A New York appeals court has ruled that two chimpanzees in the state will not get a writ of habeas corpus for release from captivity because … well, they’re not human. This obvious legal point comes after litigation by animal rights activists.

The Associated Press reports:

Appeals court says chimpanzees don’t have rights of people

Two chimpanzees that were caged at a trailer lot and at a primate sanctuary don’t have the legal rights of people in New York, an appeals court said Thursday.

Nonhuman Rights Project attorney Steven Wise had argued to the appeals court in March that adult male chimps Tommy and Kiko should be granted a writ of habeas corpus, which for people relates to whether someone is being unlawfully detained or imprisoned and should be taken to see a judge.

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.

Professor Jacobson wrote about this case back in 2014:

Tommy the Chimp finds no relief in court

Around this time last year we covered the story of the lawsuit seeking release of a chimpanzee via a habeas corpus petition at College Insurrection, as part of the greater Nonhuman Rights movement, Yale to hold Non-Human Rights Conference:

There were plenty of headlines about a lawsuit seeking a court ruling that four captive Chimpanzees were persons and entitled to

“the right to bodily liberty via a writ of habeas corpus. The suits, filed in New York Supreme Court, are based on scientific evidence proving that chimpanzees are self-aware and autonomous, and therefore entitled to be recognized as “legal persons” with certain fundamental legal rights.”

On December 6-8, 2013, Yale is hosting a conference devoted to the rights of non-humans.

Now the ruling has come down (h/t Gabriel Malor):

More here.