The Herald reports:
A chimpanzee is not entitled to the rights of a human and does not have to be freed by its owner, a New York appeals court ruled.
The three-judge Appellate Division panel was unanimous in denying “legal personhood” to Tommy, who lives alone in a cage in upstate New York’s Fulton County.
A trial level court had previously denied the Nonhuman Rights Project’s effort to have Tommy released. The group’s lawyer, Steven Wise, told the appeals court in October that the chimp’s living conditions are akin to a person in unlawful solitary confinement.
Wise argued that animals with human qualities, such as chimps, deserve basic rights, including freedom from imprisonment. He has also sought the release of three other chimps in New York and said he plans similar cases in other states.
But the mid-level appeals court said there is no precedent for treating animals as persons and no legal basis.
“So far as legal theory is concerned, a person is any being whom the law regards as capable of rights and duties,” the judges wrote. Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions.”
We may look back one day and point to this day as how Planet of the Apes started 🙂