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article imageNo 'human rights' for chimpanzees

By Tim Sandle     Dec 15, 2014 in Environment
New York - A U.S court has ruled that a chimpanzee is not entitled to the same rights as people and does not have be freed from captivity.
A campaign group called The Nonhuman Rights Project had taken the case of a chimp called Tommy to court. The group had argued that chimps, who display similar characteristics to humans, deserve basic rights, including freedom from captivity.
However, the appeals court in New York state did not take the same view and declared that chimps are distinct from humans and do not have the same right to freedom. This was on the technical point that the chimp in question — Tommy — was not "a legal person" and therefore he did not exist in the eyes of the law. The three-judge Appellate Division panel ruled unanimously on this point.
In its ruling, the judges wrote: "So far as legal theory is concerned, a person is any being whom the law regards as capable of rights and duties. Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions.''
Tommy's owner, Patrick Lavery, according to the BBC, pleased with the decision. He has "owned" the 40-year old chip for the past 10 years. Tommy lives behind Circle L Trailer Sales, along Route 30 near Gloversville, New York. The site is also home to a business called Santa's Hitching Post that rents out reindeer at Christmas.
The Nonhuman Rights Project have stated that they plan to appeal the decision. This will be taken to New York's highest court.
More about Chimpanzee, Human Rights, Animal rights
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