• 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 Requests Leave to File Reply to “Friend of the Court” Brief Submitted by Richard L. Cupp

On Dec. 7, 2016, the Nonhuman Rights Project requested leave to file a reply to an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief filed Nov. 29 by Richard L. Cupp, Jr. with the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, …

Habeas Corpus Scholars Justin Marceau and Samuel R. Wiseman Request Leave to File “Friends of the Court” Briefs in Support of the Nonhuman Rights Project

On Dec. 5, 2016, Justin Marceau (Professor Of Constitutional and Criminal Law at University Of Denver Sturm College Of Law) and Samuel R. Wiseman (Professor of Constitutional and Criminal Law at Florida State University College Of Law) requested leave to …

Legal Scholar Laurence H. Tribe Requests Leave to File “Friend of the Court” Briefs in Support of the Nonhuman Rights Project

On Dec. 7, 2016, Laurence H. Tribe (Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professional of Constitutional Law at Harvard University) requested leave to file two amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs in support of the Nonhuman Rights Project. One …

What Does It Mean To Be Effective Animal Advocates?

animal-17474_1280A couple weeks back, I spent the weekend in Princeton, New Jersey with some of the most effective animal advocates in the world at a symposium organized and co-sponsored by Animal Charity Evaluators, the Princeton University Center for Human

Nonhuman Rights Project Praises Argentine Court’s Recognition Of Captive Chimpanzee’s Legal Personhood And Rights

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), the only civil rights organization in the United States working to secure legal rights for nonhuman animals, hailed Judge María Alejandra Maurico’s Nov. 3 ruling that a captive chimpanzee named Cecilia at the Mendoza Zoo …

Appellate Court Grants New Hearing in Tommy Chimpanzee Rights Case

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department has scheduled for oral argument the Nonhuman Rights Project’s appeal on behalf of captive chimpanzee Tommy.

At the hearing—scheduled for the January 2017 Term (exact date TBD)—a panel of five …