NY Lawsuit Seeks 'Legal Personhood' of Chimpanzeesthe daily dish
A lawsuit seeking the "legal personhood" of chimpanzees was filed this week in New York by a U.S. animal rights group, according to Reuters.
The petitioner, non-profit Nonhuman Rights Project, wants the New York state court to declare that a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy is "a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned." Currently, Tommy is living in captivity in what the animal rights group describes as a "small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed" in central New York.
The lawsuit is one of three being filed this week by the Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of four chimpanzees across the state. New York was selected as the state to begin the lawsuits due to its flexibility when presented with requests for habeas corpus, a centuries-old English law that challenges unlawful detention.
"These are the first cases in an open-ended, strategic litigation campaign," Steven Wise, the president of Nonhuman Rights Project, told Reuters.
According to David Favre, a professor at Michigan State University College of Law and an expert on animal law, Tommy's case is the first instance of a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of an animal.
"The focus here is whether a chimpanzee is a 'person' that as access to these laws," Favre told Reuters.
BONOBOS' FREE LOVE AND OTHER INTERESTING ANIMAL MATING PRACTICES: