Target: Honorable Peter Tom, Acting Presiding Justice, New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Judicial Department
Goal: Overturn the ruling that denies legal rights to chimpanzees on grounds that it could be used to deny rights to humans.
A ruling against giving chimpanzees legal rights sets a precedent that could in theory be used to deny human rights as well. Attorney Steve Wise is asking the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division to overturn this ruling, and says, “It places New Yorkers at risk that their personhood will not be protected.”
A lesser court determined that chimpanzees cannot have legal rights of their own because they do not have duties and responsibilities in society. However, by this standard, children and people with disabilities — who are unable to perform many typical “societal duties” — could be denied their basic human rights on the same grounds. Sign below to tell lawmakers that basic rights do not depend on the fulfillment of societal duties and responsibilities.
Dear Justice Tom,
The court ruling against chimpanzees having legal rights in New York on the grounds that they do not contribute to carrying out societal duties and responsibilities sets a dangerous precedent that could be used to deny humans their basic rights as well. The notion that one must perform certain duties and responsibilities within society to earn basic rights does not account for the people who are unable to do so, like the elderly, the disabled, and children.
These people must have their rights protected, and this court ruling could become grounds to have their rights stripped away if it is universally applied. Therefore I urge you to overturn this precedent that one must perform societal duties in order to be afforded basic rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Sergio Morchon