The Nonhuman Rights Project wanted to have Kiko (a chimpanzee) placed in a better facility and commenced a habeas corpus proceeding (used for illegal confinement of people) . The relief requested was denied. The appellate court noted that even if they agreed with NRP that Kiko should be deemed a person for the purpose of the application, habeas corpus relief is inappropriate where only a change in the conditions of confinement rather than the confinement itself.
The court's rejection of habeas relief for animals does not leave them defenseless. The Legislature has extended significant protections to animals, subject to criminal penalties, such as prohibiting the torture or unjustifiable killing of animals (Agriculture and Markets Law § 353), the abandonment of animals in a public place (Agriculture and Markets Law § 355), the transportation of animals in cruel or inhuman manners (Agriculture and Markets Law § 359 ) or by railroad without periodically allowing them out for rest and sustenance (Agriculture and Markets Law § 359 ), and the impounding of animals and then failing to provide them sustenance (see Agriculture and Markets Law § 356). Generally, New Yorkers may not possess primates as pets (Environmental Conservation Law 11-0103  [e] ; 11-0512).
Read The Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v Presti at: