• 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 working through the common law to achieve actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. The way our law …

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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 through the common law to achieve 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

Chimpanzees Use Rhythmic Drumming to Communicate

The Hollywood stereotype of chimpanzees drumming on hollow logs as if they were bongos may actually have some validity. Not only do adult male chimpanzees use rhythmic drumming to communicate with one another, but also individual chimpanzees each have their …

Sandra: The Plot Thickens

In the matter of the Argentina case of Sandra the Orangutan, the plot thickens.

On December 24, 2014, I wrote that The Nonhuman Rights Project has been eagerly following the December 18 appellate court ruling concerning Sandra the orangutan, as …

Legal Whac-a-Mole

Yesterday, January 2, 2015, the last of three intermediate appellate courts weighed in on the initial habeas corpus lawsuits the Nonhuman Rights Project brought during the first week of 2013 on behalf of four chimpanzees, Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, and Leo, …

Appellate Decision in the Case of Kiko

The Nonhuman Rights Project issued the following press release this afternoon:

Appellate Decision Handed Down in the Case of Kiko the Chimpanzee

January 2nd, 2015: The New York State Appellate Court, Fourth Judicial Department, issued its decision this afternoon, January

Reviewing the Case of Sandra the Orangutan in Argentine

December 24, 2014: The Nonhuman Rights Project has been following the December 18, 2014, appellate court ruling concerning Sandra the orangutan.

The initial media reports were expansive and contained numerous exciting quotations from the judges’ decision. We downloaded the …

Copy & Translation of Argentine Court Ruling

In a post on this website yesterday, we noted reports from Reuters News Service and La Nacion that “An orangutan held in an Argentine zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as …