Pierce & Mandell associate attorney Karen Rabinovici takes on the unusual topic in the July 2015 edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Journal in an article entitled “Are Chimpanzees Human Enough To Be Granted Some Human Rights?” The article describes two chimpanzees – Hercules and Leo, both 8, - who have both been used in research at Stony Brook University in New York and are at the center of a court proceeding. The judge in the case has ordered Stony Brook to defend its detention of the chimps, whose freedom the Nonhuman Rights Project is advocating for, arguing that because chimpanzees have skills similar to human reasoning and self-determination, such captivity amounts to unlawful imprisonment.
“The Nonhuman Rights Project’s ultimate goal is to free the captive chimpanzees (along with others) and move them to a sanctuary where they can live as naturally as possible amongst other chimpanzees,” Rabinovici writes. “It has long been accepted that chimpanzees possess many characteristics originally believed to be exclusive to human beings. So the question is, do chimpanzees have enough human characteristics to be granted some human rights?”