Chimps granted human rights, recognized as 'legal persons'

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Judge Grants Chimps Human Legal Rights

For the first time in history, a judge has recognized animals as legal persons.

According to American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe decreed two chimpanzees held in a research lab at Stony Brook University are covered by a writ of habeas corpus, granting the chimps the same human rights as a prisoner.

Animal rights group Nonhuman Rights Project claims the university is unlawfully imprisoning chimps Hercules and Leo, and says they should be relocated to an animal sanctuary. The lawsuit was originally filed back in 2013, but was quickly thrown out. The group has been appealing ever since, and their tireless efforts seem to have paid off.

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Chimps granted human rights, recognized as 'legal persons'
@NonhumanRights In Historic Ruling, Court Recognizes 2Chimps as Legal Persons http://t.co/NnTE09xxn0 @earthtransition http://t.co/mBsLa9Yq6W
Congrats to @NonhumanRights on the first ever writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a nonhuman! http://t.co/RitLaKJJwP
Huge victory for nonhuman animals, thank you Steven Wise @NonhumanRights http://t.co/r3PC6ri9jE #captivitykills http://t.co/ZiBfR82Mzx
2 chimpanzees granted “legal persons” status in historic ruling following @NonhumanRights case http://t.co/4UvQld3HZt http://t.co/7dWPKWVMt6
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"This is a big step forward to getting what we are ultimately seeking: the right to bodily liberty for chimpanzees and other cognitively complex animals," the executive director of the organization said. "We got our foot in the door. And no matter what happens, that door can never be completely shut again."

The New York Supreme Court Justice ordered a Stony Brook University representative to appear in court in May to respond to the petition before deciding whether the research lab can keep the chimps or if they should be moved to a sanctuary in Florida.

By granting the writ, the judge implicitly acknowledges apes are people.

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