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The Nonhuman Rights Project Q&A about the Nonhuman Rights Project Q: What is the Nonhuman Rights Project? A: It is the first and only organization petitioning courts to recognize that, based on existing scientific evidence, certain nonhuman animals – specifically great apes, dolphins, and elephants – are entitled to such basic legal rights as bodily liberty and integrity. Q: What exactly is the “scientific evidence” on which you base your claims? A: Our legal claims are based on the best scientific findings on genetics, intelligence, emotions and social lives of these animals showing they are self-aware, autonomous beings. Our work is supported by an international group of the world’s most respected primatologists. Q: Who have been your plaintiffs so far? A: In December 2013, we filed lawsuits on behalf of all four chimpanzees currently imprisoned in New York State. Those cases are currently making their way through the appellate courts as we prepare our next series of suits. Q: Specifically what rights are you seeking? A: The right to bodily liberty – i.e. not to be imprisoned. Q: By bodily liberty, do you mean they should all be set free? A: We argue that our first chimpanzee plaintiffs should be freed, then transferred to a sanctuary where they can live out their days with many other chimpanzees in an environment as close to the wild as is possible in North America. Q: Your first plaintiffs are chimpanzees, and you are also talking about elephants, whales and dolphins. What’s next after that? Dogs and pigs? A: Our plaintiffs will be animals for whom there is clear scientific evidence of such complex cognitive abilities as self-awareness and autonomy. Currently that evidence exists for elephants, dolphins and whales, and all four species of great apes. So, for the foreseeable future, our plaintiffs are likely to come from these three groups. Q: Why do you talk about “nonhuman animals”? A: Humans are animals; people tend to forget that. Under current law, the only animals recognized as having legal rights are humans. 25

Vegan Sustainability Magazine - Spring 2017  

A free, online, quarterly magazine for vegans as well as non-vegans worldwide who are interested in the Environment and Sustainability.

Vegan Sustainability Magazine - Spring 2017  

A free, online, quarterly magazine for vegans as well as non-vegans worldwide who are interested in the Environment and Sustainability.

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