New York Judge Gives Chimps a Day in Court

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On Monday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe granted a writ of habeas corpus to Hercules and Leo, two research chimpanzees kept at Stony Brook University. The case marks the first time that non-human plaintiffs will be allowed to challenge detention in court. In several previous cases involving the Nonhuman Rights Project, which is representing Hercules and Leo and would like to relocate them to a sanctuary in Florida, judges decided that chimpanzees could not be treated as legal persons. A hearing is scheduled for May 6, and Stony Brook will have to offer a legal argument for why the school is keeping the chimpanzees — or contend with the idea that the chimps are legal persons in the first place.