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Ape escape: the argument to keep chimpanzees out of cages


Steven Wise has been waiting more than 30 years to give chimpanzees their day in court. A lawyer who specializes in animal protection, Wise is widely credited as a pioneer in the animal rights arena: he’s taught classes on the subject at schools including Harvard and John Marshall Law School, has written four books and countless journal articles, and is the former president of the influential Animal Legal Defense Fund. In early December, the Nonhuman Rights Project — a group that Wise founded and now runs — filed three landmark lawsuits on behalf of captive chimpanzees living in New York state. With ample scientific evidence on their side, Wise and his colleagues are hoping to prove that because chimpanzees demonstrate complex cognitive abilities, they should be recognized as legal persons with the right to live free from confinement.

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