Chimp loses bid for 'personhood' status

Sept. 28, 2007 at 11:16 AM

VIENNA, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- An Austrian provincial court appeal to declare a chimp named Matthew "Hiasl" Pan a person has been turned down.

Haisl was imported into Austria 25 years ago for use in laboratory experiments but has been living in retirement recently at the Vienna Animal Sanctuary, Arkangel Magazine reported. After the sanctuary declared bankruptcy recently, Haisl faced deportation.

The appeal concerns an application made in February by Martin Balluch, president of an animal rights group, to be granted legal guardianship of Haisl but the chimp needed personhood status before being granted a legal guardian.

Balluch and his legal team said they will appeal to the Austrian High Court in Vienna.

"It is astounding how all the courts try to evade the question of personhood of a chimp as much as they can. After all, chimps share 99.5 percent of genes with us humans," Balluch told the magazine. "The question is: are chimps things without interests, or persons with interests."

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