• The Nonhuman Rights Project

    Why the Nonhuman Rights Project Is Unique

    The Nonhuman Rights Project is unlike any other organization in the world. Why? Because we’re the only group fighting for actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. The way our law currently categorizes animals is wrong; …

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    Why ‘Animal Rights’ Is a Contradiction in Terms

    Hundreds of organizations say they work for “animal rights.” But the only animal with legal rights is the human animal. No other animal has any rights at all. None.

    How come?

    To have a legal right, one must have the …

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    Are You a Legal ‘Person’ or a Legal ‘Thing’?

    For a very long time, a thick legal wall has separated humans from all the other animals.

    In Western law, every nonhuman animal has always been regarded as a legal “thing.” We buy, sell, eat, hunt, ride, trap, vivisect, and …

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    What Kinds of Rights Are We Seeking for Nonhuman Animals?

    We begin by seeking two kinds of fundamental rights for our nonhuman plaintiffs: bodily liberty and bodily integrity.

    Bodily liberty means not being held in captivity. For a chimpanzee, it means not spending life in a laboratory; for an elephant, …

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    How We Select Our Plaintiffs

    Three criteria determine how we select plaintiffs:

    1. We look at the bedrock qualities courts value when determining whether an individual is a “legal person” who should possess certain fundamental rights.
    2. We examine the relevant judicial decisions and statutes of every
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    How We Go About Filing Our Cases

    By the end of 2013, the Nonhuman Rights Project will have launched the first in a series of lawsuits that demand that American state high courts:

    1. Declare certain nonhuman animal plaintiffs to be common law “persons” who possess the capacity
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The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only organization working toward actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own.

Our mission is to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.

Our first cases were filed in December 2013, and this year we will file as many suits as we have funds available. Your support of this work is deeply appreciated.

Highlights

Speaking of Elephants

October 8, 2014 - Albany, New York USA: Attorney Steve Wise of The Nonhuman Rights Project argues its case on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee in New York state who supporters argue is being unlawfully held against his will. In a press release, the NhRP explained their hopes for Tommy, as well as three other chimpanzees also believed to be held against their will in a couple New York-based facilities. (Adam Nadel/Polaris) /// 

Last week I brought news of the work of the Nonhuman Rights Project to California and found myself in numerous discussions about elephants.

I began in Palo Alto having brunch with Letitia Kornberg, who has lived in Kenya, knows about …

Tommy’s Appeal – What the Judges May Say

October 8, 2014 - Albany, New York USA: Attorney Steve Wise of The Nonhuman Rights Project argues its case on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee in New York state who supporters argue is being unlawfully held against his will. In a press release, the NhRP explained their hopes for Tommy, as well as three other chimpanzees also believed to be held against their will in a couple New York-based facilities. (Adam Nadel/Polaris) ///

By Steven M. Wise

Every day at noon, we check the website of New York State’s Third Appellate Department to see if the judges have issued their decision in Tommy the chimpanzee’s case. We don’t know which day the decision …

Chimpanzees Using Leaves as Sponges

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A fascinating new study has shown chimpanzees in the wild learning to use new tools by watching other chimpanzees use them first.

A team of scientists directly observed individual members of the Sonso chimpanzee community of Uganda’s Budongo Forest learning …

News Reports on Tommy’s Appeal

Here’s a selection of the hundreds of news reports, blogs, opinion pieces and TV and radio segments regarding the oral arguments, October 8th, at the new York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department in the "Tommy" case:

* Brandon …

Dipping for Ants

New research has shown that West African chimpanzees follow the long-held carpenter’s credo: "The right tool for the job." It appears the chimpanzees will go far and wide to find the shrub that grows the perfect branches needed to both …

The Wall Street Journal Explains Tommy’s Case

Here’s a fun video from the Wall Street Journal’s "Short Answer" series. In just 1 minute 54 secs, it explains the basic legal issues involved in the NhRP’s effort to secure the right to bodily liberty for the four chimpanzees …