It is hard to say what needs to be done first to change the plight of animals: change the human behavior by raising awareness or changing laws according to scientifically based research studies indicating that animals are beings, not things.
The Nonhuman Rights Project believes in the law and has gone to court to fight for the rights of two chimpanzees:
“The New York County Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe issued a 33-page decision in the case of the chimpanzees Hercules and Leo. They are being held in captivity in a Stony Brook University laboratory.
Justice Jaffe denied habeas corpus relief to Hercules and Leo only because, as she wrote, “for now” she is bound by the intermediate appellate court decision in Tommy’s case, which we have placed before the Court of Appeals—New York’s highest Court— seeking further review.
As with Tommy’s and Kiko’s cases, the legal battle will continue as our chimpanzee plaintiffs continue to suffer in captivity the way any self-aware, autonomous being would.
What Justice Jaffe’s decision does is allow us to appeal the decision to First Department which, unlike Justice Jaffe, is not bound by the decision of the Third Department in Tommy’s case.
As we work on what will be a prompt appeal of the decision, we’re pleased also to tell you that:
- One, Justice Jaffe’s decision was thoughtful and comprehensive. We thank her for so carefully examining our arguments and for having granted the historic Order to Show Cause that compelled the Attorney General’s office to appear in court on May 27th to justify Hercules and Leo’s detention at Stony Brook.
- Two, Justice Jaffe agreed that the NhRP had standing to litigate on behalf of Hercules and Leo. Indeed, she rejected one by one all the procedural barriers the Attorney General of New York attempted to place before her. She also rejected the argument that “opening the floodgates” to lawsuits on behalf of other nonhuman animals (also known as the “slippery slope” argument) was a sufficient reason for denying relief to Hercules and Leo and refused to follow the appellate decision handed down in Kiko’s case (which is also before the Court of Appeals for further review on our request).
- Three, she concluded her decision on what we see as a sympathetic, positive note: ´Efforts to extend legal rights to chimpanzees are thus understandable; some day they may even succeed.´We encourage you to read the entire decision and share this news with your friends and fellow nonhuman animal advocates.”
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Thank you for spreading the word on animal awareness!