Monday, May 26, 2008

Soon only animals will have human rights

Animal rights activists have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights:

His name is Matthew [image at right], he is 26 years old, and his supporters hope to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

But he won't be able to give evidence on his own behalf - since he is a chimpanzee. Animal rights activists led by British teacher Paula Stibbe are fighting to have Matthew legally declared a 'person' so she can be appointed as his guardian if the bankrupt animal sanctuary where he lives in Vienna is forced to close.

An anonymous businessman has offered a substantial amount to cover his care, but under Austrian law only humans are entitled to have guardians.

The country's supreme court has upheld a lower court ruling which rejected the activists' request to have a trustee appointed for Matthew.

So now 36-year-old Miss Stibbe and the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The pretense for this case appears to be a fraud: an animal does not need a "guardian" in order to be taken care of. If the "anonymous businessman" with too much money were genuinely concerned about Matthew, the chimp, he could buy Matthew from the animal sanctuary where Matthew currently resides. That would be 100% effective and also much less expensive than paying lawyers to pursue this series of court cases.

Contrast this with the continuing attempts in Europe to limit human rights for humans. There is some good news on this front, at least for those who can afford the legal expenses. Douglas Farah writes:

Today there was good news on freedom of speech front, as the Wall Street Journal won a complete victory in a libel case involving terror finance issues. The lead reporter, the venerable Glenn Simpson, is now 4-0 since 9/11 in these types of cases.

While the victory is a testament to his tenacity and care, it is also a testament to the courage of the WSJ in willing to fight and win these cases. Most are lost simply because the will to fight has gone out of so much of the media, who would often rather settle than protect
the truth.

There were similar legal attacks on Channel 4 (UK) for airing the documentary "Undercover Mosque." As Alistair Palmer of the (UK) Telegraph writes of this documentary and the reaction by the West Midlands police:
The programme recorded preachers at the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham making remarks that were not only bigoted and full of hate but also bordered on incitement to murder. Abu Usamah, one of the main preachers, was shown saying: “Osama Bin Laden, he’s better than a thousand Tony Blairs, because he’s a Muslim”; “Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete”; and advocating that homosexuals should be “thrown off” mountains. [Assistant Chief Constable of West Midlands Police] Mr. Patani’s reaction? To refer the programme makers to the Crown Prosecution Service for inciting racial hatred.

He also referred the programme to Ofcom, the TV regulator, sending out a press release as he did so. Mr Patani’s press release claimed that “those featured in the programme had been misrepresented” and that it had “undermined community cohesion”. Those claims were blatantly false, as the Ofcom investigation itself made crystal clear.

To get Mr. Patani to stop his accusations, Channel 4 had to sue the police for libel, winning a £100,000 settlement. Channel 4 had the privilege of defending itself with the argument the documentary was truthful. By contrast, for a Canadian accused under 'hate speech' laws, truth is not a defense.

RELATED: See Mark Steyn defend himself against similar charges in an Alberta (Canada) Human Rights Commission hearing here.

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