"Our main argument is that Hiasl is a person and has basic legal rights," said Eberhart Theuer, a lawyer leading the challenge on behalf of the Association Against Animal Factories, a Vienna animal rights group.
"We mean the right to life, the right to not be tortured, the right to freedom under certain conditions," Theuer said.
"We're not talking about the right to vote here."
But not all animal rights people are eager to blur the distinction between animal and human so much.
Not all Austrian animal rights activists back the legal challenge. Michael Antolini, president of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he thinks it's absurd.
"I'm not about to make myself look like a fool" by getting involved, said Antolini, who worries that chimpanzees could gain broader rights, such as copyright protections on their photographs.
Hey, with more rights come more responsibilities. Animal rights people should be careful what they wish for, or we just might start seeing chimps in our jury pools.