Habeas News

David Cassuto

This is an important, potentially historic oral argument.  Go if you can:

 

 

Appellate Division, First Department, County Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Two Chimpanzee Rights Cases Filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project

The Nonhuman Rights Project will argue its appeal of the failure of the New York County Supreme Court to issue writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two captive chimpanzees, Tommy and Kiko, in a hearing at the Appellate Division, First Department, Supreme Court in Manhattan at or after 2 p.m. on March 16th.

The ruling that results from the hearing may determine whether Tommy and Kiko—both featured in the new HBO documentary Unlocking the Cage—will be recognized as legal persons with the fundamental right to bodily liberty or remain “things” deprived of even a single right. Continue reading

2013: The Year for Non-Human Rights—Maybe for Chimps

chimpanzee

Spencer Lo

Near the end of 2012, Popular Science published an article predicting the top 15 science and technology news stories of this year, with many interesting items such as: “Black Hole Chows Down,” “Supercomputer Crunches Climate,” and “New Comet Blazes by Earth.” One prediction in particular, however, may come as a surprise to readers, and will undoubtedly be welcome news and an inspiration to animal advocates everywhere. I am referring to the seventh “news byte” on the list, which reads:

Animals Sue For Rights

Certain animals—such as dolphins, chimpanzees, elephants, and parrots—show capabilities thought uniquely human, including language-like communication, complex problem solving, and seeming self-awareness. By the end of 2013, the Nonhuman Rights Project plans to file suits on the behalf of select animals to procure freedoms (like protection from captivity) previously granted only to humans.  Read More

Steve Wise’s Lecture — A Resounding Success

Angelique Rivard
Have you ever wondered what informs human rights?  Steven Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project, has explored that question and many others through historical, philosophical, scientific, and legal lenses.

On last Thursday, April, 26th, Steven Wise, acclaimed animal lawyer and professor, brought insight, engagement and humor to the Pace Law School’s Dyson Lecture Series, delivering a riveting presentation on The Nonhuman Rights Project’s Struggle for Nonhuman Personhood.  Founded in 1982 by alumni, Charles H. Dyson, the series aims to encourage and make possible the engagement of scholarly legal studies to both the students, faculty and staff of Pace Law School and the public at large. Wise’s presentation on nonhuman personhood and rights did just that.

Wise’s research on what affords humans as opposed to nonhuman animals “noncomparative” rights, such as liberty and dignity, is significant.  He began his presentation by discounting the seemingly largest problem with affording nonhuman animals rights, namely their lack of standing.  Instead, Wise demonstrated through a pyramid diagram how standing is actually the last and least of all obstructions. Rather, the core problem is the question of capacity, which opens (or closes) the gate in affording nonhuman animals rights. Capacity for rights would ultimately establish that any nonhuman animal is a legal person and thus is entitled to legal rights.  Once capacity is achieved the next hurdle involves defining which rights in particular are attributable to nonhuman animals. The third tier questions private rights and last is the pyramid point, encompassing the notion of standing. Continue reading

Steven Wise to Deliver Pace Law School Dyson Lecture

David Cassuto

Oyez ya’ll!  This Thursday, April 26th, 2012 at 4 pm in the Moot Court Room at Pace Law School in White Plains, Steve Wise will speak on : “The Nonhuman Rights Project’s Struggle for Nonhuman Personhood.”

Reception to follow.

If you haven’t heard Steve speak, you should.  If you have heard him, you know you should again.

A fascinating and mind-opening time will be had by all.

Full skinny here.

Hope to see you there.

Live From the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights in Brazil

Elizabeth Bennett

DAY 1 Ola from the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights.  First, I would like to say that I am very thankful that Pace Law School and the Center for Environmental Legal Studies provided me with the opportunity to attend this prestigious and world-renowned conference and for all of the conference organizers’ hard work and hospitality.  As the presentations I have attended thus far have been informative and thought-provoking for me, I will do my best to share my experience with you.

Upon arrival, a symphony was playing.  After introductions and honorariums, Professor David Cassuto of Pace Law School and Director of the Brazil-American Institute for Law and Environment (BAILE) spoke about current trends in environmental law and the animal world.  He discussed the intersection of animal and environmental law and how they often clash, despite the many common grounds upon which they merge.  He went on to discuss the legal framework for protecting animals, distinguishing between animal welfarists and animal rights activists, stating that animal welfarists wish for stronger laws, while animal rights activists believe that humans should not use animals at all.  He also pointed out that in the United States legal system, animals are property and the laws concerning animals regulate relationships between humans about animals.  He made an interesting comparison between the appropriateness of humans making laws on behalf of nonhuman animals and politicians enacting laws on our behalf without truly knowing us, what we desire, or how we would like to be protected.  This comparison comes as an interesting response to doubts about human ability and right to make laws about non-human animals when they do not completely understand what animals want or need.

Professor Cassuto also discussed whether animals can be considered “persons” under the law and how this would change the way we protect them.  This served as a great opening to the Conference, as many of the presentations that followed addressed these questions and dealt with similar issues. Continue reading