The Nonhuman Rights Project had a major success in a court case
involving the two chimpanzees Hercules and Leo, who had been kept as
laboratory animals. The NhRP's lawyers were able to convince the courts
that the cognitive abilities of the chimpanzees should be taken into
account and that the animals should be afforded certain personal rights,
in particular the right to autonomy and welfare. This case has
attracted worldwide attention and opened the door for similar cases on
the international stage. Thanks to the great commitment of the NhRP
organisation's lawyers, the chimpanzees found a place to live in a
protected area in Georgia (USA) in 2018, where they were able to
experience fresh air for the first time.
object status of animals has been abolished in Switzerland since 2003.
Animals are recognized as sentient beings capable of suffering. However,
this does not place them on the same level as humans, and they are
still not subject to legally enforceable rights and obligations. Animals
remain assets that can be owned. For this reason, the German Criminal
Code (StGB), for example, still refers to an injured or killed animal as
damage to property. Nevertheless, the separation of animals from the
status of property has led to adjustments in various areas of law.
Incidentally, the principle that animals are no longer property applies
to all living animals. This therefore goes far beyond the Animal Welfare
Act which, with a few exceptions, only protects vertebrates.
human superiority is mainly evident in the exploitation of farm, sport,
domestic, wild and laboratory animals on a daily basis and worldwide.
Instead of caring for our vulnerable environment, we keep, breed and
domesticate animals solely for our own needs, be it for food, clothing,
sport or entertainment. As a rule, we do not recognise them as
individuals with personal rights. "Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal
Personhood" is a touching portrait of a group of people's fight for the
rights of non-human animals and their detachment from their material
status. Recognizing such rights in our legal system is possible and is a
matter of urgency, but the political will is needed to ensure fair
conditions for all living beings.
The work "Thing: Inside the
Struggle for Animal Personhood" is commercially available and can also
be viewed by appointment during opening hours in the TIR library, where
reading and workstations are available. Current new additions to the TIR
library are presented in the TIR library newsletter (link).