2nd Court Ruling Confirms A Chimpanzee Is Not A Person
Animal rights activists were dealt another blow in a strange, but interesting case involving a Niagara Falls chimpanzee. The New York Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling that a chimpanzee is not a person and is not subject to freedom from captivity.
A lawsuit brought in 2013 against the Primate Sanctuary in Niagara Falls alleged that two chimpanzees were being held in captivity in inhumane conditions and that they should be considered a person and granted their liberty. First the court would have to rule that chimpanzees are people and several courts have ruled against that.
If a chimpanzee were somehow ruled to be a person and should be granted freedom from captivity does it stop there? How about farm animals and pets? Should they be granted freedom too? It's just as ridiculous as the case involving the Niagara Falls chimpanzees.
In the latest decision, Associate Judge Eugene Fahey ruled that although a chimpanzee is not a person it should not be considered a thing. So we probably haven't heard the last of this particular case.
The case has received national attention and a story in the Buffalo News brought up a good point. Although the court ruled that "chimpanzees are not persons because they lack the capacity to bear legal duties and cannot be held legally accountable for their actions, the same is true of human infants or comatose human adults."
Fahey's ruling left open the door for further appeals with his statement that rather than trying to determine whether or not a chimpanzee is a person, "the better approach....is to ask whether a chimpanzee has the same rights and duties as a human being." So this case probably still hasn't been put to bed.