• 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!


Call to Action: Send Hercules and Leo to Save the Chimps NOW


The future of captive chimpanzees Hercules and Leo is now uncertain: it may be years before they find sanctuary.

Their well-being is at stake.

That is why the Nonhuman Rights Project is calling on all Hercules and Leo supporters to

Letter from NhRP President Steven M. Wise re: Hercules and Leo

The first anniversary of the offer of Save the Chimps—a spectacular chimpanzee sanctuary in Ft. Pierce, Florida—to accept and maintain our clients, Hercules and Leo, for the rest of their lives, and at no cost to anyone, is upon us.…

Animal-Exploiting Industries, Take Note

If you knew nothing of the Nonhuman Rights Project, and took for granted the depiction of our organization offered by the individuals and institutions whose practices are most imperiled by it, what would you see?

Not for the first time, …

Making A Legal Difference: Oregon v. Newcomb

On June 16, 2016, in State v. Newcomb, the Oregon Supreme Court examined a fairly common issue that most state and Federal courts have tackled: to what extent the police could seize evidence without a warrant in the course …

Interview with Kevin Schneider re: Tommy, Kiko, Hercules & Leo

In the last month we’ve posted a number of important updates regarding our lawsuits and advocacy on behalf of captive chimpanzees Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, and Leo. I talked to NhRP Executive Director Kevin Schneider to find out more about what’s

Kiko Appeal Filed Manhattan

Documents Filed in Kiko’s Appeal

On May 17, the Nonhuman Rights Project filed its appeal in Kiko’s case in New York’s First Appellate Division in Manhattan.

Before filing the appeal, the NhRP twice moved the court to allow us to file an oversized brief; our …