Non-human persons? Animal rights get legal leg up

Like humans, chimpanzees possess reason, language and emotions. They feel despair, joy and fear. Our DNA differs from theirs by just over one per cent.

The similarities are so profound, according to some legal activists and scientists, that chimps should be recognized under the law as “non-human persons.”

The same goes for elephants, orcas and even the African grey parrot, according to some legal interpretations making the rounds.

That would mean no more zoos, labs or being kept as pets.

They would have legal status similar to that of children — no longer “mere ‘things,’ which lack the capacity to possess any legal right,” in the words of the Nonhuman Rights Project, a group that has recently been fighting in court to win the freedom of four chimps in New York state. Continue reading …

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