The NRP has said that it will launch another similar application today in Niagara Falls and a third on Thursday in Long Island.
Lord Mansfield says at one point in his decision “Compassion will not, on the one hand, nor inconvenience on the other, be to decide ; but the law . . . ” But, of course, compassion is the motivating force for the application and would, I should think, be the generator of any decision favourable to the NRP and the chimpanzees. And while inconvenience might be a stumbling block — think of the use of chimpanzees in research — I should have thought that “the law” would in fact be the major difficulty, given pretty much everything about it, from its origins in a democratic process (of sorts) to its ineluctably verbal nature at every turn, features that make it inapt to the participation of non-verbal creatures. This misalignment, if you will, means that either chimpanzees (and gorillas, dolphins, whales — other creatures the NRP has in its sights) will need human agents, with all the dangers of projection of human needs and desires on to their nonhuman “clients”, or that law itself would have to change into something . . . other, something capable of bridging species, a rather daunting proposition.