Because a macaque took a picture of itself with a photographer’s camera, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a copyright lawsuit today on behalf of the monkey. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/offbeat/monkey-who-took-grinning-selfie-should-own-copyright-us-lawsuit/ar-AAeDuuo?ocid=ansmsnnews11
There is a mountain of theology tucked under this lawsuit. The Bible describes humans as the only creatures made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). This is the basis of human rights (Genesis 9:6).
PETA lives in a different universe: People are another species of animal—nothing more, nothing less. As PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has said, “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” http://www.peta.org/about-peta/why-peta/why-animal-rights/
Therefore, if people have rights of personhood, great apes should have the same rights. In fact, great apes can deserve even more rights than people. As PETA’s “high priest,” Princeton ethicist Peter Singer said, “Killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person.” http://www.princeton.edu/~psinger/faq.html
Here are a few milestones in PETA’s quest:
In 2007, Majorca and related Spanish islands granted legal personhood rights to great apes. http://web.archive.org/web/20100203225450/http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_rose/20070802.html
In 2014, Argentina granted basic human rights to an orangutan. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/12/23/world/americas/feat-orangutan-rights-ruling/
On April 20 this year, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe granted a writ of habeas corpus to two chimpanzees. http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/2015/04/20/judge-recognizes-two-chimpanzees-as-legal-persons-grants-them-writ-of-habeas-corpus/
The next day, April 21, the words “writ of habeas corpus” were removed from the order. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/nyregion/judge-orders-hearing-for-2-chimps-said-to-be-unlawfully-detained.html
Today’s lawsuit regarding the monkey selfies is the surprising next step. When will PETA file suit for personhood rights for rats?