An Austrian court is poised to give a chimpanzee "human status". Uh, yes.

A group of world leading primatologists argue that this is proof enough that Hiasl, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, deserves to be treated like a human. In a test case in Austria, campaigners are seeking to ditch the 'species barrier' and have taken Hiasl's case to court. If Hiasl is granted human status - and the rights that go with it - it will signal a victory for other primate species and unleash a wave of similar cases.

Apparently some people have donated money towards the care of this animal, but for some reason they didn't set up a foundation to spend the money and instead gave it to the animal directly. Or something... the article isn't clear.

However, unless Hiasl has a legal guardian who can manage the money it will go to the receivers. As only humans have a right to legal guardians, his campaigners say it is necessary for Hiasl's survival to prove that he is one of us. Primatologists and experts - from the world's most famous primate campaigner, Jane Goodall, to Professor Volker Sommer, a renowned wild chimp expert at University College London - will give evidence in the case, which is due to come to court in Vienna within the next few months.

Yes, real "scientists" are actually going to contribute to this bizarre fiasco.

One of their central arguments will be that a chimpanzee's DNA is 96-98.4 per cent similar to that of humans - closer than the relationship between donkeys and horses.

If they argue that, then their argument will be false. The most current research indicates that human and chimp DNA is only around 95% similar.

Let's take the next paragraph a bit at a time.

Sommer, an evolutionary anthropologist, said: 'It's untenable to talk of dividing humans and humanoid apes because there are no clear-cut criteria - neither biological, nor mental, nor social.'

Volker Sommer must be a rather agenda-driven evolutionary anthropologist, because a 5-year-old can tell the difference between a chimpanzee and a human. If you're going to argue against something that's incredibly obvious to the vast majority of the population, then you're going to need compelling evidence... and DNA "similarity" isn't it (and increase his difference numbers from 1.5% to 5%).

Paula Stibbe, a British woman, has applied to be named Hiasl's legal guardian. She said: 'He is a colourful character with lots of energy. The least we can do for him is give him ... a future in society.'

Really? What role should he have in society? He's incapable of contributing, so the only role available to him is that of welfare recipient, which is basically the same as being a public pet.

Barbara Bartl, the judge and an animal rights campaigner, has stalled proceedings until documents are provided proving Hiasl has, as his friends say, the status of an asylum-seeker, having been abducted illegally from Sierra Leone.

The judge is an "animal rights" campaigner and didn't recuse herself from the case? But don't worry, there's no conflict of interest because chimpanzees aren't animals, they're humans!

Finally, just imagine how the plaintiffs would be laughed out of court if they demanded human rights for unborn babies.

(HT: Nick.)

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