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Chimps Are Not People, Cannot Be Freed From Custody | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A chimpanzee named Samantha waits for her daily feeding at the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue Project headquarters in Charlesville, Liberia, November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Malin Palm

New York – Chimpanzees do not deserve the same rights as people, a New York state appeals court unanimously concluded, as it refused to order the release of two of the animals to a primate sanctuary.

The 5-0 decision is the latest defeat for the Nonhuman Rights Project and its lawyer Steven Wise in a long debate over whether caged chimpanzees are actually legal “persons” entitled like humans to bodily liberty.

The case revolves around two chimpanzees, Tommy and Kiko, each held by a private owner in upstate New York.

Citing experts like British primatologist Jane Goodall, the Nonhuman Rights Project said chimpanzees and humans share many behavioral, cognitive and social capabilities.

However, Justice Troy Webber wrote for the appeals court that the shared capabilities “do not translate to a chimpanzee’s capacity or ability, like humans, to bear legal duties, or to be held legally accountable for their actions.”