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We’re heartbroken to share the news that Steven M. Wise–our founder, president, and friend–passed away on February 15th after a long illness. 

A photo of Steven M. Wise smiling as he displays the NhRP's first habeas corpus petition.

No words will be sufficient to describe the immense sadness and sense of loss we feel with his passing. Steve inspired us every day with his relentlessly cheerful determination in the face of any and all obstacles, his fearlessness, his utter clarity on the injustices nonhuman animals endure, and his vision for a world where nonhuman rights are recognized alongside human rights. Steve spent almost every waking hour for the last four decades thinking about the struggle for nonhuman rights. Among lawyers and legal scholars, he was one of the greats–a true visionary, pursuing fundamental change with an awe-inspiring breadth of knowledge of law, history, science, and social justice. 

Whether walking into court together, digging into a court decision with the team on Zoom, or just checking in at the end of a long, difficult workday, working with Steve was always energizing because everything he said and did was infused with his unfailing optimism and his total commitment to the Nonhuman Rights Project. In our fight against human tyranny over nonhuman animals, he also brought a self-deprecating sense of humor and a deep sense of care for the individual well-being of our staff–knowing, from his years of experience, that we’d need both in order to stay strong and keep going. 

As a result, our small, close-knit team has a sense of purpose and solidarity we know will carry us through this extraordinarily difficult moment. 

Steve, we will miss you. We’re grateful beyond words for everything you did to make the world a better place for everyone during your 73 years on earth, and we’re honored to be able to carry on this work in your memory–for as long as it takes. 

Share your memories of Steve here.

Read his obituary in the Washington Post here

Make a donation to the Nonhuman Rights Project in his memory here

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