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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Rick Cupp: "Gorilla's Death Calls for Human Responsibility, Not Animal Personhood" --TheConversation

June 6, 2016 -- Pepperdine Law professor Richard L. Cupp has published an article, "Gorilla's Death Calls for Human Responsibility, Not Animal Personhood," at TheConversation.

From "Gorilla's Death Calls for Human Responsibility":

My reaction to the killing of Harambe the gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo when a child went into the gorilla's enclosure is probably typical: I am sickened and I am angry. This must not happen again.

One step that some advocates will surely press for in light of Harambe's killing is to change our legal system to designate gorillas and other great apes such as chimpanzees as legal persons.

Expanding legal personhood to include intelligent nonhuman animals would give them legal rights, and would create standing for a human guardian to initiate legal actions on their behalf – much like children's rights are protected in courts by guardians.

At first blush this may sound progressive and enlightened, but in reality the concept is fundamentally flawed and dangerous for society.

Turning to our legal system in responding to Harambe's tragedy is the right approach, but our legal focus should be on ensuring effective human responsibility for the proper treatment of gorillas and other nonhuman animals rather than on pretending that gorillas are people.

The complete article may be found at theconversation.com


June 8, 2016 -- Professor Cupp's article was redistributed by the Associated Press at ap.org, and by Google News at google.com.