NhRP Statement on Trump Administration Reversing Ban on Elephant Trophies From Africa
Nov. 16, 2017, New York, N.Y.—The Nonhuman Rights Project is appalled by the latest actions of the Trump administration to lift the ban on importing elephant trophies from Africa. His actions will lead to a surge in wildlife trafficking and the slaughter of countless elephants. It is ironic that this announcement came on the same week we filed the first-ever lawsuit on behalf of captive elephants seeking recognition of their right to bodily liberty here in the US. We have always been committed to the well-being of members of this extraordinarily complex (and endangered) species, and we hope this latest travesty against the most vulnerable from the Trump administration shows the courts why it is imperative to recognize our elephant clients as “legal persons” with fundamental rights.
Currently, the US court system considers all nonhuman animals legal “things” with no rights, despite the abundance of scientific evidence that disputes that claim.
We are optimistic that the courts will agree with us and release our elephant clients to a sanctuary. As the only civil rights organization devoted to securing rights for nonhuman animals, we have already achieved significant milestones in the US court system with our chimpanzee clients. Among those milestones was a New York court’s 2015 decision to grant a hearing to determine the lawfulness of a nonhuman animal’s detainment, a first in the US court system.
Nonhuman Rights Project Founder and President Steven Wise is available for interviews to discuss his group’s legal actions to protect elephants and other autonomous animals, and why those actions are necessary.
About the Nonhuman Rights Project
Founded in 1996 by attorney Steven M. Wise, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) works to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals through litigation, advocacy, and education. 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. We filed our first cases 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 has taught “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” at the Stanford Law School, as well as the University of Miami, St. Thomas, and John Marshall Law Schools, 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.