Justice

Justice, for many people, refers to fairness. But while justice is important to almost everyone, it means different things to different groups.

For instance, social justice is the notion that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social opportunities irrespective of race, gender, or religion. Distributive justice refers to the equitable allocation of assets in society. Environmental justice is the fair treatment of all people with regard to environmental burdens and benefits.

Restorative or corrective justice seeks to make whole those who have suffered unfairly. Retributive justice seeks to punish wrongdoers objectively and proportionately. And procedural justice refers to implementing legal decisions in accordance with fair and unbiased processes.

On November 6, 1960, Jane Goodall observed two chimpanzees stripping the leaves off of twigs, inserting them into termite mounds, and eating the termites they extracted.1 In reply to Goodall’s telegram carrying this news, Louis Leakey responded: “Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans.” By stating that one of our choices is “accepting chimpanzees as humans,” rather than simply “redefining chimpanzees”(without reference to humans), Leakey suggests that dramatic consequences could flow from finding similarities between chimpanzees and humans. If chimpanzees are accepted as humans and if justice requires that like entities be treated alike, justice would require legal protection of chimpanzees from exploitation to which chimpanzees—but not humans—are subject.

In the Australian Bush, in Bonnie’s world, it is the Owl who presides over justice. A kangaroo is leaving after having had her matter dealt with. The Owl agreed that legislation that protects kangaroos, wallabies and other macropods is urgently required.

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