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Back page: Appeal denied to group seeking rights for chimps

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An animal rights group seeking legal personhood for chimpanzees won’t get a hearing in the state’s highest court. The Court of Appeals, without comment Tuesday, declined to hear the appeals by The Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of Kiko and Tommy. In December, a midlevel court unanimously denied human legal rights to Tommy, saying chimps “cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions.” When Massachusetts lawyer Steven Wise filed the lawsuits two years ago, he told The Associated Press: “These are the first in a long series of suits that will chip away at the legal thinghood of such non-human animals as chimpanzees.” If the lawsuits succeed, he said, similar ones could eventually be filed on behalf of other species considered autonomous, such as gorillas, orangutans, whales, dolphins and elephants.


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