In an historic ruling today, a judge of the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision that all three intermediate appellate courts of New York that had ruled against the Nonhuman Rights Project, had decided wrongly. The NhRP, led by Steven M. Wise, has for years argued that chimpanzees (and other Great Apes, as well as pachyderms and cetaceans), deserve legal standing as nonhuman persons. Philosophers are rarely cited in American courts. However, in this ruling, the work of CAF co-founder Tom Regan was cited not once, but twice. The citations were as follows:
In short, being a “moral agent” who can freely choose to act as morality requires is not a necessary condition of being a “moral patient” who can be wronged and may have the right to redress wrongs (see generally Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights 151–156 [2d ed 2004]).
Instead, we should consider whether a chimpanzee is an individual with inherent value who has the right to be treated with respect (see generally Regan, The Case for Animal Rights 248–250).
The full decision can be read here.