Can a chimp be a "person"?

An Austrian provincial judge refused today to declare that Matthew Hiast Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, is a person. Now, animal rights activists intend to take the case to the country's Supreme Court. According to the Association Against Animal Factories, "personhood" is the only way to make sure that Pan, who previously lived in a now-bankrupt shelter, doesn't end up under nasty ownership outside of Austria. From the Associated Press:

The Association Against Animal Factories says it's not trying to get Pan declared a human, but rather a person, which would give some legal status. Otherwise, he is legally a thing.

"The question is: Are chimps things without interests, or persons with interests?" Balluch said.

"A large section of the public does see chimps as beings with interests," he said. "We are looking forward to hear what the high court has to say on this fundamental question."

Link (Thanks, Xeni!)