Dec. 3 - A non-profit has filed a lawsuit with a New York state court seeking ''legal personhood'' status for a chimpanzee named Tommy. Jeanne Yurman reports.
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Do chimpanzees deserve the same legal rights as humans? A U.S. animal rights group, the Nonhuman Rights Project, argues they do. This in what they are calling the first lawsuit aimed at establishing the "legal personhood" of chimpanzees. The non-profit has 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." Representatives say his detention in what they describe as a "small, dank, cement cage" is unlawful and seek his immediate release to a primate sanctuary. This marks the first of three lawsuits the group plans to file this week seeking personhood status for Tommy and three other chimpanzees in Niagra Falls and Long Island, New York. Owners of the chimpanzees were not available for comment.
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