litagation-rightNonhuman Rights Project Updates for Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, Leo
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Nonhuman Rights Project
January 2015

The appellate court that heard our arguments on behalf of Kiko has handed down its decision. And now we have three separate appellate decisions in relation to three lawsuits on behalf of four chimpanzees.

In a nutshell:

In Tommy's case, the justices ruled that a chimpanzee cannot be a legal person with the capacity for the right not to be held captive. We argue that the court is wrong on at least three grounds that it laid out, and we are seeking to take our case to New York State's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

In Kiko's case, the court has chosen to take a different position from the justices in Tommy's case. Instead of arguing that a chimpanzee cannot have the capacity for legal rights, the court affirmed the lower court's denial of our petition on the grounds that a writ of habeas corpus can only be used to set someone completely free and not to move him or her from a place of stark imprisonment to another place of vastly more freedom.

And in the case of Hercules and Leo, who are being used in medical experiments at Stony Brook University, an appellate court dismissed our appeal on procedural grounds. We will be refiling this case very shortly.

So, what's the state of play now, and what are the next legal steps? These three lawsuits are still far from over, and Nonhuman Rights Project President Steven M. Wise calls it a game of "legal whac-a-mole" and "legal chess." Check out his legal analysis in his latest blog post, Legal Whac-A-Mole.

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