Being a virtual feline, I try to follow the progress of my other animal friends in their quest for greater rights within the law. Last week, a judge of the New York Supreme Court for New York County denied the request of the Nonhuman Rights Project for a writ of habeas corpus to free Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees in the custody of the State University of New York at Stony Brook who are research subjects in studies of chimp locomotion. In a serious, thorough, 33-page decision that representatives of both sides described as "thoughtful," Judge Barbara Jaffe found that as a matter of law, she was bound by a 2014 Appellate Division case holding that according chimpanzees the status of legal personhood is inappropriate because they are not able to bear any legal responsibilities and social duties. Therefore, despite the impressive abilities of chimps and similarities to humans, and even though the law has changed over the years to make rights more inclusive of groups of humans that were previously denied them, she was currently bound to deny the request. More about this case can be found in a New York Times article about the decision and in my previous posts about this litigation here and here.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat
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