• 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 and the Writ De Homine Replegiando: An Interview with Blake M. Mills

Blake M. Mills, a volunteer attorney for the Nonhuman Rights Project, is the lead author of a law review article—“The Writ De Homine Replegiando: A Common Law Path to Nonhuman Animal Rights”—that was just published in the Spring 2015 issue …

Steven Wise on ABC’s Lateline in Australia

While in Australia as the keynote speaker for the Voiceless Animal Law Lecture Series, NhRP President Steven M. Wise was a featured guest on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s news and current affairs show Lateline.

Steve talked to host …

Update on Hercules and Leo Order to Show Cause

This afternoon Judge Barbara Jaffe amended yesterday’s ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE & WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS by striking out the words “& WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS” from the title of her Order. This case is one of a trio of …

Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons, Grants them Writ of Habeas Corpus

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


First Time in World History Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons, Grants them Writ of Habeas Corpus

April 20, 2015 – New York, NY – For

NhRP Files Motion for Leave to Appeal to Court of Appeals in Kiko’s Case

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) has filed a Motion for Leave to Appeal to the Court of Appeals directly with the Court of Appeals in the case of Kiko the chimpanzee.

On January 2, 2015, the  intermediate appellate court hearing …

Lawsuit Re-filed on Behalf of Hercules & Leo

The Nonhuman Rights Project issued the following media alert this morning:

The NhRP Re-Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Chimpanzee Plaintiffs Used in Research

March 23, 2015—New York, NY—The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) has re-filed a petition for a writ