• 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

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 …

Tommy’s Owner Speaks

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It was probably a good idea for Patrick Lavery, the "owner" of Tommy the chimpanzee, not to make an appearance at the appellate court in Albany, NY, yesterday. Check out what he told a TV reporter.…

Inside the Courtroom at Tommy’s Appeal

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It was a packed courtroom at the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, in Albany, NY, for the Matter of the Nonhuman Rights Project v. Lavery, 518336 – better known as Tommy the chimpanzee’s appeal hearing.…

Appellate Court Hearing in Tommy Case

Oral argument was heard on October 8th in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department in the “Tommy” case filed in December 2013 by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) demanding that the court issue a writ of …

Moot Court Rehearsal

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When an appellate court hears your oral arguments, you don’t have a lot of time to make your case – often no more than 10 minutes. And before you’ve even finished your first sentence, you’re quite likely to have been …

Chimpanzee Eyes Demonstrate Empathy

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Research has revealed that chimpanzees share an evolutionary trait only previously seen in humans, the ability to empathize with other chimpanzees by duplicating their pupil size. Scientists believe that the involuntary matching of another individual’s pupil size reinforces social bonds …