As an attorney who loves animals and tries to protect them anyway possible, I was excited a few weeks ago when I attended “Barry Law Animal Law Conference” on October 18, 2013. I was not able to attend the entire day because I had, and continue to have, a lot on my plate but I was able to see Steve Wise speak. This was not the first time or the last time I will hear him speak. However, this time was a little different because he was talking about the “Nonhuman Rights Project” and their goals. (http://www.nonhumanrights.org)
The Nonhuman Rights Project’s goal is:
“The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only organization working toward actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. Our mission is to change the common law status of at least some 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, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.”
Mr. Wise did an excellent job explaining not only the purpose of the project but also, his work and origin and the future of the Nonhuman Rights Project. What excited me the most was the work, time, energy and proposal that this organization has done and will continue to do. Furthermore, Mr. Wise stated that the first lawsuit will be filed before the end of 2013 based on the common law writ of habeas corpus.
Per the Nonhuman Rights Project site a Writ of Habeas Corpus:
“… requires that anyone who is holding another person in detention must show cause as to why they have the right to do this. It has been used, for example, to challenge the legality of a person’s detention requiring the jailer or slave owner to show just cause as to why that person is being detained. If the jailer or slave owner could not show just cause, then the detained person would be released. Habeas corpus was incorporated into the law of the American colonies and, later, the American states as part of English common law. Habeas corpus remedies every illegal restraint, public or private, wherever and however it may occur. A petitioner who could demonstrate probable cause through verified affidavit that his detention was unlawful was entitled to a writ of habeas corpus as a matter of right, and no court could legally deny it. Because in many instances, the detainee will not have the ability to seek the writ on her own, due to the very fact of her detention, the writ can be brought on behalf of the detainee by a third-party.”
The Nonhuman Rights Project has broken down all of the States in the USA and each state’s position via the common law, statutory interpretation, and appellate rulings on the legal theory of Writ of Habeas Corpus.
I am excited to see what is going to happen in the next 10 weeks and see where the Nonhuman Rights Project will file their first case.