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Nonhuman animal rights: how to help right now

By Lauren Choplin

For countless nonhuman animals, a lifetime of imprisonment, loneliness, and loss is all they’ll ever know. Imagine a world in which we refuse to allow the most vulnerable among us—including other animals—to suffer simply because they’re considered other; less than; “things.” That’s the world the NhRP is fighting for.

While we take good care of ourselves, support our communities, and do all we can to assist those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic (first and foremost by staying at home!), NhRP staff are continuing to work around the clock to fight for nonhuman animal rights. From drafting the most rigorous legal briefs possible, to preparing to launch litigation and legislation in California, to gathering scientific evidence to expand our client list to other species, to supporting NhRP legal working groups in Canada, Israel, India, and other countries, we aren’t slowing down one bit. For the sake of the animals themselves and the values of principles of justice that we collectively undermine every day that we deny rights to other beings—simply because we wrongly view them as “not like us”—we have to fight harder than ever.

Since social distancing began and for the foreseeable future, we won’t be holding rallies or urging our supporters to contact elected officials (out of respect for their need to focus on helping their constituents combat COVID-19). However, there’s still a lot you can do right now to help us build a more just world for all:


Join the nearly 400,000 people who’ve signed a petition calling for freedom and sanctuary for Minnie. Join the over 1.3 million people who’ve signed a petition calling for freedom and sanctuary for Happy.


Share NhRP blogs and social media posts with friends and family to raise awareness about Happy and Minnie’s plights, the need for nonhuman rights, and the better lives that are still possible for them in The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee or the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary. One of our recent favorites is this blog post written by a young person who knew our elephant client Karen when he was a child. As he explains, his reflections on the circumstances of her life and death led him to join the fight for elephant rights.


If you haven’t already, sign up to receive email updates from the NhRP. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.


If you see an article about imprisoned or exploited animals, comment online or submit a letter to the editor. How does the article reinforce the need for nonhuman rights? How might you use the article as an opportunity to highlight why we need to change how animals are viewed and treated under the law? If it’s an article in a local paper, how can you draw on your perspective as an area resident to help make your point? Mention the work of the NhRP, why animals deserve respect, and the need for nonhuman rights.

Use journaling to reflect on why you care about the well-being of people and animals and why you support nonhuman rights. What experiences led you to become an NhRP supporter? Why is this cause important to you? What kind of world for people and animals do you want to help build? Post your writing on your social media pages or submit it to NhRP Communications Director Lauren Choplin for consideration as a guest blog post or inclusion in our new nonhuman rights “Origin Stories” series or our longstanding “Rumble For Rights” series.

If you live in Connecticut, where our elephant client Minnie is imprisoned in a traveling circus called the Commerford Zoo, draft (but don’t yet send) a support letter to the Environment Committee asking them to vote in favor of pending legislation to ban traveling animal acts. You can submit the letter once the legislature reopens. Click here for more information, and email NhRP Director of Government Relations Courtney Fern for draft language or further assistance.


We understand giving might be difficult right now. We deeply appreciate all forms of support, financial or otherwise. Please email NhRP Development Director Mickey Suzuki for ideas and options or visit this page.

For example, if you need a snuggly new hoodie for your at-home wear, check out our online store. If you use Amazon, an easy way you can support the NhRP is to shop via and select us as your charity of choice. Amazon will then donate .5% of the cost of your purchase to the NhRP.

If you’re currently in a position to set up a recurring donation to the NhRP via EveryAction or PayPal, you’ll help our small staff engage in the long-term planning that best serves the animals we seek to free.

Whether you can donate now or not, please know your support itself for a mission like ours, which aims to fundamentally change the legal status quo for animals, means the world to us. Especially on the difficult days, we always find it energizing and inspiring to read your emails and social media comments in which you share your passion for the nonhuman rights cause. Please keep them coming, and we’ll respond personally as soon as we can!


Last but not least, now is a crucial time to make sure you’re taking care of the most important part of all of the above: you! Needless to say, this is an extraordinarily difficult time for all. Please make sure you’re taking good yourself and, as an activist, being mindful of the potential for compassion fatigue and burnout. If you’re on our email list, soon we’ll share a “virtual care package” with our favorite books, movies, podcasts, and more pertaining to nonhuman rights in the hope we can bring a little cheer to your inbox.

Thank you as always for being part of the NhRP community!

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