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Professor Hessler comments in Guardian on efforts to establish legal personhood for chimpanzees

January 18, 2015

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    Cleve Hicks

Kathy Hessler, clinical professor and director of the Animal Law Clinic, comments in an article in The Guardian addressing the U.S. legal efforts to establish legal personhood for chimpanzees.

“Chimpanzees could climb closer to the status of “legal persons” on Wednesday, should an animal rights group convince a New York court that an ape held in a trailer park shed may be wrongfully imprisoned.

Tommy, a 26-year-old privately owned chimp in Gloversville, New York, is the plaintiff in a suit brought on his behalf by Steven Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), a group of environmental lawyers who seek nothing less than to break through the “legal wall … erected between humans and nonhuman animals”, as Wise told the Guardian.

But before the US can consider pongid personhood, Wise must argue before a panel of five appellate judges, who have agreed to hear out his petition for a writ of habeas corpus – an order demanding that the custodian of a prisoner prove a legally justifiable reason for detainment.”

Read the full article here.

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