Monday, May 06, 2002

New Frontiers in Journalistic Ethics

Peter Singer and Ingrid Newkirk have reason to celebrate - the National Zoo here in D.C. has set a new precedent in animal rights. When Washington Post reporter D'Vera Cohn asked for veterinary records pertaining to a recently deceased giraffe named Ryma, zoo officials declined. Keepers at the zoo, operated by the Smithsonian Institution, are asserting that their animals have privacy rights similar to those extended to human medical patients. This is a little surprising since zoo animals are considered property, and a privacy relationship between an institution and it's moveable property has generally gone unrecognized by U.S. courts. The Smithsonian zookeepers are standing by their rationale, however. Could the animals' handlers one day begin objecting to captive breeding programs that require artificial insemination on the basis of their rights against unlawful search and seizure?

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