Activists want chimpanzee declared a person
A British woman is leading a court challenge to have a chimpanzee declared a "person" so the animal can enjoy "human rights".
Paula Stibbe and a group of Austrian animal rights activists want the European Court to declare that the ape, who they have given the name Matthew Hiasl Pan to make him sound "more human", legally declared a person so she can be appointed his guardian.
Mrs Stibbe wants the declaration so she can take care of the 26-year-old chimp if the bankrupt animal sanctuary in Voesendorf, south of Vienna, where he currently lives, is forced to close.
The European Court of Human Rights case comes after Austria's Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling against the group - known as the Association Against Animal Factories - who wanted a trustee appointed for Matthew so Mrs Stibbe could look after him using money pledged by a benefactor.
The court ruled the chimp was neither mentally impaired nor in danger, which are the legal grounds required for a guardian to be appointed. Read More
The attempts to have animals be considered “people” continue to grow. While our DNA is similar, human DNA is similar to most mammals. But there similar is a long ways away from the same. Allowing animals to be considered people is an erosion of human rights.