Chimp Sues Over Living Conditions
Next to file: dolphins, elephants
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 26, 2014 5:34 PM CDT
A chimpanzee is taking legal action regarding his living conditions.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A lawyer and his team are fighting for animal rights in an unusual way: by filing lawsuits on behalf of chimpanzees. The New York Times focuses on the case of Tommy, a chimp who is, as Charles Siebert writes, effectively suing for better living conditions. Despite protections under the law, Siebert notes, "the fundamental legal status of nonhumans ... as property, with no rights of their own, has remained unchanged." But legal expert Steven Wise, who is leading the effort, argues that one need not be a human being to be a legal person.

He focuses on the animals' autonomy, pointing to extensive research that shows chimps' cognitive abilities. "Like humans,” his team asserts in a legal memo, "chimpanzees have a concept of their personal past and future" and "they suffer the pain of not being able to fulfill their needs or move around as they wish." Wise's initial suits have been rebuffed by judges, though some have expressed their admiration. Now, he's working on appeals, and it's all part of what he calls a "25-year plan" to help the animals—beginning with chimps, but eventually moving to dolphins, parrots, elephants, and others. Click for the full piece.

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Showing 3 of 35 comments
Dave0
Apr 28, 2014 11:54 AM CDT
"Your Honor, my client demands a big screen TV, likes a water bed, conjugal visits with Miss Chip USA. Oh, and an extra 50 pounds of bananas. I will be handling his financial affairs."
gitsme
Apr 27, 2014 10:05 PM CDT
Pay the "monkeys" with Monopoly money and let's see if they know the difference. Side note: Might have to use money from 'Life' game since the denominations are much larger.
Jeff Haugan
Apr 27, 2014 2:43 PM CDT
hhhhuuuummmm, I wonder how this will play out with the abortion industry?