• 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 civil rights organization in the United States working to achieve actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own.
Our mission is to change the legal status of appropriate 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.
Our first cases were filed in 2013 on behalf of captive chimpanzees; we plan to continue to file as many lawsuits as we have funds available. Your support of this work is deeply appreciated!


Nonhuman Rights Project Statement on Dolphinaris Arizona

On Oct. 15 in Scottsdale, Arizona, a foreign-owned aquarium featuring eight bottlenose dolphins—shipped to the desert from California and Mexico—will have its grand opening celebration. At Dolphinaris Arizona, the general public can pay for “dolphin experiences” that allow visitors to …

An Interview with Jay Shooster of NYC United for Animals


On Oct. 27 at the NYU School of Law, the Nonhuman Rights Project will join hundreds of other animal advocates for NYC United for Animals‘ first-ever forum! NYC United for Animals is a platform for new and established advocates …

Nonhuman Rights Project Statement on New England Anti-Vivisection Society V. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

“The injured have no rights, and those with rights are not injured.” – Steven M. Wise, founder and President, the Nonhuman Rights Project

On Sept. 15, a federal district judge in Washington, D.C. dismissed the New England Anti-Vivisection Society’s lawsuit …

Now Hiring: Campaigns Director

Position Summary

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) seeks a motivated, committed, and highly organized professional with significant issue-campaigning experience (animal protection campaigning is a plus); experience with database and other organizing technology; and an ability to work well independently.

The …

Now Hiring: Director of Development

Director of Development, Nonhuman Rights Project

Position Summary:

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) seeks a motivated, committed, and highly organized professional with development experience and proven success in building fundraising programs and securing major gifts at the five- and six-figure …

Tommy: A Missing “Thing” Who Should be a Missing “Person”


He didn’t ask for it, but Tommy has been a celebrity for much of his life.

In the 80’s, he starred alongside Matthew Broderick in the film Project X.

Later, he was a well-known circus performer in upstate New York.…