A court in Argentina has ruled that an orangutan has rights. Commentators say that this is the first time an ape has been so blessed.
Utter nonsense. They just don’t get it, do they? It’s not the first time at all.
There are apes somewhere near you. There are apes somewhere near me. No, I’m not referring to the locals of Ashby or Swad: Twycross Zoo actually. In a manner of speaking, they’re inside my skin. I am an ape. You are an ape. He/she/it is an ape. We are apes …
Orangs are apes, just like us. They are primates just like us. Moreover, they are intelligent primates who value solitude—in which they are perhaps more discerning than some of us.
When will humans realize that we are not the centre of the universe? We are a recent development in terms of cosmic history, we will not be around in the present form for ever, and it looks as if we might well be wiped out soon (again, in cosmic terms). We are creatures of this earth. Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.
As a square is a rectangle, so a human is a primate, an ape, a mammal, a vertebrate, a chordate. There is nothing new about this classification, and if there are theologians who don’t accept it, then all I can say is that they’re wrong.
Orangs are capable of acts of kindness, mutual care and compassion. They grieve. They think. They ponder. They reflect. Perhaps they are more than human. We sometimes act as if we’re less than human.
Do you believe that gay orangutans should be allowed to join the freemasons?
They might be above that sort of thing. But perhaps we could afford orangs unemployment benefits and such and such, and take benefits from masons.