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Steven M. Wise (1950-2024)


An innovative scholar and groundbreaking expert on animal law, Steven M. Wise founded and, for 28 years, served as president of the NhRP. As the NhRP’s lead attorney, he filed historic lawsuits demanding the right to liberty of captive chimpanzees and elephants, achieving widely recognized legal firsts for his clients. Wise was the author of four books, including Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals and Though the Heavens May Fall: The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery. Wise was also a leading force in the development of animal law as a distinct academic curriculum, teaching the first-ever animal law course offered at Harvard University in 2000. Throughout his tenure at the NhRP, he remained committed to educating the next generation of animal rights lawyers, teaching animal rights jurisprudence around the world. Read about Steve’s life and accomplishments and share your memories of Steve here.

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