• 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 fighting for actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. The way our law currently categorizes animals is wrong; …

  • chai-insemination-120412.jpg

    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 …

  • Jeff-chimphaven.jpg

    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 …

  • blackfish-1-012213.jpg

    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, …

  • chimps-ultimatum-game-012613.jpg

    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
  • elephants-circus-3

    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
Facebook   Twitter   Google Plus   RSS

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.


Appellate Court Decision in Tommy Case

The New York State Appellate Court, Third Judicial Department, issued its decision this morning, December 5th, 2014, in the case of Tommy the Chimpanzee.

Noting that the Nonhuman Rights Project ”requests that this Court enlarge the common-law definition of ‘person’ …

Update on Oral Arguments in the Appeal of Kiko the Chimpanzee

The hearing was held this afternoon, December 2nd 2014, at the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division Fourth Judicial Department in Rochester, NY, before the following justices: Hon. Nancy E. Smith, Hon. Erin M. Peradotto, Hon. …

The Difference between Common Law and Civil Law


It was recently reported that an Argentinian organization called The Organization of Professional Attorneys for the Rights of Animals was rebuffed by a judge in its attempt to free an orangutan named Sandra, who is imprisoned in a Buenos Aires …

Chimpanzees Get Up Early for Best Breakfast

Chimp-eating-figThe early bird gets the worm. Now it appears that the early chimpanzee gets the fig because, apparently, chimpanzees also believe the axiom: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

Chimpanzees are large-brained animals and those large brains …

At Home and Abroad

The U.S.-based Nonhuman Rights Project has begun to spread its ideas of nonhuman personhood internationally. In a six-month pilot program, we have identified lawyers’ groups in five other countries – Switzerland, the UK, Argentina, Spain, and Portugal – who are …

Speaking of Elephants

October 8, 2014 - Albany, New York USA: Attorney Steve Wise of The Nonhuman Rights Project argues its case on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee in New York state who supporters argue is being unlawfully held against his will. In a press release, the NhRP explained their hopes for Tommy, as well as three other chimpanzees also believed to be held against their will in a couple New York-based facilities. (Adam Nadel/Polaris) /// 

Last week I brought news of the work of the Nonhuman Rights Project to California and found myself in numerous discussions about elephants.

I began in Palo Alto having brunch with Letitia Kornberg, who has lived in Kenya, knows about …