Are chimps persons? Do plants have human dignity? Soon, they might!

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May 26, 2008
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Are chimps persons? Do plants have human dignity? Soon, they might!

A couple of amazing bioethics stories caught my attention this Memorial Day weekend — a holiday in which we celebrate and honor the sacrifice of incredibly brave men and women who fought across Europe and the Pacific for our freedom and liberty. 
Now there are those fighting for freedom and liberty for animals and even plants. Count this blog in the “you-won’t-believe-this” category.

The first was an article announcing that “European Court to Decide if Chimp is a ‘Person.’”
Animal-rights activists from Austria are hoping to have a 26-year-old chimpanzee legally declared a person. Why? So, they say, it can be adopted.
Unbelievably, the European Court of Human Rights has agreed to monkey around with this not-so-gray-area of bioethics to hear this case.
Currently, Austrian law limits guardianship to humans. In my opinion, it should stay that way.
Wesley Smith, a thoughtful bioethicist points out, “(If) it happens … it will be a moral earthquake that will harm humankind profoundly.”
But this first story paled in comparison to the second article, “Plant Activists Leave Out Human Beings.”
According to columnist Laura Echevarria, a number of years ago the Swiss added an amendment to their constitution that included vague language on the dignity of animals, plants and other organisms.
This was confusing and unclear so a bioethics panel was asked to investigate and make recommendations. The panel’s recently released report is called, and I’m not making this up, “The Dignity of Living Beings with Regard to Plants.”
According to this report, the random and meaningless destruction of plants is a violation of the plant’s “dignity.”
In other words, according to Echevarria, “If you willfully destroy plants for no reason at all except for the fun of it, that action violates the plant’s “dignity” — though the panel couldn’t exactly agree on why.”
“I have no problem conserving our resources, “Echevarria says. “I think it’s a wise investment and an obligation we have as human beings to keep our world as healthy as possible for future generations. But rampant, intrusive, misanthropic environmentalism that values plant and animal life above human beings should shame us.”
While many pro-lifers are fighting for the very lives — the right to life of unborn children — not to mention those who are severely brain damaged, those who are old and infirm, and those who are severely mentally and/or physically handicapped, others are fighting for the “dignity” of weeds and grasses.
I mean, “while human beings in developing nations are starving for lack of food and resources — environmental elitists are arguing over the dignity of plants.”
As my kids used to say, “Carpe Duh!”
Increasing numbers of extremists are arguing that “all animals (including humans) are equal” and “all plants have dignity,” while untold numbers of unborn humans are murdered each day.
However, to support their delusions, these activists have to totally discount and overlook one tiny little fact.
Only one in the entire creation carries the image of the Creator, Himself. Maybe we should consider the value and dignity of those little ones.
To quote the now-famous star of the Dr. Seuss movie and book (Horton Hears a Who), “A person is a person, no matter how small.”
Even an elephant, with its amazingly small brain, understands an animal and a plant, as wonderful as they can be, is not a person — no matter how large or how small.

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