Rights Group is Seeking Legal Person Status for Captive Chimpanzee

Congratulations to Steven Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project. This week they launched writs of habeas corpus on behalf of four chimpanzees in New York State, claiming that their captivity (in private homes, wildlife parks and university research labs) is a violation of the right not to be confined without cause. The NRP team have spent 6 years devising a strategy for shifting animals from the category of property to persons. And they believe that the common law, as traditionally interpreted in New York State, and as applied to chimpanzees, provides the best chance for doing so. Read more here.

4 thoughts on “Rights Group is Seeking Legal Person Status for Captive Chimpanzee

  1. “Only the United States and Gabon allow biomedical experiments on the animals, and the United States is working to phase them out.” Is there an error here? Canada allows biomedical experiments, at Queen’s University for example.

    • Sue Donaldson

      Hi Marg,
      I believe you are correct that there is no outright ban on using chimpanzees for research in Canada, although currently there is no chimpanzee research taking place in Canada. (Some researchers have in the past, and may even now, be outsourcing experiments to facilities in the US.) Many institutions in Canada do research on other primates, however. This includes Queen’s, where experiments in neurology, motor systems research, endocrinology and other areas are performed on rhesus macaques.

      For an update on how the Nonhuman Rights Project cases are proceeding:
      http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/12/chimpanzee-personhood-claims-denied/

  2. I’m curious as to why the Nonhuman RIghts Project chose chimpanzees, rather than rhesus macaques. Perhaps because fewer of them are used there would be less threat to research that is now going on?

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