Friday, May 04, 2007

Chimps making monkeys out of humans?

Long-time readers of The Burning Taper may have noticed I have a soft spot for articles about monkeys and chimpanzees. I don't know why. Maybe it's because they're our closest brothers, just a chromosome away from forming their own Grand Lodge.

Previous ape articles or photos:Today's monkey business is about Hiasi (pronounced HEE-sui), a 26-year old chimp. He and his lady Rosi have been living a life of luxury at an animal sanctuary in Vienna, Austria. They have spent most of their lives feeding their faces with croissants, watching reruns of B.J. and the Bear, painting a little as the Muse strikes them, and dressing up occasionally for a night at the opera.

Unfortunately, Hiasi doesn't have a job, and the free room and board he's been getting for the past quarter century is about to end. The animal sanctuary he and Rosi call home has gone bankrupt. They just couldn't afford the chimps' $6,800 a month lifestyle.

Animal rights activists have come up with a plan. They have established a foundation to raise funds for and care for the chimps, who are expected to live to the age of 60.

But under Austrian law, only a person can accept personal donations.

The activists have begun paperwork to have Hiasi and Rosi declared "persons" who will have certain legal rights.

"We're not talking about the right to vote here," said Eberhart Theuer, a lawyer leading the challenge on behalf of the Association Against Animal Factories, a Vienna animal rights group.

"We mean the right to life, the right to not be tortured, the right to freedom under certain conditions."

All well and good. I like chimps.

But those of you who've studied future history by watching the sequels to Planet of the Apes will recognize the potential danger here. Beware! Those little critters may be smarter than we think. This could be the beginning of the Ape Revolution!

Where's Charlton Heston when we need him?

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  1. Can't the Steve Irwin Foundation do something for them? After all, they're already doing so much for the koalas, the wallabees, and the other fauna down under that I can't believe that they'd toss a couple of chimps to the outback to let them fend for themselves. It's an outrage, I tell you! When I think of all of those Foster's swigging, shrimp-scarfing people who can't come up with a better alternative than to allow the over-bearing laws of the country to ...

    What's that?

    It's Austria, not Australia?


    Uh... never mind.

  2. I guess since you are so interested in chimps, you must have known about Cheetah, the chimp in the Tarzan movies. Yep, he's still alive. Not only that, but he paints pictures. No lie. His owners sell them for upwards of 500 dollars. And they are actually pretty good finger paintings. The paint is edible. Cheetah dabbles them on canvas, and every now and then stops and licks his fingers, dips them in some more paint and spreads them on the canvas. When he's finished, well, it's as good as anything I've seen by any human simian I can think of.

  3. Oh no.... One of my favorite blogs has gone to the apes... What next?


    And I vote Tom's reply for an ape award... good one.


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