A Special Thank-You to Volunteers

Since we began the Nonhuman Rights Project, hundreds of people have given of their time and effort to help gather all the information and resources that we’re using to build our first cases. A special thank to all of you.

Here are some who helped the project in 2012 and who were able to send in some information about themselves:

Theresa Herrera Allen: Policy Researcher: Theresa researched how decisions are made in a group setting. She says: “I want to do anything I can do to hasten the protection of animals from all forms of sanctioned cruelty.” (Volunteer of the month)

Kristin Allen: Psychology and sociology student at Georgetown College. Kristin assisted with compiling scientific articles regarding the intellectual, social, and emotional capacities of elephants. She recently began collecting this information on dolphins, as well. Kristin says: “I believe that it is critical to update our ethical practices and laws based on emerging scientific understanding, and the scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports complex capacities in the animals represented by the NhRP.”

Daniella Bismanovsky: Psychology graduate with a B.S. from Saint Mary’s College and an M.S. in Primate Behavior from Central Washington University, where she worked at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute as a chimpanzee caregiver and an educational liaison to the public. Daniella is now in her first year of law school at Lewis and Clark, where she plans to pursue animal and family law.

Reagan Bush: Family Attorney. Reagan researched old slave freedom statutes as part of the Legal Working Group. She loves animals and aspires to be an Animal Lawyer someday.

Michael Cataldo: Law Student at St. John’s University Law School. Michael worked on the guardian ad litem Project as well as the Habeas Corpus Project. His experience learning about PETA v. SeaWorld in an animal law course got him interested in legal personhood and introduced him to the NhRP.

Elizabeth Caton: Programs director at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. With a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in clinical social work, Elizabeth conducted a database search for scientific research on orangutans for an upcoming court case. Elizabeth says: “I feel strongly about the issue and wanted to get active doing something to help with this cause.”

Heejin Sharon Choi: Law student at Harvard. Heejin has been working on common law flexibility research and memos. She says: “I’ve always been interested in animal protection work, and hearing Steve Wise’s talk at Harvard Law inspired me to volunteer.”

Lauren Choplin: Graduate student in English at Rutgers University. Lauren worked on fundraising and development through email and social media. She says: “I was and am eager to be involved in the fight for the legal rights of nonhuman animals beyond—but also in conjunction with—my academic interests.”

Sarah Cigic: Law student at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Sarah researched guardian ad litem law and Supreme Court opinions in preparation for the search algorithm being developed. She says: “I came to law school because I was interested in prosecuting animal cruelty crimes and working to get stiffer penalties, and I believe the NhRP’s work is an important step towards that goal.”

Shea Cogswell: Animal welfare/behavior with a bachelor’s degree in science. Shea is looking forward to her first project. She says: “I believe that non-human animals need to have more protection to be treated better.”

Tom Cohen: Television Producer. Tom produced a PSA for the NhRP that featured children talking about animal rights. He says: “I was inspired to help because I believe strongly in ‘personhood’ for animals and am driven by my passion to do something about it.” (Volunteer of the month)

Eilidh Dickson: Student in marine biology and environment sciences. She says: “My particular interest is cetaceans, their consciousness and their conservation. And I am now also looking forward to researching gorillas for this project.”

Angie Fagg: Law student at Lewis and Clark Law School. Angie helped out with habeus corpus research. She says: “Animals deserve rights.”

Christine Garcia: Attorney. Christine has conducted extensive research regarding habeas corpus in Texas. She says: “I try to help promote animal rights where I can.”

Camilla Glover: Litigation Secretary and 2L law student at Golden Gate University. Camilla has been doing data compilation of judicial decisions. She says: “I am a law student and vice president for my school’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter, and I am planning to work on animal law upon graduation.”

