As many of you probably already know, Koko, the signing gorilla, recently died.
Actually though, for some time now I have wondered about this particular case. Koko never “spoke” of deep philosophical or scientific matters, it’s true. But she did show a certain depth of emotional intelligence. And perhaps a rudimentary general intelligence too.
I know people often argue, animals have no (or conversely few) rights because they have no sentience or intelligence (along with other human mental capacities, it is argued). But Koko seemed to disprove most of this. Am I wrong?
I also have to tell you, I grew up with animals, mostly dogs and cats. And I have noticed they do have all the emotions humans do. Love, hate, empathy, mercy, and so forth. And no, I am not just anthropomorphizing them. Actually, FWIW, I have always had a very dispassionate view of life in general. Believe me.
So does this open up a whole new aspect of the situation of animal rights? I suppose, sometimes animal welfare does have to take a back seat to human rights, like in the case of curing fatal diseases. But could even this change some day, in light of Koko, and what I just said too?