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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.


Appeals Court Sets Date for First Chimpanzee Lawsuit

Tommy the chimpanzee is headed back to court. He won’t be there in person, but the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) is appealing a December ruling of a lower court that denied him the legal right to “bodily liberty.” (Setting of new precedents is generally left to the higher courts.) You’ll recall that Tommy is one [...]

Steven Wise & Stephen Colbert

Here’s the video from The Colbert Report last night. All great fun, with Colbert, in classic form as the blowhard fundamentalist, telling Wise that “animals are animals, humans are humans, and never the twain shall meet, READ YOUR BIBLE!”

Appellate Court Enters Two Orders re. Tommy Lawsuit

The State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department has entered two orders that favor the Nonhuman Rights Project in Tommy’s case.

A ‘Dictionary’ of Chimpanzee Sign Language

Stand aside, Noah Webster. A new study has just created a “dictionary” for chimpanzee sign language. As published in Current Biology, scientists from the University of St. Andrews say they have “translated” the meanings of 66 distinct chimpanzee gestures. The scientists created the dictionary by studying 80 wild chimpanzees in Uganda. They examined over 4,500 [...]

Chimpanzees Cooperate, Choose Partners

In the ongoing effort to better understand evolution, new studies at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station have shown that chimpanzees will spontaneously cooperate with a partner, or partners, of their choosing. The studies were designed to “push the boundaries of cooperation among captive chimpanzees” and allowed the chimpanzees to both participate and [...]

National Aquarium Questions Captivity of Dolphins

The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland has embarked on a revolutionary discussion: Should they retire their captive dolphins to a sanctuary? John Racanelli, the aquarium’s CEO, recently began a process he dubbed “BLUEprint” – a multi-disciplinary endeavor to explore and re-evaluate how the aquarium can better depict the relationship between humans and the ocean. “We [...]