JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (CN)—A New York state judge wished an animal rights group well, but said he would not recognize a chimpanzee as a legal person who can file a habeas corpus petition for release from captivity.
"Good luck with your venture. I'm sorry I can't sign the order but I hope you continue. As an animal lover, I appreciate your work," Fulton County Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise said after an hourlong hearing .
Attorneys for The Nonhuman Rights Project, of Coral Springs, Fla., petitioned the court on behalf of Tommy, a 26-year-old male chimpanzee. They wanted him transferred from a private owner to a primate sanctuary.
The request for a writ of habeas corpus "is an attempt to extend existing New York common law for the purpose of establishing the legal personhood" of Tommy, the complaint states, "and granting him immediate release from illegal detention."