Hello from the Nonhuman Rights Project! I’m writing to share with you some important news concerning our chimpanzee cases, Unlocking the Cage, recent and upcoming NhRP talks and events, and more:
Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, and Leo: Foremost among the developments in our campaign to free our chimpanzee plaintiffs from captivity is the DeYoung Zoo’s refusal to verify Tommy’s location in Michigan. As NhRP President Steven M. Wise told The Dodo, "We are seeking all relevant records about Tommy from the appropriate New York, Michigan and federal agencies. We will not rest until we find him and have him sent to Save the Chimps sanctuary.” We also filed our brief in the First Department in Kiko’s appeal and expect a hearing later this year. We plan to attack head-on the erroneous claim that chimpanzees can’t bear duties and responsibilities and therefore aren’t entitled to recognition of their legal personhood and rights. Finally, we continue to demand that the New Iberia Research Center transfers Hercules and Leo to sanctuary without delay. I recently talked to NhRP Communications Manager Lauren Choplin about all that’s been happening lately; you can read the interview on our blog.
Unlocking the Cage: Audiences all over the US and around the world have responded enthusiastically to Chris Hegedus’ and D A Pennebaker’s new documentary about the NhRP. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott is among them: “Unlocking the Cage is energized by the sense of recording an early chapter in a long history,” he writes. “Some of Mr. Wise’s positions may seem radically counterintuitive. How can a being without human language or human culture have standing to seek redress from human institutions? But it is also possible that practices and attitudes now widely taken as natural will look arbitrary and cruel to future generations, and that the future will arrive sooner than many of us expect. It wouldn’t be the first time."
On June 24th, the film will have its Los Angeles premiere at the Laemmle Monica Film Center followed by a special NhRP vegan-friendly after party with Steve, Chris, and D A. You can purchase tickets for the LA run here and for the after party here. We hope to see some of you there!
I’m pleased to report that the New York premiere and after party were a resounding success. We loved being able to meet and talk with so many NhRP supporters. Thanks to everyone who joined us! Check out animal rights magazine Their Turn’scoverage of the event here and view photos here.
Unlocking the Cage will be broadcast as part of BBC4 series Storyville on June 22; it won’t arrive on HBO until later this year or early next. For more info on screenings, visit the official Unlocking the Cage website.
NhRP President Steven M. Wise in Europe: Steve was in London on June 14 to help celebrate the London premiere ofUnlocking the Cage. On June 13, he spoke with the Association of Lawyers for Animal Welfare (soon to be the UK Center for Animal Law). At the beginning of June, he participated in a Q&A at the European premiere of Unlocking the Cage in Barcelona and taught at the Autonomous University of Barcelona Law School. He reports that, as usual, the classes were filled with smart and curious students. On Friday June 17 he’ll be in Berlin for a two-hour discussion on primate rights.
Harambe: In a widely circulated op-ed published in the New York Post, Steve emphasizes that the core issue concerning the death of gorilla Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo is the fact that his fundamental rights were violated in life: “Harambe, life every other nonhuman animal, was a legal ‘thing’ that lacked the capacity for any legal rights, even the fundamental rights to his life and liberty.”
NhRP FAQ: People sometimes wonder why we’re called the Nonhuman Rights Project. We use the term “nonhuman” as a reminder that human beings are also animals: the only animals currently recognized as having any legal rights. This needs to change.
Thank you for your continued support for the NhRP, and see you in court!
Kevin Schneider Executive Director The Nonhuman Rights Project
Animal Charity Evaluators has named the Nonhuman Rights Project among its nine "Standout Charities" for 2015, recognizing the NhRP as one of the most effective animal groups in the world today.
About the Nonhuman Rights Project
The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only civil rights organization in the United States working to achieve actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. Our mission is to change the legal status of appropriate 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. Our first cases were filed in 2013 on behalf of captive chimpanzees; we plan to continue to file as many lawsuits as we have funds available. Your support of this work is deeply appreciated!