In October, we wrote about the plight of Matt Pan, a 26-year-old chimp thrust in the middle of a legal debate over personhood.
When Matt’s animal shelter filed for bankruptcy in February, a wealthy businessman came forward offering to pay the costs of the chimp's upkeep, but under Austrian law, only a person can receive gifts. So, a group of activists sought to have Matt, who has the cognitive abilities of a child, declared a person.
But a person Matt is not, Austria's Supreme Court suggested Tuesday. The court rejected the activists’ petition to appoint a trustee for the chimp, affirming a lower court’s ruling that Matt, however endearing, cannot claim personhood, even though chimps and humans share around 99 percent of the same DNA.
The Associated Press reports that the group (not quite) representing Matt, Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories, vowed to drive the matter into the European Court of Human Rights.