Chris Lange, FISM News
Americans have long possessed a strong affinity and deep appreciation for the sensational, the absurd, and the extraordinary. The remarkable story of “El Chapo’s” hippopotamuses arguably checks every box.
A group of hippos descending from a herd once owned by Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar (“El Chapo”) has now officially been granted the legal status of being human. The decision, handed down by Federal Magistrate Judge Karen Litkovitz, gives the amphibious (and notoriously ill-tempered) mammals the same legal rights as U.S. citizens – the first known occurrence of its kind.
The case came about when an animal rights group in America, through a judicial loophole, sued the Colombian government over its efforts to cull the growing herd, deemed a threat to the biodiversity and danger to humans, through sterilization and possible euthanization.
The animals, dubbed “cocaine hippos” in satirical reference to El Chapo’s massive drug empire, were left unattended at his private island ranch following a 1993 shootout with authorities that left the world’s most-wanted gangster dead. Having no predators in the area, the herd’s number has grown from around 35 to somewhere between 65 and 80.
The ecstatic animal rights group praised the court’s decision, one they hoped signals a future in which their greatest dreams are realized and the U.S. justice system grants “personhood” status to every creature in the animal kingdom.
While the story is destined to become an amusing, asterisked footnote in the annals of American justice and bound to make its way into popular late night comedy sketches, it points to something rather troubling. In bequeathing legal “peoplehood” to hippos – whose genetic makeup, of course, includes no human DNA whatsoever – the U.S. justice system has granted them more legal protections than unborn children whose DNA, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, makes them actual humans. To sum it up, hippos are now humans, and some humans are…well, somehow not humans.
At a time when the best and brightest in academia, politics, and the glossed glitterati have pledged their undying allegiance to Almighty Science, bowing at the altar of that golden bastion of truth whose name, when invoked, has the power to crush any and all forms of dissension, this sort of random application of basic scientific standards might strike one as not being very…well, “sciency.”
While the Colombian government and the animal rights group continue to haggle it out in court (Colombia, it seems, does not look fondly on American interference concerning its hippopotamuses), we might ponder the evidently acceptable notion that science matters and should be applied only when convenience is not at stake.
We might also consider for a moment a justice system that, by all intents and purposes, seems determined to make a mockery of the very rule of law it was designed to uphold, inviting the ridicule and contempt of able-minded people across the globe. It is also worth a moment’s contemplation to attempt to determine exactly when it was in our collective history that we decided to formally eschew common sense and biblical truth to such a degree that a hippopotamus is now a legally-protected “person” while the unborn – undeniably biologically human – are designated as discardable subhumans by our courts, our leaders, and even our most devout acolytes of science.
Are two sparrows not sold for an assarion? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not fear; you are more valuable than a great number of sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31