Extremist Group Still Arguing for Animal ‘Personhood’ Rights

By Larry Keane

Elephant iStock-1293904168
Thanksgiving could look completely different if the Nonhuman Rights Project Inc., an animal rights group, gets its way in a case pending before the New York’s Court of Appeals in 2022.
IMG iStock-1293904168

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Thanksgiving could look completely different if the Nonhuman Rights Project Inc., an animal rights group, gets its way in a case pending before the New York’s Court of Appeals in 2022.

The animal rights group is suing – again – to extend human rights to animals. In this case, it is for Happy, an Asian elephant that’s been in the care of the Bronx Zoo. The case, though, could have far-reaching implications for hunting and conservation.

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) is appealing a case that was dismissed by Bronx Supreme Court Judge Alison Tuitt in February 2020. NhRP alleges the Bronx Zoo is illegally detained Happy and the animal, as an “extraordinarily complex” creature, should have human rights.

That was the fifth time the group has lost a fight to claim legal personhood for animals. While elephants are said to have extraordinary memory capabilities, NhRP doesn’t. They are appealing a habeas corpus petition, legal protection for imprisoned persons, arguing Happy the elephant has the same rights in the court as a person.

Jungle Rules

The case seems absurd, but it is one worth watching, especially by America’s original conservationists. That’s the men and women who hunt and are literally invested in perpetuating wildlife not just in North America, but around the globe. The case could have far-reaching effects if courts rule that animals are “persons” and are endowed with the same rights as humans. It might sound far-fetched, but to these extremist groups, it is a stepping stone to making a case to ban hunting altogether.

After all, if courts rule elephants are “persons” endowed with rights under the law, anti-hunting groups have the open door to stake a legal claim that hunting is tantamount to murder. Next year’s Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner could be termed a homicide.

The case centers on Happy, the 51-year-old elephant that has been cared for at the Bronx Zoo. Happy was originally paired with another elephant, Grumpy. That elephant was killed by two other elephants and since then Happy has been kept separate for her safety following a failed attempt to pair her with another elephant. Happy, however, is able to maintain physical contact through fencing with another elephant.

NhPR wants the court to grant its request to move Happy from the zoo to a sanctuary in Tennessee or California.

Hunting Concerns

The notion of assigning “personhood” rights to an elephant being cared for by professional biologists and zoologists at an accredited zoo might seem absurd but must be taken seriously by hunters and conservationists. NhRP’s founder and lead attorney Steven Wise teaches at Harvard University and previously argued that chimpanzees were “persons” too. Wise told a judge in a prior attempt that dogs have “personhood” too, as well as “bodily rights” and breeding them would be illegal. Under that theory, using hunting dogs would constitute animal slavery. Harvesting game would be tantamount to murder.

This is important to watch this case because extremist groups like NhRP ignore the contributions hunters and the firearm industry make to conservation. Don’t expect them to acknowledge that firearm and ammunition manufacturers have contributed over $14 billion to the conservation of wildlife and habitats since the Pittman-Robertson excise tax was implemented in 1937. That’s led to the recovery of the game and non-game species at today’s healthy and sustainable levels.

None of that matters to NhRP or their extremist allies. They’re focused on a court win that would upend conservation – and hunting – forever.

If that happens, Thanksgiving next year might be a whole lot different.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mystic Wolf

These nhrp things are more than just weird they are nutcases from the go, they are the types that will go out and cause trouble or harm just to prove that the ends justify the means. The hunters across this nation have contributed more to animal habitat than any rights group ever. Next thing you know they will insist on animals having the right to vote and own houses, then they will insist on the dogs and cats having paying jobs, yeah stuff like this will never end.


I don’t see the normal majority of humanity accepting this nonsense. Meanwhile, when you at last give animals the vote, they need to mark their own ballots.

Wild Bill

Yep, it won’t be accepted. It will be forced upon us.


How about supporting a bill that takes away these nut jobs personhood ? And add them to soy burgers.

Wild Bill

The people pushing animal “personhood” are following the legal path that seized personhood for corporations. Someday everything will have rights superior to … people.


No one is contesting the goal of protecting animals, but these types of radical, almost nonsensical efforts in promoting that protection does little more than divert attention from rational, achievable steps that could actually accomplish something. When crackpot ideas because the narrative, then reasonable ones are the first to be discarded.

Wild Bill

Corporations neither live, nor breath, nor have a body, yet corporations have right. They contract, sue, gain wealth, donate, and have legally enforceable goals. Is than not even more nonsensical than animals!

Wild Bill

Oppps … my bad. It should be rights, rather than right.


how about comitment hearings after they are red flagged