Rights group sues to make primate a legal person
2013 12 03
By Ashley Collman | MailOnline
Tommy the chimpanzee may soon become a human, at least in the eyes of the law.
A rights group sued Tommy’s owners today, in an attempt to free the 26-year-old primate so that he can live at a sanctuary.
The lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project, is petitioning a New York court to grant Tommy ’legal personhood’ based on scientific evidence that chimpanzees have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
The group will also bring up precedents which granted freedom to slaves before they were emancipated and considered real people.
’Not long ago, people generally agreed that human slaves could not be legal persons, but were simple the property of their owners,’ the non-profit’s president Steven Wise told USA Today. ’We will assert, based on clear scientific evidence, that it’s time to take the next step and recognize that these non-human animals cannot continue to be exploited as the property of their human owners.’
The lawsuit also argues that New York state ’does not limit legal personhood to homo sapiens’. The group plans on bringing up two similar lawsuits to free three other New York state chimps.
Wise and his group say that Tommy is being held against his will in a ’small, dank, cement cage’ at his owner’s reindeer farm in Gloversville, New York and if given the choice, this is not how he would chose to live.
But his owners say that’s just not the case.
Tommy is one of 11 chimps that Patrick Lavery and his wife Diane have taken in from abusive or neglectful homes. They keep the chimps at their farm temporarily so that they can find a suitable sanctuary.
Read the full article at: dailymail.co.uk
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