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.


NhRP Is New York Times Magazine Cover Story

Renowned author and journalist Charles Siebert writes about the Nonhuman Rights Project for this week’s cover story in the New York Times Magazine. Siebert accompanies attorney Steven Wise as he drives to the used trailer lot where Tommy the chimpanzee is being held in a dark shed. He attends the many meetings where the legal team is [...]

Update on Appeals in NY State Chimpanzee Lawsuits

In January, the Nonhuman Rights Project filed notices of appeal in each of our three cases on behalf of chimpanzees in New York State. We filed them in three separate appellate courts according to where the original lawsuits were filed. Tommy’s appeal was filed in the Third Judicial Department; Kiko’s appeal was filed in the [...]

Elephants Distinguish Voices & Languages

The intelligence of elephants and their ability to comprehend the world around them continues to astound scientists. It was recently discovered that elephants have a specific rumble for “human” and an “alarm” for bees. And now we’re learning that the elephants living in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park can distinguish between the voices and languages of [...]

Chimpanzees Use Gestures to Communicate

A team of scientists recently discovered that chimpanzees are capable of using gestures to successfully relay information to humans about the location of hidden objects. An experiment conducted at Georgia State University’s Language Research Center* showed that the chimpanzees Panzee and Sherman, who were both raised by humans, possess the ability to use a variety [...]

Notices of Appeal in New York State Petitions

January 10th, 2014: The Nonhuman Rights Project today filed Notices of Appeal in the cases of Tommy (NY State Third Judicial Department), Kiko (Fourth Judicial Department), and Hercules and Leo (Second Judicial Department). Each lawsuit involves a separate appeal, and since the chimpanzees are imprisoned in three different judicial departments, there will be three separate [...]

Dr. Lori Marino Talks about the Science of the Nonhuman Rights Project

On December 7, 2013 Lori Marino spoke on “The Science of the Nonhuman Rights Project” at the Personhood Beyond the Human conference at Yale University. The Personhood Beyond the Human conference was organized by the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics at Yale University, Yale’s Animal Ethics Group and Yale’s [...]