Published On: Wed, Jan 13th, 2016

Jane Goodall and experts join the battle to free Kiko the Chimpanzee

Nonhuman Rights Project President Steven M. Wise and the NhRP’s legal team are leading the effort to free Kiko, a chimpanzee imprisoned in a cage in a cement storefront in a crowded residential area in Niagara Falls, NY.

UPDATE: NhRP responds to Gary Spencer below.

The persists with its legal campaign to achieve personhood and the fundamental right to bodily liberty for nonhuman animals, the Nonhuman Rights Project has re-filed its habeas corpus case in the New York County Supreme Court on behalf of Kiko last week.

stock photo Photo/Caelio via Wikimedia Commons

stock photo Photo/Caelio via Wikimedia Commons

Supporting the effort with affidavits to the court are the following experts: Jane Goodall, James R. Anderson, Christophe Boesch, Mary Lee Jensvold, William C. McGrew, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Jennifer Fugate, James King, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, and Mathias Osvath.

In 2014, the Third Department ruled that an entity must have the capacity to shoulder duties and responsibilities to be a “person” able to invoke habeas corpus and that chimpanzees lacked that capacity. In this Second Kiko Petition, the NhRP has supplied the Court with approximately sixty additional pages of new affidavits from six of the world’s leading primatologists, including Dr. Jane Goodall, on top of the 100 pages of affidavits that were filed in the First Kiko Petition in December 2013. These additional sixty pages of affidavits demonstrate that chimpanzees routinely shoulder duties and responsibilities both within chimpanzee societies and within mixed chimpanzee/human societies.

Last July, Justice Barbara Jaffe of the New York County Supreme Court denied the habeas corpus bid of two nine year old chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, who had been held captive in a Stony Brook campus building for six years where they were forced to endure frequent general anesthesia and experimentation solely because Justice Jaffe believed the Third Department decision bound her. This case has again been assigned to Justice Jaffe. Attorney Wise is hopeful that it will lead to a show cause hearing for Kiko.

Back in September, the Court of Appeals refused to hear appeals in two high profile cases brought by an animal rights group that wants chimpanzees treated as people and set free from their cages.

“It’s the end of the line unless they decide to try and take it to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said court spokesman Gary Spencer.

From Steven Wise, President of the Nonhuman Rights Project:

Assuming the spokesman was referring solely to the refusal of the Court of Appeals to hear our two appeals last September, he is wrong in that (1) there is no ground to go to the US Supreme Court; and more importantly, (2) in New York there is no res judicata in habeas corpus cases. They can therefore be brought, in theory, an unlimited number of times. We cite one case in which a habeas corpus case was brought 5 times by the same prisoner who won on the 5th time.
Finally, we do not ask that chimpanzees be treated as people.


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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. Nonhuman Rights group fights for Connecticut elephants, give them ‘personhood’ | The Global Dispatch says:

    […] group drew attention early last year when they fought “to achieve personhood and the fundamental right to bodily liberty for” Kiko, a […]

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