New York lawsuit seeks 'legal personhood' for chimpanzees
NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A United States (US) animal rights group on Monday filed what it said is the first lawsuit seeking to establish the "legal personhood" of chimpanzees.
The non-profit Nonhuman Rights Project asked a New York state court to declare a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy "a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned."
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Tommy's "detention" in a "small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed" in central New York is unlawful and demands his immediate release to a primate sanctuary.
Chimpanzees "possess complex cognitive abilities that are so strictly protected when they're found in human beings," Mr Steven Wise, the president of Nonhuman Rights Project, told Reuters.