Colombian Court Grants Writ of Habeas Corpus to Captive Bear
NhRP sees victory as sign of progress in the global fight for recognition of nonhuman rights
For Immediate Release:
July 28, 2017
NhRP Communications Director
New York, N.Y.—Below, please find a statement from NhRP President Steven M. Wise in response to the news that Luis Domingo Maldonado (Professor of Law at the Universidad Manuela Beltrán) has secured a writ of habeas corpus for and recognition of the fundamental rights of a captive spectacled bear (oso de anteojos) named Chucho in Colombia:
We at the Nonhuman Rights Project congratulate Professor Maldonado on this well-deserved victory and commend Judge Luis Armando Tolosa Villabona for his decision, which will be life-changing for Chucho. Soon Chucho will join chimpanzee Cecilia as the first two nonhuman animals to be freed from captivity using writs of habeas corpus. They will not be the last. Despite the numerous opportunities provided by the NhRP’s litigation on behalf of captive chimpanzees Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, and Leo, the New York courts have yet to engage in the mature weighing of public policy, moral principle, and justice needed to ascertain the rights of nonhuman animals, as the Cecilia court and now the Chucho court have done. But, in part because of victories like Cecilia’s and Chucho’s, we remain entirely confident this will eventually occur as we continue to present our nonhuman animal clients’ just demands for liberty.
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About the Nonhuman Rights Project
Founded in 1996 by attorney Steven M. Wise, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) is the only civil rights organization working to achieve actual legal rights for members of species other than our own. Our mission is to change the legal 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 current plaintiffs are members of species who have been scientifically proven to be autonomous: currently, great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales. We are working with teams of attorneys on four continents to develop campaigns to achieve legal rights for nonhuman animals that are suited to the legal systems of these countries. Our first cases were filed in December of 2013.
About NhRP President Steven M. Wise
Steven M. Wise began his mission to gain rights for nonhuman animals in 1985. He holds a J.D. from Boston University Law School and a B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary. He has practiced animal protection law for four decades and is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Professor Wise taught the first class in “Animal Rights Law” at the Harvard Law School and is currently teaching “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” at the Lewis and Clark Law School and Vermont Law School. He is the author of four books: Rattling the Cage – Toward Legal Rights for Animals; Drawing the Line – Science and the Case for Animal Rights; Though the Heavens May Fall – The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery; and An American Trilogy – Death, Slavery, and Dominion Along the Banks of the Cape Fear River. His TED Talk from the TED2015 Conference in Vancouver, Canada was released in May of 2015, and has over one million views.