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A Judenrein West

When Orangutans Get Lawyers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Monkeys are not people. Trees are not children. And human beings are not causing the earth to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.

“It’s probably the equivalent of watching your family getting shot before a firing squad,” environmental extremist Tom Whitaker described his emotional response to logging for National Geographic in July of 2000.


Fast forward to December of 2014: a 29-year-old orangutan named “Sandra” was represented by a lawyer named Andres Gil Dominguez who helped the ape win human rights in an Argentine court of law. Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is succumbing to animal rights activists by threatening to put 400 horse carriage drivers and stable hands out of business by 2016.

By nature, you have more inalienable rights than your dog or houseplant. Certain political groups and crony capitalists are trying to reverse the natural order by forcing humans to be subservient to flora and fauna. They don’t realize that by disrupting the natural pecking order they will harm plants and animals.

Certainly, animal abuse and wanton destruction of wildlife is wrong. But it is wrong for lawyers to profit from classifying pets, zoo animals and houseplants as prisoners with human rights. It is also immoral for scientists to pretend that (actual) humans are vermin on a mission to destroy the earth. There is no scientific evidence that humans are responsible for harmful global warming and the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reports that warming is a non-issue: “Sea ice in Antarctica has remained at satellite-era record high daily levels for most of 2014.”

Back to Sandra. She did not ask Mr. Dominguez to be her lawyer. Indeed, there are no known cases of any animal or plant asking for a lawyer. Nonetheless, a corrupt judge ruled that Sandra has the natural right to “freedom” and “avoiding suffering from being in captivity” in the same sense as humans.


This legal ruling sets a very dangerous global precedent. If the U.S. follows Argentina’s lead, most pets could be classified as abused captives. Anyone with a pet larger than a finger monkey could be incarcerated for denying their pet the autonomy of animals who roam free. Gardeners who keep house plants could be found guilty of “child abuse” for subjecting potted ivy to periodic trimming instead of letting the ivy creep freely across the home’s interior and exterior walls.

Panther attacks are at a historic high in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2014 alone, over 50 pets and livestock animals—ranging from a swan and a Shetland pony to cats and calves—were killed by endangered Florida panthers. The large cats are certainly “free.” Yet, their freedom is to the detriment of other animals.

Ask yourself: at what point is an animal “suffering” in captivity? For example, Sandra is being moved from the Buenos Aires zoo to a sanctuary. But who is to say that she shouldn’t be moved into the wild where she can enjoy ultimate freedom? If Sandra is “suffering,” then all zoo animals must be suffering and we should close all zoos. But the truth is that zoos conserve animals from painful deaths caused by starvation, disease and predators—while educating the public.

Even if you describe yourself as an “animal person,” you would never call yourself an “animal animal” because you innately know that there’s a crucial difference between animals and people. As the philosopher Aristotle notes, only humans can be held accountable for their decisions—such as murder, rape and theft—because only humans have reason and the ability to act according to intangible principles. Animals act on instinct and can neither be rewarded nor punished (in a court of law) for acting on their instincts to mate, eat, or defend territory. If a bear mauls you to death, the bear will not go to prison.


“It’s like saving your child,” whimpered one environmental squatter to National Geographic who advocates “roosting” or living in trees to deter logging. Other activists caress the bark of newly logged trees in makeshift funeral ceremonies. Tree-huggers forget that responsible logging helps prevent forest fires—and the resulting devastation of woodpeckers, toads and saplings.

Never sacrifice your natural human rights of free speech and private property to animals and plants. Doing so is harmful to domesticated animals that will be gobbled up by panthers; plants that will be consumed by forest fires; and humans whose livelihoods will be decimated by politicians.

Lovable and majestic as a monkey and an evergreen may be—they’re not human—they are a ball of fur and a fir tree.

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