MILLINOCKET, Maine, December 9, 2013 — The Nonhuman Rights Project, a nonprofit animal rights group, recently filed lawsuits in the state of New York to declare that four chimpanzees kept captive in the state should receive personhood status.
Their names are Tommy, Kiko, Hercules and Leo. Tommy lives in a bleak cage at the back of a warehouse, Kiko is kept as a pet while Hercules and Leo are laboratory subjects.
The lawsuits contend that personhood is derived by virtue of cognitive and emotional qualities, and chimpanzees are enough like humans to have basic rights not to be owned and imprisoned.
The aim is to give the chimps a chance to live in a more natural habitat than their present circumstances allow. Release into the wild would be ideal, but as these chimps have been captive for so long, it would probably be more humane to let them live in their own sanctuary.
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