Nonhuman Rights Project Vows to Continue Legal Battle for Rights, Sanctuary for Captive Chimpanzees Following Appellate Court Decision
NhRP will seek to appeal denial of habeas corpus relief to New York Court of Appeals.
June 8, 2017, New York, N.Y.—On June 8, 2017, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Judicial Department issued its ruling in the habeas corpus cases of captive chimpanzees Tommy and Kiko, which were filed on their behalf by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP). The court held that the NhRP did not have the right to seek second writs of habeas corpus on behalf of Tommy and Kiko then gave certain nonbinding opinions about granting legal personhood to nonhuman animals. The NhRP intends to seek appeal of this decision to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
Steven M. Wise, founder of the NhRP and the attorney who argued on behalf of Tommy and Kiko in Manhattan in March of 2017, said in response to the ruling, “For 2000 years all nonhuman animals have been legal things who lack the capacity for any legal rights. This is not going to change without a struggle. That fight has begun and we remain confident that Tommy’s and Kiko’s fundamental right to bodily liberty will be recognized as a matter of justice so that they too may experience the freedom they so desperately deserve. Public opinion has begun to tilt in our favor since we started filing these lawsuits, likely as a result of them.”
The NhRP and its attorneys are currently reviewing the decision and will issue a more detailed press release in the coming days.
CASE NO. Tommy: Index. No. 162358/15 (New York County) & Kiko: Index. No. 150149/16 (New York County)
CASE NAMES: THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of TOMMY, Petitioner-Appellant, -against- PATRICK C. LAVERY, individually and as an officer of Circle L Trailer Sales, Inc., DIANE L. LAVERY, and CIRCLE L TRAILER SALES, INC., Respondents-Respondents. & THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of KIKO, Petitioner-Appellant, -against- CARMEN PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., CHRISTIE E. PRESTI, individually and as an officer and director of The Primate Sanctuary, Inc., and THE PRIMATE SANCTUARY, INC., Respondents-Respondents.
For more information on Tommy, Kiko, and the NhRP’s court cases on their behalf, visit https://www.nonhumanrights.org/litigation/
About the Nonhuman Rights Project
Founded in 1996 by attorney Steven M. Wise, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) is the only civil rights organization working to achieve actual legal rights for members of species other than our own. Our mission is to change the legal status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them. Our current plaintiffs are members of species who have been scientifically proven to be autonomous: currently, great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales. We are working with teams of attorneys on four continents to develop campaigns to achieve legal rights for nonhuman animals that are suited to the legal systems of these countries. Our first cases were filed in December of 2013.
About NhRP President Steven M. Wise
Steven M. Wise began his mission to gain rights for nonhuman animals in 1985. He holds a J.D. from Boston University Law School and a B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary. He has practiced animal protection law for 38 years and is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Professor Wise taught the first class in “Animal Rights Law” at the Harvard Law School and is currently teaching “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” at the Lewis and Clark Law School and Vermont Law School. He is the author of four books: Rattling the Cage – Toward Legal Rights for Animals; Drawing the Line – Science and the Case for Animal Rights; Though the Heavens May Fall – The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery; and An American Trilogy – Death, Slavery, and Dominion Along the Banks of the Cape Fear River. His TED Talk from the TED2015 Conference in Vancouver, Canada was released in May of 2015, and has nearly one million views.