An adjunct professor at the St. Thomas University (STU) School of Law who once was quoted saying he sees no difference between a chimpanzee and his toddler son, has now filed a lawsuit seeking personhood for chimpanzees earlier this month.
Steven Wise, the president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, requested that a New York state court declare a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy “a cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned.”
The lawsuit demands the chimp’s immediate release to a primate sanctuary.
In a pressrelease, Wise compared chimpanzees to human slaves. “Not long ago, people generally agreed that human slaves could not be legal persons, but were simply the property of their owners,” Wise continued. “Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said that ‘in giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.’”
At a 2002 book signing event, Wise went so far as to compare his own son to a primate. "I don't see a difference between a chimpanzee and my 4 1/2- year-old son,” he was quoted as saying.
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