Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sense and Sensibility

Where do you draw the line?
As reported by our good friend Casey over at monkeydaynews, a monumental case in the movements for apes' rights is currently being contested over in Austria.
The groundbreaking case revolves around a chimpanzee named Hiasl, who was abducted from his West African home by poachers when he was just a year old, and eventually ended up in an animal sanctuary. Eventually, the ape received a $5,000 donation to his cause, presumably to get him back on his feet, and now the question becomes, "Can an ape be viewed as a person in the eyes of the law?"
Should Hiasl be entitles to all the same rights, priveledges, and freedoms as human beings? Should he be allowed to have a legal guardian to look after the $5,000 he received?
Now, we're not sure if Hiasl has taken any finance classes or not, but we'd be willing to bet that if he was in charge of his money, he'd spend it all on bananas and candy necklaces.
If the courts rule that Hiasl is not a person in the eyes of the law, then what happens next? Do they let this monkey out on the streets, turn him loose with 5,000 bucks in a special chimpanzee backpack? Or does he remain in some zoo or lockup, sleeping on a pile of money every night?
In the humble opinion of the management of this website, we hope that this chimp wins this legal battle, and we hope he is awarded his personal guardian. Not only will this help ensure that he lives a long and peaceful life, but this could have massive implications in future legal proceedings involving all of the great apes and new world monkeys.

Where do you draw the line?

We here at HPO are big fans of wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. We use it almost every day, and we find it to be user-friendly, accurate, and up-to-date. For those of you who don't know, wikipedia is a non-profit organization made up of scholars, professors, and other philanthropists who dedicate their precious time and knowledge to creating a free encyclopedia that anyone can use. Not only can anyone use it, but anyone can edit the encyclopedia articles, too, which creates the potential for rapid growth and a deep basin of highly specialized knowledge.

We rate the whole project as "strong to very strong".

But, the problem with a 'free encyclopedia that anyone can edit' is that sometimes, you get pranksters and vandals that mess with certain articles.

As reported by our friends over at TSG, a professional golfer named Fuzzy Zoellers is suing because his wikipedia article was filled with untrue things about him, including allegations that he is a racist, a wife-beater, a bigot, a child-beater, and accuses him of once being "in the process of polishing off a fifth of Jack (Daniels) after popping a handful of vicodin pills."

A mirror of the entire page can be found at

OK, we agree: Not only is this below-the-belt, it's downright insane. We wouldn't want people writing this kind of stuff about us.

But, should Fuzzy be able to sue some people for tens of thousands of dollars because of it? Seems a little extreme. But, then again, some people take themselves to seriously.

Lighten up, people. What happened to your sense of humor?


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