Should a Chimpanzee Be Considered a Person?

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Tommy is a 26-year-old chimpanzee owned by a couple in upstate New York. He has a lawyer and a trust fund to have him declared the first animal considered a person under the law. The Boston-based Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) asked the court to free Tommy from what they describe as a “small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed” in Gloversville, N.Y.

Tommy the chimp lives in a dark basement cage in upstate New York. Nonhuman Rights Project

Tommy the chimp lives in a dark basement cage in upstate New York. Nonhuman Rights Project

In a landmark court case that reached its conclusion in a New York State appellate court on 12/4/2014, a five-judge panel refused to grant legal person-hood to a chimpanzee named Tommy. Their unanimous decision: He’s not a person, in spite of the best arguments put forward by a group called the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP).

Here are some sources covering the story:

What do you think, is a chimpanzee a person?

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