• 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 Wins Absolute Right To Appeal In Chimpanzee Kiko’s Case

-Hearing scheduled for February 2017 in Manhattan, NY-

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department has affirmed the Nonhuman Rights Project’s absolute right to appeal from a lower court’s Jan. 29, 2016 refusal to issue a writ …

Nonhuman Rights Project Expands Mission and Work Beyond the Courtroom

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) issued the following media alert today:


-As chimpanzee cases enter their latest phase and preparation for first elephant lawsuit nears completion, new NhRP staff are

New Petition Filed on Behalf of Kiko in New York

New York, NY On Nov. 1, 2016, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in New York’s First Department appellate court, seeking to compel a judge of that court to grant Kiko his …

How NYC is Unifying Its Animal Rights Movement

Last Thursday was autumn’s first chilly night in New York City, complete with lashing rains that had fallen as snowflakes just a few hours north. It was definitely a dank trek to NYU School of Law for the inaugural kickoff …

Open letter: The British Government must take global leadership with a ‘total ban’ on the ivory trade

NhRP President Steven M. Wise is a signatory to an open letter calling on the British Government to better protect and promote the survival of wild elephants and take action against the illegal ivory trade. “It is time for the …

New Court Appeal Filed on Behalf of Tommy in New York

New York, NY – On Oct. 28, 2016, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) filed a new appeal in Tommy’s case with the Appellate Division, First Department in Manhattan. The appeal comes in response to the New York County Supreme Court’s …