New York court: Chimpanzees do not have same legal rights as humans

Wise argued that the chimps, which were caged in a trailer lot in Gloversville, outside Albany, and at a primate sanctuary in Niagara Falls, should be moved to a large outdoor sanctuary in Florida.

Chimpanzees, which can walk upright and use sticks and stones as tools to help gather food, are considered to be the closest living relatives of humans. Some have been taught to speak simple human sign language.

But the state Supreme Court’s appellate division, in a ruling that affirmed a lower court’s decision, said there was no legal precedent for chimpanzees being considered people and their cognitive capabilities didn’t mean they could be held legally accountable for their actions.

“Petitioner does not suggest that any chimpanzee charged with a crime in New York could be deemed fit to proceed,” the court said.