Should a Chimpanzee Be Considered a Person?

What would it take for an animal to be considered a person? In a landmark court case that reached its conclusion in a New York State appellate court yesterday, a five-judge panel refused to grant legal personhood to a chimpanzee named Tommy. Their unanimous decision: He’s not a person, in spite of the best arguments put forward by a group called the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP).

Tommy’s owner keeps the chimp in a wire-mesh cage, inside a nondescript warehouse, in upstate New York. That’

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