In the first case of its kind, a New York appeals court rejected on Thursday an animal rights advocate’s bid to extend “legal personhood” to chimpanzees, saying the primates are incapable of bearing the responsibilities that come with having legal rights.
A five-judge panel of the Albany court said attorney Steven Wise had shown that Tommy, a 26-year-old chimp who lives alone in a shed in upstate New York, was an autonomous creature, but that it was not possible for him to understand the social contract that binds humans together.
“Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions,” Presiding Justice Karen Peters wrote.
Wise said that he would ask the Court of Appeals, New York state’s top court, to hear the case.
“This is just the first appellate decision in a long-term strategic campaign” to win rights for chimps and other intelligent animals, he said.
Wise, representing The Nonhuman Rights Project, which he helped found in 2007, was seeking a ruling that Tommy had been unlawfully imprisoned by his owner, Patrick Lavery. Wise argued that the chimp should be released to a sanctuary in Florida.
According to Wise and other experts, it is the first case anywhere in the world in which an appeals court has been asked to extend human rights to animals.
Lavery said that he agreed with the judges, adding that Tammy received state-of-the-art care and was on a waiting list to be taken in by a sanctuary.
“It will be my decision where he goes and not someone else’s,” he said.
Peters wrote for the court that while chimps could not be granted legal rights, Wise could lobby the state legislature to create new protections for chimps and other intelligent animals.
The decision, which upheld a 2013 ruling by a state judge, came after Wise on Tuesday urged a separate court in Rochester to order the release of a deaf chimp named Kiko from a cement cage at his owner’s home in Niagara Falls.
Wise has also filed a third case on behalf of two chimps that live at a state university on Long Island.
The case is Nonhuman Rights Project v. Lavery, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, No. 518336.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner; editing by Ted Botha, G Crosse and Dan Grebler)
‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff
Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?
Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.
The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."
There's little mystery about how the night will go down.
Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.
Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’
After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.
"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."
Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.
Trump accuses newspaper of ‘virtual act of treason’ for reporting on a story that made him look awful
President Donald Trump attacked an American newspaper for reporting a story that made him look bad.
"Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. (sic) This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country ... also, not true," the commander-in-chief tweeted on Saturday evening.
"Anything goes with our corrupt news media today," Trump argued.
"They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence," he continued.