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.
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:
- Time Magazine – Chimpanzees Are Not Entitled to Human Rights, New York Court Says
- The Guardian – Chimpanzees are not people, New York court decides
- The Washington Post – New York court rules that Tommy the chimp is not a ‘person’
What do you think, is a chimpanzee a person?