The debate over what bigfoot could possibly be....whether hominid or hominin, has been going on, with gusto, for decades. Even today, researchers are split right down the middle, with roughly half choosing upright ape, and half choosing the option of bigfoot being a very close relative of Humans. Both sides have impressive and convincing reasons why they feel they are right, but until either a specimen body (alive or dead) is openly studied by mainstream science, or we have copious verifiable genetic samples to test, it's all just conjecture.
One of the offshoots of opinion regarding bigfoot is whether we should or should not kill one, if given the chance. Some people (myself included) feel that as sad an occasion as it might be, we need a body. If all we have are genetic samples, there will always be questions about where the samples came from. However, if we have a body, it will be a slam dunk, end of the convo situation. I'm in favor of anything that's more of an absolute than the alternative.
Ok, in my opinion, the split between kill or no kill is roughly equal to the split between the Human or Ape groups. Tho they are not synonymous, it's quite ironic that they are all roughly 50/50. This is a perfect example of how divided, on pretty much every aspect of bigfootdom, that believers and researchers are.
Some researchers feel that regardless of whether sasquatch is a very close relative of homo sapiens, or a distantly related type of ape, it's just outright morally wrong to support killing or capturing one just for the purpose of proving they exist AND to classify it's genus for absolute certain. I've read their opinions and considered their position, but I'm still convinced, as are a lot of researchers out there, that until we have a body to study, the debate will never be laid to rest. We feel it is SO important to have definite verifiable concrete data on bigfoot, that it's worth possibly killing a close relative to Humans to get it.
Now, having said all that, where would a very close relative to Humans stand as far as rights? I believe it all starts with the creature's right to live.
A couple years ago I happened upon a debate on an online blog regarding whether a bigfoot killer could possibly be charged with murder if it was later determined that the creature was indeed a very close relative to Homo Sapien.
People were adamant, on both sides of the topic, that the opposing side was silly for holding their opinion. Some folks are so conspiracy theory oriented that they KNOW for a fact that anyone who causes bigfoot to be known and verified by mainstream science will be punished by the government and put in prison for life for murder. They feel the government is so dedicated to keeping the fact that bigfoot exists in the realm of myth, that they will ruin the person who upsets the cherry cart. While I tend to agree that the usa government likely knows bigfoot exists and will make life miserable for anyone not playing along with their demands to keep info on their existence quiet (like Bob Garrett), I'm not sure this revenge would extend to the point where they'd finagle someone into a life sentence in prison.
Then on the other side were the people (including an attorney) who have researched it and have determined that unless bigfoot is a Homo Sapien, in other words a genuine full blooded Human Being, current homicide laws won't apply. In addition, we are lucky to live in a nation where you can't retroactively enforce a new law on people who committed the now illegal act in the past. No doubt, if it becomes known for absolute fact that sasquatch is a verified close relative of Humans and a card carrying member of one of the Homo series of species, laws will be enacted asap to protect them. While the shooter may face some kind of penalty for violating wildlife laws, he won't suffer a murder charge. Oddly enough, this is what most pro kill supporters want....laws protecting the species, and no laws jeopardizing the freedom of the guy who killed that one.
Some folks are even iffy on whether wildlife related charges can be levied, since the bigfoot was not even a recognized species when it was killed. Current laws protecting them (and yes there are several places in the usa where its illegal to harm or harass a bigfoot) may become moot since it's questionable whether or not a law protecting a mythical creature can be enforced. Who knows, but it will definitely be interesting to see how it all goes down, as it inevitably will at some point.
Lastly, all other types of rights for close relatives are unknown. If memory serves me, it's been around 25,000 to 50,000 yrs since Homo Sapiens have shared the planet with a close relative, maybe even less. Regardless, they all died out before we invented written communication, so other than some anecdotal evidence gleaned from a few ancient and questionable texts regarding interactions with close relatives....whether giants or hobbits, we dont know how the issue was handled. Therefore there isn't a huge precedent in place for how such a species should be treated.
Though it all depends upon how like us bigfoot is, and whether the species can communicate in any meaningful way with Humans, I suspect that laws will be enacted world wide that set aside vast tracts of land for them to thrive in peace, and much like the laws in Brazil banning outsiders from interfering with their indigenous jungle tribes, people will be banned from bothering them or encroaching on their territory. The trick will be how to get bigfoot to respect those boundaries.
But wait...hasn't bigfoot been sighted in nearly every state but Hawaii? That's what the sighting statistics say. If that's the case, how can we effectively deal with this subject in a way that protects both Humans and Sasquatch on a long term basis? I have no idea, I haven't thought that far ahead. What comes next after giving them the right to live is a subject for another day. As for now, that will have to do.