*A New York appeals court will consider whether chimpanzees are entitled to “legal personhood” in what experts say is the first case of its kind.
On Wednesday, a mid-level state appeals court will hear the case of 26-year-old Tommy, who is owned by a human and lives alone in what attorney Steven Wise describes as a “dark, dank shed” in upstate New York.
The argument has been that scientists have found that a chimp is cognitively similar to humans, therefore deserves some of the same rights. In this case, the Nonhuman Rights Project is asking the court for a writ of “habeas corpus,” which compels a person’s captor to explain why they have a right to hold a person captive.*