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Historic victory for chimpanzees

 

New York Judge Amends an Order that Animal Rights Group Said Granted a Writ of Habeas Corpus to Two Research Animals.
Nature, Brendan Borrell, April 22, 2015

http://www.nature.com/news/chimpanzee-personhood-case-sows-confusion-1.17398?WT.ec_id=NEWS-20150423


April 23, 2015

Dear Friend and Supporter,

On Monday, we shared with you the news that a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice had granted an Order to Show Cause& Writ of Habeas Corpus on behalf of NhRP petitioners Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees being used in biomedical experiments at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. Yesterday, the Court amended the Order by striking "& Habeas Corpus" from the caption of its Order. The Order to Show Cause remains in the caption.

A writ of habeas corpus in New York State is a two-step process. The first step requires that a court order someone who is imprisoning a "person" to come into court and give a legally sufficient reason for doing so. That is what the Nonhuman Rights Project sought in its Petition and that is what it received. The second step involves determining whether the someone doing the imprisoning has given a legally sufficient reason for the imprisonment. That question will be argued before the Court at the time of the step-two hearing.

It is of no practical consequence to the lawsuit whether the court styles its order as an Order to Show cause or as a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Either way the Court is ordering the University into court to provide a legally sufficient reason why they are detaining Hercules and Leo, whom we argue should be freed and released into the care of Save the Chimps' sanctuary in Ft. Pierce, Florida. The hearing is great news not just for Hercules and Leo, but for all chimpanzees who have been unjustly deprived of their fundamental right to bodily liberty.

The hearing has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 27 at 10:30 a.m. at the New York County Supreme Court, 80 Centre St., New York, NY 10013. It is open to the public. As always, we will keep you posted on any developments.

In the meantime, please keep sharing this news with your friends! Here are a few of the many recent articles about Hercules and Leo's case:

In The New York Times, Harvard Law School scholar Laurence Tribe "said he believed habeas corpus ought to be available to test the treatment and confinement of 'other beings whose capacities are limited but who are potentially capable of bearing rights,' a category he contended ought to eventually include chimps like Hercules and Leo."

Primatologist Mary Lee Jensvold, who wrote an affidavit for the NhRP's cases, told WIRED, "Wow. Wow. Wow. This is incredible. I didn't think this would happen so soon. It takes so long for attitudes to change. It's a great piece of news, just to know that a judge wants to hear the case."

The Guardian's Alan Yuhas writes, "For the first time in US history, a judge has granted two chimpanzees a petition--through human attorneys--to defend their rights against unlawful imprisonment, allowing a hearing on the status of 'legal persons' for the primates."

Many thanks for your support from the entire NhRP team!

Steven M. Wise
President
The Nonhuman Rights Project
www.nonhumanrights.org


April 21, 2015

Dear Friend and Supporter,

Exciting news! We are thrilled to be able to tell you that a Manhattan Supreme Court Justice has granted an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of NhRP plaintiffs Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees being used in biomedical experiments at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York.

This is the first time in history that a judge has granted an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a nonhuman animal.

The ruling also implicitly recognizes Hercules and Leo as legal persons, since only legal persons may be granted a writ of habeas corpus under New York common law.

Needless to say, this is huge news, and we are beyond grateful for your commitment to the pursuit of freedom and justice for these imprisoned chimpanzees. Whether you've donated, helped to raise awareness of our work, or written in to let us know that you stand behind our mission, the NhRP would never have gotten this far without your support.

Next up: a hearing in which Stony Brook University—represented by the Attorney General of New York—must appear in court and provide a legally sufficient reason for detaining Hercules and Leo, whom we argue should be freed and released into the care of Save the Chimps' sanctuary in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

To read the judge's order and the press release we issued earlier today, visit our website. We'll be sure to keep you updated on any developments via our newsletter and social media sites. In the meantime, please share this news with anyone you know who supports nonhuman rights!

Natalie Prosin
Executive Director
The Nonhuman Rights Project
www.nonhumanrights.org

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