Ryan Gordon: Attorney. Ryan has been investigating the legal plausibility of using Home Rule/Local Government Law to grant fundamental rights to certain animals within certain jurisdictions, and has outlined Judge Posner writings for use in the project. He says: “I’m not a speciesist.” (Volunteer of the month)

Samantha Goodwin: Law Student at St. Louis University School of Law. Samantha conducted research on the influence that judicial clerks have on judges. She says: “My friend, Kevin Schneider, talked about his work with the group and, because I fully support the group’s efforts, I wanted to get involved.”

Matthew Hamity: Law Student at Berkeley. Matthew has participated in habeas corpus research on Wyoming. He says: “After doing research on the inadequacy of legal protections for laboratory chimpanzees, I wanted to do something to combat the injustice, and the NhRP seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

Ana María Hernández: Attorney. Conducted case law research about fundamental rights and natural law. Ana says: “It is time that our legal system and our society recognize that animals are beings, not property or things.”

Lorien House: Court attorney with the New York State Appellate Division. Conducted legal research for the Habeas Project. She says: “Working for the NhRP was a logical extension of a conversation I’d been having with myself about how to use my legal training in a very concrete and specific way to undo the animals-as-property paradigm.  I was impressed with both the logic of the Project and the amazing people who staff it!”

Valerie Ibarra: Graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s in political science and minor in sociology. She says: “I have long been a human rights advocate, then decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle, which gave me an awareness of the animal rights movement.”

Benjamin Israel: Law student at Northwestern Law School. Benjamin has been researching state laws for upcoming litigation to free animals. He says: “I feel that animal life is systematically undervalued. Most people are horrified by the degrading conditions that animals endure. But as a society, we continue to cause them to suffer unnecessarily. The NhRP’s upcoming litigation has the potential to take substantial strides in advancing animal rights. It was an honor to be involved in the project.”

Dan Levey: Law student at Cardozo Law School. Dan performed research into the common law writs of habeas corpus and de homine replegiando in pre-1776 England. He describes the Nonhuman Rights Project as a “Careful, meticulous, long term approach to achieving success in the animal rights movement.” (Former volunteer of the month)

Samantha Lipman: Founding manager of the U.K.’s Orca Aware campaign. Sam holds a B.Sc. in zoology, is a trained medic and rescue coordinator, and volunteers with numerous other cetacean protection organizations.

Spencer Lo: Studying for the bar. Spencer has been working on predictive analytics and habeas corpus research. He says: “Steve gave a lecture on the NhRP at Columbia Law School, and it inspired me to sign up for the volunteer opportunities.”

Heather MacKinnon: Law student at Valparaiso University School of Law. Heather worked on the predictive analytics project. She says: “Achieving legal person-hood for nonhuman animals was a goal that I wanted to be part of.”

Ashly Martin: Law Student at St. Thomas Law School. Ashly has conducted research for the Sociology Working Group. Ashly got involved after taking “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” with NhRP President, Steven Wise at St. Thomas Law.

Micah McGovern: Law Student at Widener University School of Law. Micah authored a habeas corpus memo on North Carolina, and worked on guardian ad litem projects for Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. He says: “I volunteered for NhRP because I have a passion and interest in the area of Animal Law.”

Blake Mills: Litigation Associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. Blake is currently drafting an article on the writ de homine replegiando. He was inspired to work for the NhRP after taking a summer course in animal rights law with NhRP President, Steven Wise. (Volunteer of the month)

Holly Moncavage: Law student at Penn State. Holly was a member of the habeas corpus working group, and completed her research on the state of Mississippi. She is currently working on a sociology project examining the educational, legal, and personal backgrounds of each justice on the supreme courts of Michigan and Massachusetts. Holly says: “Taking an animal law class last spring opened my eyes to the lack of legal protection in place for all nonhuman animals, even companion animals. The Nonhuman Rights Project was approaching this issue in an innovative and very thoughtful way.”

