In class, we have been reading a book, named Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel, with another class via Skype in Snow Lake, Manitoba. In case you didn’t know, our class is in Wingham, Ontario, so that’s a pretty big distance! The book is about a boy named Ben whose scientist father has “adopted” a chimp for a research project. Ben and “Zan”, the chimp, become good friends, but as the story progresses, Ben starts to get confused about the horrors of animal testing. He wonders if what they are doing is the right thing. About half way through the book, we were given a choice of questions to answer based on what we believe, and this is the one I chose:
Peter describes Zan’s situation – being taking from the wild and brought up as a human – as a “kind of slavery” (p. 161). What does he mean by this? Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
Here is my answer.
Peter says that Zan’s being brought up as a human is a “kind of slavery”. I agree with his quote. Zan is forced to be strapped into a chair and to be taught sign language against his will. For example, this is slavery and holding him back because if they left him in the wild, he would roam around with his chimp family and friends. He would have nothing to hold him back or strap him down. Zan is made to follow instructions, and has privileges taken away if he doesn’t do what he’s asked or if he throws objects or has tantrums. Zan is a chimp, and he doesn’t have the same wiring as humans. He was never meant to be taken out of his natural habitat and forced into an foreign world. Punishing him for acting the way he was meant to is not right. Zan is a chimp, not a human. (Meant to do chimp things, not human things). Peter totally nailed this one, this is slavery! I think that people need to realize that chimps were never meant to be able to communicate like humans, and trying to teach them will only lead to disaster. Do you think that being taken out of your natural habitat and being forced to learn foreign signals is fair, to human or animal?
Do you agree or disagree with this test also? Does your opinion change just because they are not being injected or hurt?