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Chimps With Weapons

Written by PETA | March 9, 2007

Bo, one of the spear-wielding chimps on a Senegal reservation

No, I’m not talking about an NRA convention—I’m referring to this fascinating article that was in The Washington Post the other day about these chimpanzees who have been discovered in the West African savannah fashioning spears that they use to hunt bush babies. It’s been sitting in my Inbox for a few days now, because it took me a while to work out exactly how I felt about it. On the one hand, this is yet more incontrovertible proof that animals are intelligent, that they are capable of making plans and carrying them out, and that (this is the important point here) it is therefore imperative that we apply to them the same ethical considerations that we naturally apply to people based on humans’ demonstrated ability to consciously experience things and, consequently, to suffer. Which means, like, not eating or wearing them, or—since we’re talking about monkeys here—not stuffing them in tubes and pumping them full of drugs until they die.

Of course, the part of the story that makes me a little uncomfortable is the fact that this particular demonstration of self-awareness is a violent one, and one that itself causes suffering. But, despite the added twist of the spears, my response to this is the same as my response to anyone who says, “Why would you care about killing animals yourself when they kill each other in the wild?” (You’d be surprised how often that comes up). The mixed blessing of having a highly developed sense of ethics like humans have (for the most part) is that you still have to act morally towards individuals with a less highly developed sense of ethics—which means babies, people with low IQ’s, and, yes, chimps with spears. It’s only really a dog-eat-dog world if you’re a dog, which is one of the many reasons I don’t eat dogs, for instance … or hunt bush babies.

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  • Gerald Sproehlich says:

    I’m a bit shocked that even a member of PETA would say something like this “this is yet more incontrovertible proof that animals are intelligent”. Humans are absolutely animals even though we have a mechanized society… even before i was a vegetarianvegan i’ve Always hated speciesism.

  • veganlove says:

    you’ll find chimpanzees are sometimes very violent if you study the species. and you’ll then understand why humans are so violent and kill each other as well as animals. still the diet of the chimpanzee is “frugivore” fruit eater even though they may seldom kill for social territorial or competitive reasons. the obvious call here is that humans have the ABILITY to reject all forms of violence whilst a chimpanzee does not. Our highest part of who and what we are demands that we use our utmost potential to embrace love and compassion and to reject cruelty and violence toward all other beings. chimps don’t have this wonderful opportunity to better themselves…but WE DO. there is absolutely no need for humans to kill eat use or abuse any living being. we too are frugivores like our genetic cousin the chimpanzee and bonobo pan troglodyte so near to human that scientists are considering grouping us together under the same classification whom shares 98 of the same DNA we do. Yes we humans are 98 identical to chimpanzees and bonobos yet it is only homo sapien who has this rare opportunity to live a live of love and compassion the vegan way of life.

  • Jaclyn says:

    These monkeys live in the wild and this is how they survive by eating other animals. We however have options. Wait we have more than that we have microwaves ovens pots and pans veggie burgers… get it options. We have other methods to survival.

  • Tracy says:

    Some animals kill other animals for food to survive but when we kill animals in experiments that is the ultimate disrespect of life. Animals used in experiments suffer greatly with manmade substances that torture. It is not only inaccurate but unnecessary. Some people eat meat but do they need to eat meat? There needs to be more awareness out there about the intelligence of the other animals we share this earth with because perhaps we just may not be the smartest species. All living animals deserve respect and to live with dignity.

  • animal pride says:

    and this is maybe just the beginning humanity deserves a ‘planet of the apes’

  • jeanne rochere says:

    so as we can see here weaponusing monkeys we have to be sure that also animals have the right to make their way in the evolution process without being continuously suffocated and crushed by the humans. we still have not arrived at the end of the line … there shall many surprises be waiting just open your eyes and your hearts!

  • Giovanni Fortunato says:

    Chimps are very smart animals indeed. So they can also learn to understand and to talk with their hands exactly like deaf people. There is a movie about that called “Project X” starring Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt. It tells the story of a laboratory abusing these intelligent animals for military experiments and poisoning with radio activity. Of course no animal was harmed for the film. they are really cute and amazing but i agree fully with PETA not to use anymore living apes in movies so in future they could be made virtually as did already Peter Jackson for his ‘King Kong’!

  • Elizabeth Robbins says:

    It’s interesting to note that it is only the females who fashion these spears and hunt. Does this mean that perhaps the females are smarter and more cunning or perhaps this is the only way the females would survive?