Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Unlocking The Cage

By Garry Rogers @Garry_Rogers

GR:  Legal personhood for chimps is the subject of a New York Supreme Court trial underway now. The film described below provides background on the issue. Like Aldo Leopold, I believe that our acceptance of animal equality is as important as controlling human population and global warming if ever we hope to form a sustainable culture on this planet. Respecting chimpanzee rights is a step in the right direction. The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) is preparing other cases. I believe Elephant freedom will be next. Click this link for the Animal Bill of Rights and other legal information.

Here’s the film trailer. The film synopsis follows.

Unlocking The Cage

Synopsis, Unlocking the Cage

“Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After thirty years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Steve and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights to a person with legal protections.

“Supported by affidavits from primatologists around the world, Steve maintains that, based on scientific evidence, cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights (such as bodily liberty) that would protect them from physical abuse.  Using writs of habeas corpus (historically used to free humans from unlawful imprisonment), Wise argues on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State.

“Unlocking the Cage captures a monumental shift in our culture, as the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Steve’s impassioned arguments. It is an intimate look at a lawsuit that could forever transform our legal system, and one man’s lifelong quest to protect “nonhuman” animals.”  –Source: Unlocking The Cage.


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