DEC 10, 2014 12:00 AM PST

Chimps Fail To Gain Human Rights

In a landmark decision, the New York State Supreme court has failed to grant a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a pet chimpanzee. The court ruled that while scientists may consider chimps to be cognitively similar to humans, they are not in fact humans and therefore not entitled to the same protections as Homo sapiens.

The suit was brought in December 2013 by the Nonhuman Rights Organization who sought to have Tommy, a 26 year-old chimpanzee who is being kept as a pet by a Gloversville NY couple, freed from captivity and sent to a sanctuary where he could be properly cared for. The Nonhuman Rights Project said in their petition that:

"Chimpanzees possess such complex cognitive abilities as autonomy, self-determination, self-consciousness, awareness of past, anticipation for the future and the ability to make choices; display complex emotions such as empathy; and construct diverse cultures. The possession of these characteristics is sufficient to establish common law personhood and the consequential fundamental right to bodily liberty."

The Nonhuman Rights project also argued that some non-human animals are indeed treated legally as humans such as pets who have been left large inheritances or made beneficiaries of trust funds. In addition, they stated that courts have long granted some human rights, such as free speech, to corporations.

In it's unanimous decision the court declined to extend habeas corpus to Tommy the chimpanzee and instead said that since New York law prohibits the possession of primates as pets, Tommy already has legal protection.

The Nonhuman Rights Project stated that the grounds on which the writ had been denied were "wrong" and that it plans to take Tommy's plight to the Court of Appeals. They also noted that they would be filing similar suits in two other New York jurisdictions seeking "identical relief on behalf of chimpanzees unlawfully detained."
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUL 20, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Ectotherm thermal physiology puts amphibians at even greater climate risk than previously recognized
JUL 20, 2020
Ectotherm thermal physiology puts amphibians at even greater climate risk than previously recognized
Things aren’t looking good for amphibians. According to new research published in Global Change Biology from Simon ...
AUG 20, 2020
Plants & Animals
Flamboyant Cuttlefish Are Usually Understated
AUG 20, 2020
Flamboyant Cuttlefish Are Usually Understated
Cuttlefish are well known for their incredible camouflaging abilities; they can rapidly change the color and texture of ...
SEP 01, 2020
Plants & Animals
Warsaw Zoo Testing CBD to Manage Elephants' Stress
SEP 01, 2020
Warsaw Zoo Testing CBD to Manage Elephants' Stress
Humans use cannabidiol (CBD) for its array of health benefits, and household pets even benefit from CBD treatments in sp ...
OCT 20, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Legal Cannabis Does Not Increase THC Overdose in Dogs
OCT 20, 2020
Legal Cannabis Does Not Increase THC Overdose in Dogs
Researchers have found that whether or not cannabis is legal does not affect the rate at which dogs are hospitalized for ...
OCT 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Create Antibiotic from Komodo Dragon Blood
OCT 29, 2020
Scientists Create Antibiotic from Komodo Dragon Blood
Researchers from George Mason University in Washington DC have created a synthetic molecule from Komodo Dragon blood tha ...
NOV 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Evidence of Supernovae Found in Ancient Tree Rings
NOV 14, 2020
Evidence of Supernovae Found in Ancient Tree Rings
Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have found that the rings in Earth's ancient trees may hold evid ...
Loading Comments...