The Recognition of Hominids as Non-Human Persons.

  • by: Jesse Lamb
  • recipient: The United States Federal Government

In May 2016 a Silverback Gorilla named Harambe was killed in the Cincinnati Zoo by a response team who reacted to a situation when a young boy climbed into his enclosure. This event was tragic, not only because of the extreme negligence of the human individuals involved, but because it is indicative of our society’s reprehensible disposition toward other members of our biological family. More specifically, our utter lack of respect for the value of their lives. This petition is intended to seek protection for all hominids as non-human people, and as such, extend the same rights to life that humans enjoy. Furthermore, it seeks to ban the use of hominids in animal testing and any other form of treatment that could cause suffering, injury, death, or other type of harm that a human being would not be subjected to against their will.
    It is a known fact that the other members of the human evolutionary family such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans possess a level of sentience and consciousness on par with that of human beings. Scientific literature is replete with findings that consistently show that hominids’ capabilities for logic, empathy, sympathy, language acquisition, and higher order thinking is on a level similar to that of human children. In many cases, non-human members of the hominid family have been shown to possess the intellectual capacity of humans as old as 4 years of age.  As such, we should see any behavior carried out regarding these mammals as no different from an action carried out against a human being.
   This idea is not new or radical; several countries including Spain, New Zealand, Argentina, Sweden, and numerous others have all instituted similar protections for hominids for these very reasons. Furthermore, numerous well known biologists and scholars, including Jane Goodall, Richard Dawkins, and Peter Singer, have been vocal advocates in support of recognizing the personhood of hominids based on many of the criteria outlined above. It is with sincere hope that we ask for your signatures. Together perhaps we can make the US government take notice and extend protection from unjust harm to all great apes, and prevent future recurrences of the senseless death, suffering, and maltreatment of our fellow evolutionary family members.

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