April 22, 2015

One Small Step for Apes

One giant leap for humankind…

A lot of people are buzzing about the truly epoch-making judicial order by Justice Barbara Jaffe of the New York State Supreme Court granting a writ of habeas corpus to Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees used for research purposes at Stony Brook University. Perhaps frightened by the splash she made in the press and among advocates of legal rights for animals, Justice Jaffee later amended the order by striking out the words “writ of habeas corpus.” That move didn’t entirely negate the power of the ruling, since Stony Brook officials (the suit specifically names Stony Brook president Dr.  Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.) are still required to show cause in court as to their imprisonment of the apes–the first time such an order has been issued. The judicial two-step demonstrates how fraught is the whole idea of legal personhood for chimps and the other great apes.

I’m forwarding a copy of 13 Hollywood Apes to Dr. Stanley. Give the doc a jingle at The Office of the President | 310 Administration Building, Stony Brook, New York 11794-0701; phone: (631) 632-6265; fax: (631) 632-6621.

SUNY Stony Brook President Stanley (center): he has legal rights; his chimpanzees don't

SUNY Stony Brook President Stanley (center): he has legal rights; his chimpanzees don’t