There were plenty of headlines about a lawsuit seeking a court ruling that four captive Chimpanzees were persons and entitled to

“the right to bodily liberty via a writ of habeas corpus. The suits, filed in New York Supreme Court, are based on scientific evidence proving that chimpanzees are self-aware and autonomous, and therefore entitled to be recognized as “legal persons” with certain fundamental legal rights.”

On December 6-8, 2013, Yale is hosting a conference devoted to the rights of non-humans:

Personhood Beyond the Human Conference Yale Dec 2013

A conference on “Personhood Beyond the Human” will be held at Yale University, on December 6-8 of 2013 . The event will focus on personhood for nonhuman animals, including great apes, cetaceans, and elephants, and will explore the evolving notions of personhood by analyzing them through the frameworks of neuroscience, behavioral science, philosophy, ethics, and law….

Special consideration will be given to discussions of nonhuman animal personhood, both in terms of understanding the history, science, and philosophy behind personhood, and ways to protect animal interests through the establishment of legal precedents and by increasing public awareness….

The Nonhuman Rights Project will be presenting some research from the past five years including research on the varying legal causes of action that the Nonhuman Rights Project will use to argue legal personhood for specific nonhuman animals.

Among the papers to be presented are:

  • Personhood and Liberal Neutrality: Should we provide public aid to pets’ owners?”
  • Posthuman Personhood
  • Establishing Nonhuman Legal Personhood
  • What Is A Person and How Can We Be Sure?
  • The Personhood of Cyberconsciousness

The Keynote Speaker is Princeton philosopher Peter Singer, who has controversial views on infanticide and animal equality.

Yale Nonhuman Rights Conference Flyer