In DepthANIMAL RIGHTS

The scientist behind the ‘personhood’ chimps

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Science  12 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6240, pp. 1187-1188
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6240.1187

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Summary

In 2013, the Nonhuman Rights Project filed a series of lawsuits asking courts to recognize four New York chimpanzees as legal persons and free them from captivity. The animal rights group, which hopes to set a precedent for research chimps everywhere, has yet to succeed, but in April a judge ordered Stony Brook University to defend its possession of two of these animals, Hercules and Leo. Last month, the group and the university squared off in court, and the judge is expected to issue a decision soon. But the scientist working with the chimps, anatomist Susan Larson, has remained largely silent until now. In an exclusive interview, Larson talks about her work with these animals and the impact the litigation is having on her studies—and research animals in general.