The New York Court of Appeals recently denied a motion for permission to appeal submitted by the Nonhuman Rights Project in their effort to see two chimpanzees, Kiko and Tommy, who are currently living alone, transferred to an adequate chimpanzee sanctuary. I was a co-author, in addition to sixteen other philosophers, of a philosophers’ brief that supported the Nonhuman Rights Project’s motion. Though it was denied, Judge Eugene Fahey, one of five judges who ruled on the motion, submitted a striking concurring opinion to explain his decision. Here are some of the details.
Judge Fahey’s decision to deny the Nonhuman Rights Project’s motion was not based on the merits of their case. Indeed, he indicates his discomfort with the initial ruling of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. Judge Fahey implies that, had he been a judge charged with making the initial ruling, the legal journey may well have been quite different (with, presumably, a more favorable result for Kiko and Tommy).