That two chimpanzees named Hercules and Leo, who were used to perform biomedical experiments on them at Stony Brook University on Long Island, were effectively recognized by a New York court as legal persons in 2013, was a historic moment for rights. of the animals.
Advocates argued that great apes are highly intelligent and self-aware beings with highly complex emotional lives and therefore deserve a number of fundamental rights, including freedom from inhumane treatment.
First, a habeas corpus was requested, which is a legal request that detainees use to seek relief from illegal imprisonment and was granted in the first instance, since the judge in charge identified with the idea that chimpanzees deserve to have the same rights of people, with respect to being confined indefinitely and in "non-human" conditions.
Unfortunately, two years later this sentence was appealed and the appeal was denied "eventually", but the publicity of the case had aroused the sympathy of the people and it was they and the associations that fight for animal rights, who finally exerted the necessary pressure so that the animals, although they have not been released, are no longer used for research purposes.