freedom.

How can scientists think that it is okay to experiment on these creatures who are in essence just one percent genetically different to us?

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