Chimp ‘personhood’ case goes to New York court


*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.*
Canada Journal


I can’t even believe it…speechless.


I’m not even remotely speechless, it’s just that pretty much anything I want to say on the subject would probably get me banned.

Are you kidding me…


I would not have believed it before courts decided that an unborn human being was not a person and basic realities like male and female, marriage, and life were all subject to change according to how a judge felt society was moving.

Now, I can’t exclude anything being proposed. I am just unable to anticipate which crazy idea will find a champion demanding that everyone else adopt his own twisted view of reality.

If a chimp is a person, why isn’t my dog a person? Not your dog though–my dog is smarter than yours. This stupid argument based on the changing of the meaning of basic concepts will be extended all the way down to a goldfish and even that old pet rock in my closet.

PS, I don’t really have a dog or a pet rock. I did not mean to offend any dogs who can read these forums.


Using intelligence and self awareness as a test for personhood is just plain stupid. Using that reasoning a new born baby isn’t a person. Their brain is still developing and I don’t think they can pass the mirror test until about 1 year old. Memories take even longer to be possible. Also someone with advanced alzheimers wouldn’t be considered a person with that reasoning.

I do agree that they should be protected but this is silly.


That is just nuts.:bigyikes:



I’ve yet to hear a decent argument for why “cognitive abilities” should be the barometer for personhood. I’ve never even seen a person who articulated that criteria even try to give a reason. This reminds me of the Notre Dame professor who used the same line of thinking to justify abortion.

Why not say that the criteria for being CEO of Disney is to wear a tie and declare it. There’s no need to be appointed that by any supposed “authorities” at Disney. That would merely be the “traditionalist” view from people clinging to old ideas and refusing to progress. Put a tie on a monkey, and voilá.


In the Mortal world, only one thing has personhood: Homo sapiens sapiens. A chimp is nothing when compared to us, like all wild beasts. God gave us the authority and freedom to wipe them off the face of the earth with no moral reprocession if we so choose to. (Ecological reprocussion is the consequence, but that doesn’t cause spiritual death)

This is all Jane Goodall’s fault anyway. She’s why we see chimps as anything other than filthy savage monkeys.


Why stop with chimps? Why not lions, and tigers and bears, oh my? :whacky:


Not sure if this follows from Spain’s position from a few years ago.


Why does personhood even have to come into it? The animal protection officers of the county in question should be able to seize and rescue any animal who is being mistreated. By simple and clear definition, a chimpanzee isn’t a person. No wonder the first court threw it out! Crazy to be wasting time in courts again…


Well, a porpoise is a person. So, why not a chimp?

But seriously, a chimp is a sentient animal, and should be treated well. It sounds like this person is keeping a chimp in solitary confinement in a large metal cage. It seems to me that such captivity does amount to imprisonment, and the animal should be moved to an animal sanctuary to live socially with other chimps. This is what the chimp’s advocates are trying to achieve. Seems like an odd way to do it.


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