Needless to say, I was a fan immediately.
Currently, they're working on securing legal rights for chimpanzees, and they are using a particular chimp, Tommy, to achieve this. Other Chimps are also currently in court to secure the writ of habeas corpus, meaning they cannot be detained without reason. They would have rights to their own bodies.
So I got an email from them yesterday from the project saying that one of the heads of the project, Steven Wise, would be appearing on the Colbert Report. You can watch the interview here.
Fun fact, Jane Goodall is a member of this movement as well.
The website talks about achieving rights for non-humans, not Chimps specifically, but when Colbert asked in his typical devils advocate style about giving rights to all animals, Wise said they were only advocating rights to Chimps, and that he didn't believe all animals should have rights.
Wait a minute. What? It's called the non-human rights project for goodness sake!
The website says, as its mission statement:
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. Our first cases were filed in 2013. Your support of this work is deeply appreciated.
So what's the deal?
I can understand why you'd start with chimps, because chimps have incredible similarities to humans, and will likely create more sympathy in other people.
But chimps aren't the only intelligent beings. Many non-humans have emotions and desires, and even the most simple creature has a nervous system capable of feeling pain.
I think that if Wise was going to go on Colbert as the face of the movement, he should have stuck to his guns.