PRIMATE POWER

Tommy the Chimp Fights for Human Rights

Tommy, a retired circus chimpanzee, may become the first animal to be declared a person with rights under U.S. law. Activists presented the case for Tommy, 26, before the New York Supreme Court appeals division in Albany on Wednesday. He is being represented by Stephen Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project in a test case that could set a precedence for animal rights. Tommy currently lives in a cage in a mobile park home in upstate New York. Wise argued in court that Tommy is a “legal person” who is suffering "unlawful imprisonment" in a "small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed." Tommy nor his owner, Patrick Lavery, appeared in court. Lavery previously said Tommy has “a lot of enrichment” in the trailer, including "color TV, cable and a stereo." He also claimed Tommy "likes being by himself." The case for Tommy may be a long shot. A lower court judge previously rejected the case, despite being a self-professed animal lover.