Margaret M. Sadoff: Attorney. Margaret researched the Guantanamo Bay cases for habeas corpus issues. She says, “I thought the NhRP was taking a rather unique and exciting approach to advancing animal rights and I wanted to play some small part in that.”

Melanie Sartore-Baldwin: Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at East Carolina University, where she researches issues of diversity and social justice and the impact of stereotyping in relation to the attitudes of majority and minority group members. Melanie is developing and building the biblio database.

Jay Shooster: Non-profit director. Jay worked on fundraising and development through email and social media. He says: “I have a dream that one day, the treatment of individuals will not be determined by the species to which they belong, but by the merits of the qualities they possess.”

Beth Snead: Assistant acquisitions editor at the University of Georgia Press. Beth is a part of the NhRP science team. She collects and archives scientific research on cognition, intelligence, and self-awareness in chimpanzees. Beth says “I was inspired to volunteer for the Nonhuman Rights Project after reading a variety of literature on chimpanzees, including Jane Goodall’s In the Shadow of Man, Roger Fouts’ Next of Kin, and Dale Peterson’s Visions of Caliban.

Steven Tauber: University professor and political scientist, Chair of the Department of Government & International Affairs at the University of South Florida. Steven has been advising on the way social scientists study judicial outcomes and finding ways to apply the key variables in judicial decision making to animal rights. He says: “I was inspired by Steve Wise’s groundbreaking work in animal law. Rattling the Cage was one of the first books I read, and I was extremely impressed with his ability to blend scholarship with advocacy.”

Russell Tenofsky: Writer/editor. Russell works with the Editorial Board to write and edit news about and surrounding the work of the NhRP. This includes compiling stories for the monthly newsletter and producing individual items for the web site, Facebook, Twitter and other online forums. He has also assisted in creating and compiling a media contacts list. Russell says: “I have long believed that erasing the property status of animals is the only way to garner them actual individual rights. The NhRP is the only organization that I know of that is working solely to elevate animals beyond their status as mere property.” (Volunteer of the month)

Laura Vander Meiden: Currently studying biology, marine science, ecosystem science and policy, and journalism at the University of Miami, and at Cornell’s Shoals Marine Lab, and Harriet Wilkes Honors College.

Kimberly Vardeman: Office coordinator for the Farquhar College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University, where she is completing a master’s in Cross-Disciplinary Studies. As well as humane education, Kimberly has expertise in environmental sustainability, animal rights, biodiversity, and qualitative research.

Amanda Wight: A neuroscience and behavioral biology major with an ethics minor at Emory, Amanda is researching the behavior, social relationships and emotions of belugas. She says: “In the future, I hope to study animals in the field and use those findings to advocate on their behalf.”

Travis Wilbanks: Insurance agent at Metlife. Travis worked on both the predictive analytics and guardian ad litem projects. He says: “I was inspired by my love and my want to be able to do something for innocent animals that can’t protect themselves from humans.”

Rose Wilkinson: Law student at George Washington University. Rose worked on a paper about judicial decision making and developed a cetacean release database. She says, “I am passionate about primates, and I want to see them fully protected by law.”

Special thanks also to the following:

Charles Agoos Brian Lowe
Suzanne Alton Kelly Lusk
Nick Anderson Matthew Miceli
Myriam Arsenault-Jacques Corey Mishler
Christi Brockway Joshua Proulx
Matthew Carroll-Schmidt Tao Qu
Marissa Curran Dan Rockmore
Lora Dunn Jessica Rubin
David Favre Katrina Sharman
Andrew Flynn Kevin Schneider (Volunteer of the Month)
Nick Foti Barbara Singer
James Frankie Elizabeth Stein (Volunteer of the Month)
Jeff Friedman (Volunteer of the Month) Kristen Stilt (Volunteer of the Month)
Jason Hardy Peter Sumners
Ben Israel Joyce Tischler
Jennifer Levy Wendy Wyeth
Jennifer Lonergan

We look forward to working with you and many more in 2013.

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