ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York appeals court is hearing a novel legal effort to have chimpanzees declared "persons" rather than "things" so the animals can be freed from what critics say are inhumane conditions.
Attorney Steven Wise will argue Wednesday on behalf of Tommy, who lives alone in a cage in upstate Fulton County. A trial level judge refused a request by Wise and his group, the Nonhuman Rights Project, to have Tommy released to join other chimps at a Florida sanctuary.
Wise argues that animals with human qualities, such as chimps, deserve basic rights, including freedom from imprisonment. His group is also seeking the release of three other chimps in New York.
Tommy's owner, Patrick Lavery of Gloversville, told the Albany Times-Union the chimpanzee is happy and has cable TV and a stereo to entertain him.