Skip to content

Happy #EarthDay 2021!

By Mickey Suzuki

Like nonhuman animal rights, rights of nature and ecocentric law reject the idea that the nonhuman world is ours to degrade and exploit.

Today on Earth Day, the Nonhuman Rights Project is pleased to share the latest on our growing involvement with the rights of nature movement:

  1. Recently Ecuador’s Constitutional Court accepted a joint request from the NhRP, environmental lawyer Hugo Echeverria, and Kristen Stilt (Harvard Law Professor and Faculty Director of the Animal Law & Policy Program) to submit an amici curiae (“friends of the court”) brief to that Court, arguing that at least some nonhuman animals should be considered rightsholders under the rights of nature framework already adopted in the country’s Constitution. The Constitutional Court decided to take up the issue of nonhuman animals’ legal status in response to a habeas corpus case about a chorongo monkey who was taken from her natural habitat when she was a baby and died in a zoo after nearly two decades of imprisonment in a human household.
  2. In February of this year, our friends at the Earth Law Center published the first legal coursebook comprehensively addressing ecocentric law and jurisprudence “for students and lawyers who know that nature and human environmental rights need to have seats at the table of law—in courts, legislatures, administrative bodies, enforcement agencies, and civil society.” The NhRP contributed a chapter on nonhuman animal rights, and we look forward to working with ELC to identify opportunities for further collaboration.

In Ecuador, as in most countries around the world, nonhuman animals are considered rightless “things” under the law. The NhRP was founded on the principle that this legal thinghood is archaic, immoral, and unjust. We’ll share our brief after we submit it to the Constitutional Court in the coming months.

Read Kristen Stilt’s “Rights of Nature, Rights of Animals” in The Harvard Law Review, and learn more about the coursebook on ELC’s website.

Thank you for supporting the global struggle for nonhuman rights on Earth Day and every day!

Please consider making a contribution to the NhRP today to help us continue to build a more just world for all.

Sign up to receive the latest updates on our mission

Find out about opportunities to get involved, breaking news in our cases and campaigns, and more.