New lawsuit filed seeking ‘personhood’ for chimpanzee

Steven Wise
Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, answers a question outside Manhattan State Supreme Court, in New York, after a hearing, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Lawyers for two chimpanzees went to court to argue that the animals have "personhood" rights and should be freed from the Long Island university where they are kept. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A group seeking legal ‘personhood’ rights for chimpanzees has filed a new lawsuit in a New York state court that previously tossed a similar lawsuit.

Lawyer Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project says he filed the lawsuit Thursday in the Manhattan court presided over by Justice Barbara Jaffe. While Jaffe dismissed a similar lawsuit in July on behalf of two university research chimps, Wise said the new lawsuit is supported by new affidavits by experts including British primatologist Jane Goodall.

The new lawsuit is on behalf of Tommy, a 26-year-old chimp in upstate Fulton County. A midlevel state appellate court ruled a year ago that Tommy is not a legal person because he can’t shoulder responsibilities.

Wise said affidavits submitted to Jaffe argue that chimps can shoulder responsibilities and should not live in cages.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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