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Posts from the ‘Primates’ Category

Nonhuman Rights Project on ‘Colbert Report’

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Legal rights for animals?? Expect Stephen Colbert to be suitably shocked, horrified and appalled when, in character as the classic right-wing bloviator, he welcomes Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project as his special guest, Thursday evening, on The Colbert Report. Read more

Chimpanzee Personalities Almost Identical to Humans


A new study of captive chimpanzees concludes that the personality traits of chimpanzees are almost identical to those of humans.

I asked psychologist Sam Gosling of the University of Texas at Austin what's been learned from the study. Prof. Gosling didn't take part in this particular research, but, as one of the first people to study personality in nonhuman animals, he has perhaps the best overview of personality in all kinds of animals, both human and nonhuman.

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Chatting with Charles Siebert

Charles Siebert's New York Times story about the Nonhuman Rights Project has stirred lots of interest around the country in last few days.

Among other scoops, Siebert was able to talk with the judge who ruled in the case of Tommy the chimpanzee. I talked with him about that conversation, about the two years he spent preparing the article, and about what he's working on now.

Unlocking the Cage

For the last two years, Academy Award-winning movie maker D.A. Pennebaker and Oscar nominee Chris Hegedus have been following the work of Steven M. Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project for their upcoming movie Unlocking the Cage.

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Q & A with Steven M. Wise

Steven M. Wise, President of the Nonhuman Rights Project President, answers some of the questions we’ve been receiving in the wake of the cover story in the New York Times magazine.

First: “Why can’t a humane society or local authorities just go in and rescue those poor chimpanzees?”

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Our First Plaintiff

Our plaintiff did not walk into our office; he couldn’t. When we last saw him, he was being held captive in solitary confinement in a small, dank, cement cage in a dark shed in temperatures 40 degrees below his native land.

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Nonhuman Rights Project Is New York Times Magazine Cover Story

charles-siebert-042314Renowned author and journalist Charles Siebert writes about the Nonhuman Rights Project for this week's cover story in the New York Times Magazine.

Siebert accompanies attorney Steven Wise as he drives to the used trailer lot where Tommy the chimpanzee is being held in a dark shed. He attends the many meetings where the legal team is preparing the lawsuits on behalf of Tommy, Kiko, Hercules and Leo. And in December 2013 he follows Wise as those first, groundbreaking cases go to court in New York State.

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The New Conversation about Persons

ape-human-02When the Nonhuman Rights Project filed its first three lawsuits earlier this month, inviting judges in New York State to recognize four captive chimpanzees as “legal persons” with the right to bodily liberty, we were not expecting to set off a worldwide conversation.

But that’s exactly what’s happened – hundreds of articles, posts, comments, videos, chat sessions, conferences and general discussions in dozens of countries.

While the legal cases work their way through the higher courts over the coming months, it seems that this new conversation is one whose time has come. Our relationship, as humans, with our fellow animals is so damaged that few issues could be more important than how we relate to the natural world in the years ahead.

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Chimpanzee Personhood: What the Media Said

As soon as we started filing our first three lawsuits last week, we were deluged with media interest from around the world. Here are just a few links to some of the hundreds of reports:

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Chimpanzee Personhood: What the Judges Said

It's a little unusual for a judge to wish you good luck as you head off to appeal his decision. But that's exactly what happened when the Nonhuman Rights Project went before the Hon. Joseph Sise in a county court last week.

It was the first of three court proceedings on behalf of four chimpanzees in New York State – Tommy, Kiko, Hercules and Leo – whom we're seeking to have released to sanctuaries.

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First-Ever Lawsuit Filed for Chimpanzee Seeking Legal Personhood

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This morning, the Nonhuman Rights Project  (NhRP) filed suit in Fulton County Court in the state of New York on behalf of Tommy, a chimpanzee, who is being held captive in a cage in a shed at a used trailer lot in Gloversville.

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Leaving Las Vegas

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Last December, Terry the chimpanzee celebrated his 34th birthday. He got some apples and other treats, and a few visitors wandered by, but it wasn't much of a party. When his next birthday rolls around, however, Terry will have lots to cheer about. He'll be free.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Jersey, a chimpanzee at Save the Chimps, is busy checking herself out in a mirror – not very different from what you or I do when standing in front of the mirror, especially if, like her, you're a 13-year-old with lots of friends and family!

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Why ‘Experts’ Get So Confused about Legal Rights for Nonhumans

Is their confusion perhaps deliberate?

Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) mother feeding with baby investigating grass. Captive, France

An article in The Week asks: “Should Apes Have Legal Rights?” As the Nonhuman Rights Project prepares to file its first lawsuit asking a court to recognize a nonhuman as having the fundamental right to bodily liberty, this is just one of many media outlets that are increasingly posing the question and inviting “experts” on all sides to comment.

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Why ‘Experts’ Get So Confused about Legal Rights for Nonhumans

Is their confusion perhaps deliberate?

Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) mother feeding with baby investigating grass. Captive, France

An article in The Week asks: “Should Apes Have Legal Rights?” As the Nonhuman Rights Project prepares to file its first lawsuit asking a court to recognize a nonhuman as having the fundamental right to bodily liberty, this is just one of many media outlets that are increasingly posing the question and inviting “experts” on all sides to comment.

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Farewell to Tea Party Chimpanzee

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As a youngster, he drank tea on TV and dressed up as James Bond. When he grew up, he spent the rest of his life at a zoo in the U.K. Louie the chimpanzee died last week. He was 37 years old.

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Chimpanzee Decisions a ‘Very, Very Important Milestone’

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The decision by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to phase out medical research on chimpanzees and to send all but 50 of the 360 who are owned by the government to sanctuaries has brought together two unlikely partners.

NIH director Dr. Francis S. Collins is effectively the dean of all medical research on animals in the United States; Dr. Jane Goodall, the famed primatologist who is one of the directors of the Nonhuman Rights Project, is a vocal opponent of research on chimpanzees. (Full disclosure: Most of my current work is also with the Nonhuman Rights Project.)

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Travis, Tragedy and the Other Chimpanzees

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Travis and Charla when he was a youngster

In February, 2009, 14-year-old chimpanzee Travis attacked Charla Nash, a friend of the woman who "owned" him. He tore off her nose, ears and hands, and blinded her as his owner, Sandra Herold, frantically beat him, stabbed him and called the police. When they arrived at her home in Connecticut, they shot Travis dead.

More than four years later, Nash has been in the news again this week as she attempts to sue the State of Connecticut for $150 million, arguing that officials knew that Travis was dangerous but did nothing about it.

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Enough Already!

gorilla-zoo-062413One of the gorillas at the Dallas Zoo has finally had enough of a bunch of out-of-control kids yelling abuse at him through the glass.

This thoroughly dignified, captive individual keeps his cool as the children yell, beat their chests, and shout "You're ugly!" at him.

But shouts of macho superiority turn to screams of terror when, from his perspective, the kids go over the line by pointing at him.

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Meet Your Ancestor . . .

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This is Archicebus achilles, or "beginning long-tailed monkey." One of the very earliest of our primate ancestors, she weighed about an ounce, could fit in the palm of your hand, and lived in the trees when most of the Earth was a tropical paradise about 55 million years ago.

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