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Chimps are not people

September 2015

Justice Barbara JaffeNew York judge, Justice Barbara Jaffe, has denied a request to extend legal rights to two chimpanzees. In July, she ruled against the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) at the New York state Supreme Court. 

The two eight-year-old chimps, Leo and Hercules, being kept at a New York university laboratory, are not people and so are not being unlawfully detained, she ruled.

The NhRP sought to attain a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the animals have a right not to be ‘imprisoned’. Justice Barbara Jaffe rejected the claims, but said such a move could be possible in the future. The campaign group has said it would soon be pursuing a case involving elephants.

The office of the New York state Attorney General, which was defending against the animal rights group, said the case was ‘a radical attempt to blur the legal boundaries that exist between humans and animals’. In May it said, ‘Any such extension of the writ could set a precedent for the release of other animals held in captivity, whether housed at a zoo, in an educational institution, on a farm, or owned as a domesticated pet, and enmesh New York courts in continuing litigation’.

It should also be remembered, of course, that only man has been made in the image of God. He is completely unique and is distinct from all the animal creation (Genesis 1:26-28).

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