Chimps Hercules and Leo won’t be heading to this sanctuary anytime soon.
Two chimpanzees will continue being held at a Long Island university research lab after a New York judge declined to grant them a writ of habeas corpus. New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe spun heads in April when she ordered litigation on whether Hercules and Leo had the right to challenge whether they were being unlawfully deprived of their liberty. The two were being held for locomotion research purposes at the state-run Stony Brook University in New York.
But in a ruling issued days ago, the judge said the writ of habeas corpus is reserved for humans and humans alone. Therefore, the male chimps won’t be transferred to a Florida animal sanctuary called “Save the Chimps,” as the Nonhuman Rights Project of Coral Springs, Florida demanded (PDF) on the chimps’ behalf.
In a 33-page ruling, (PDF) Jaffe wrote that efforts to give animals the same rights as humans “may even succeed” some day but that courts “are slow to embrace change.” For now, she concluded that animals, “including chimpanzees and other highly intelligent mammals, are considered property under the law. They are accorded no legal rights.”
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