July 1, 2008

The strange, sad saga of Moe

It wouldn't happen in Spain. That's the hope, anyway. As William Saletan writes in Slate:
Under a resolution headed for passage in the Spanish parliament, respecting the personal rights of "our non-human brothers" won't just be a good idea. It'll be the law.
Such niceties are too late for Moe. "Celebrity chimp missing in San Bernardino Mountains" is only the latest headline in Moe's odd life. Back home in Tanzania, the story goes, a poacher killed the little chimp's mother, and Moe was adopted by a childless American couple who raised him like a son. When he proved unmanageable as an adult the chimp was moved to a succession of wildlife "sanctuaries," and on Friday he escaped from his bare, chain-link enclosure and disappeared into the hills. [A claim that the latest "sanctuary" is owned by Sid Yost, who in 2006 was barred from working with great apes following charges of abuse, has been denied by Yost.]

The California Department of Fish and Game has joined the hunt, angry that they learned of Moe's escape via the news. Moe's parents have held a tearful news conference. Poor Moe — rattlesnakes are thick on the ground in that area, and the local bears and mountain lions and coyotes are heat-stressed and hungry. "Rescue" means a tranquilizer dart and another chain-link prison.

Somewhere, I suspect Jane Goodall is shaking her head in sorrow. Our non-human brother deserved better than this.

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