To the editor: My deep and sincere thanks for publishing the recent editorial on the use of chimps in biomedical research. ("SUNY chimp case questions animals' right to freedom," editorial, May 4)
Our collective understanding of nonhuman intelligence and emotion is changing rapidly, and it is increasingly at odds with the practice of using animals for research, clothing, food and more. Although most vertebrate animals do not understand freedom as a concept or principle, they value freedom deeply.
I can think of no bird or mammal that would willingly choose to spend its entire life in a cage, isolated from all members of its species, denied the opportunity for friendship and sexual pairing. Would any human willingly choose a life in solitary confinement in exchange for room and board in an underground cell?
Again, my thanks for bringing attention to this recent court case and the issue of nonhuman freedom.
Jonathan Hussain, Grass Valley, Calif.
To the editor: If corporations, which have no life, no consciousness and no empathy for their fellow corporations, can be considered persons by the U.S. Supreme Court, then certainly chimps — which live, breathe, are capable of making and using tools, live in families, care for their young and groom their neighbors — must be considered persons.
Worley Thorne, Sherman Oaks