By Lauren Choplin
NhRP Communications Director
May 31, 2017
Humans have all the power to determine the fate of other species.
For NhRP supporters, this statement doesn’t describe a status quo that must be maintained at all costs. It points to an opportunity to translate what we know about other species (and how we’ve exploited and harmed them and their habitats) into a long overdue change in their legal status—from legal “things” with no rights to legal “persons” with fundamental rights.
To make this happen, we need persistence and positivity, which is the theme of this edition of the NhRP Insiders newsletter!
“Meant to Be Free”
I’m biased, of course, but in my opinion, no one is more persistent and positive than NhRP President Steven M. Wise. He’s as important to the nonhuman rights movement for this reason as much as for his legal mind, I think! That’s why I’m delighted to share with NhRP Insiders the new music video for “Meant to Be Free,” an original song by Steve and Alex Forbes. Check out this blog post for the video and the story behind it!
We’re still waiting for the appellate ruling in our New York litigation on behalf of chimpanzees Tommy and Kiko. Check out this HuffPost article for Steve’s reflections on their court cases, beginning with the moment he first saw Tommy in that steel-and-cement cage.
It’s the legal team’s persistence in the face of what they knew to be a legal error in a previous appellate court’s ruling in Tommy’s case that led to Black’s Law Dictionary agreeing to correct its definition of a legal person to make clear that legal persons don’t need to be able to bear duties. In case you missed it, YES! Magazine covered this important development in its Peace & Justice section.
Steve also just published a new blog post on our website about his recent trip to California, including a talk at the California Supreme Court. “In many ways,” Steve writes, “this trip exemplified what the Nonhuman Rights Project is all about.” We expect to be active in California soon.
Support from scientists
Thank you to NhRP supporters Barbara J. King and Inci Demirkanli for allowing us to highlight on our blog their optimism—as members of the scientific community—about the potential for the nonhuman rights movement to lead to changes in how we view and treat other animals. Barbara is a contributor to the NPR’s 13.7: Cosmos & Culture, professor emerita of anthropology at the College of William & Mary, and author of seven books, including the newly published Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. Inci is a senior scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Lab. You can read our interview with Barbara here and our profile of Inci here.
Coming up soon
Lastly, get ready for a lot of NhRP activity on behalf of nonhuman animals in June and over the course of this summer, including the filing of our first habeas petition on behalf of captive elephants. We’ll need your persistence and positivity to help raise awareness of our clients’ stories and how and why we’re working to free them to a sanctuary. As Matthew Dominguez, our Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, said in a recent interview with Animal Talk (podcast coming soon), “It’s time to stop making cages bigger and recognize the fundamental rights of nonhuman animals.”
Thank you as always for your support!
P.S. Unlocking the Cage is now available via DVD!
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