TO LIGHTEN UP YOUR DAY LOL!
A U.S. animal rights group on Monday filed what it said is the first lawsuit seeking to establish the “legal personhood” of chimpanzees.
The non-profit Nonhuman Rights Project asked a New York state court to declare a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy “a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned.”
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Tommy’s “detention” in a “small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed” in central New York is unlawful and demands his immediate release to a primate sanctuary.
Chimpanzees “possess complex cognitive abilities that are so strictly protected when they’re found in human beings,” Steven Wise, the president of Nonhuman Rights Project, told Reuters.
“There’s no reason why they should not be protected when they’re found in chimpanzees,” he added.
The lawsuit on Tommy’s behalf is among three the group is filing this week on behalf of four chimps across New York. The other chimps are Kiko, a 26-year-old chimp living on a private property in Niagara Falls, and Hercules and Leo, two young male chimps used in research at Stony Brook University on Long Island, the group said.
Tommy’s owners, Patrick and Diane Lavery, and Stony university did not immediately return requests for comment. Kiko’s owners could not be reached on Monday.
The Nonhuman Rights Project used its own research to find the chimps, and Wise first visited Tommy in October after reading a local newspaper article about exotic animals kept at the Laverys’ used trailer lot in Gloversville, N.Y., about 80 kilometres northwest of Albany.
“He looked terrible,” said Wise, who previously observed healthy, wild chimps in Uganda. “Hey looked like a caged chimpanzee – they don’t move, they don’t look at you. They look depressed.”
The lawsuit states that chimps are entitled to a “fundamental right to bodily liberty,” which Wise told Reuters is the basic right to be left alone and not held for entertainment or research.
The lawsuit was filed at “the earliest point at which we have some reasonable chance at winning,” said Wise, a well-known animal rights activist and author of books including the 2000 title “Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals.”
“These are the first cases in an open-ended, strategic litigation campaign,” he said. “We’re just going to keep filing suits.”
Nonhuman Rights Project in 2007 began a nationwide search for an optimal venue to file the lawsuits, Wise said. New York was ultimately chosen because of its generally flexible view of requests for a writ of habeas corpus, the centuries-old right in English law to challenge unlawful detention, he said.
David Favre, a professor at Michigan State University College of Law and an expert on animal law, said it is the first habeas petition filed on behalf of an animal.
“The focus here is whether a chimpanzee is a ‘person’ that has access to these laws,” said Favre.
The lawsuits come as medical authorities re-examine the employment of chimpanzees in research in light of new technology that renders the use of chimpanzees less necessary.
In a decision applauded by animal rights groups, the U.S. National Institutes of Health in January said it was reducing its use of chimps in biomedical research, retiring most to sanctuaries. At the time, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins called chimps “very special animals” that deserve “special consideration.”
It’s midnight, looking for something to do, feeling incredibly lonely. Yay pity party for me ! I’m questioning myself about my life… I don’t regret my past but I’m very concerned about my present. I’ve been with my boyfriend for six years now and we have been through our fair share of problems. I don’t know how we’ve managed to stay together…honestly…
Until last year I handled my personal life pretty well and never let my traumas stopping me from being the person I wanted to be. The problem is that because I appeared so strong, family and friends leaned on me for support. I’m a very sensitive person and I tend to make every battle mine but at one point my energy went low and I never asked for help. At that time my boyfriend had his own demons to deal with but he was there. I never really forgave him for moments where he got weak but I never realized until now that he did the best he could with the tools he had at the moment. My interactions with his family as also thought me that how he was raised had a lot to do with his current self.
We always struggle with our differences in term of values. My mom is a very independent strong professional female who raised us to be independent and outspoken. His family on the other hand is very traditional and the females respect the so called gender hierarchy. I started living by myself at 16 because my mom trusted my judgement and wanted the best for me but everyone around me was planning on failure( not finishing school or getting pregnant). None of that happened primarily because I didn’t want my mother to loose the money invested in me. I’m a very shy person until I feel strongly about and issue and I want to debate.
These little debate incidents have happened with my boyfriend’s dad and his sister, they also see me question his decisions and they don’t like that. The sister once ask me once in a condescending voice why I liked talking about politics. I responded with a clever sarcasm which she did not understand but I still felt a little odd. Like I was weird or crazy for wanting to talk about serious matters. With all that judgement around me not being a typical young lady makes me self-conscious. Believe it or not I’m ashamed to have culture. Except when I’m blogging of course, because nobody knows me it feels safer.
My relationship with my boyfriend is getting better even-though we had a tough month. I really need a plan to boost my self confidence and feel a little less crazy. I wish I could find weird people like me I could hang out with because it feels lonely to be me. I always have crazy projects I want to do but most of the time I end up doing them alone while my friends tell me I’m nuts. For example this summer I turned a table into a bench, took an old nightstand from the streets and repainted it for my room. I was very proud of myself but I didn’t have anyone to share it with. When I think about it maybe it’s because I’m not confident in what I’m doing that I seek approval from others. My boyfriend has always told me that I was an artist but I always felt like an impostor. Can I really paint? Can I really write? Or are people telling me that just because they love me?
I’m seeing my psychologist tomorrow and I have no idea what I’m going to talk about, I’ve solved almost all my problems this week by writing! And it was FREE :D! Sometimes I wish I could just be normal and accept typical boring way of life but then I remember that I wouldn’t trade my intensity for the world.