December 3, 2019
Guest Kevin Schneider, Nonhuman Rights Project
Hosted by Jamie Harris, Sentience Institute
Kevin Schneider of the Nonhuman Rights Project on using litigation to expand the moral circle.
I think within five years, we will absolutely see… the first nonhuman animals recognized as holders of rights in the US; ‘persons’... [I don’t think] the gates [would be] flung open if we start to see one or two species recognized as having rights… I don’t see this at all as a linear path. We file the cases that we do and the work that we do and hope to achieve discrete outcomes, but we’re also very mindful of the fact that other judges [cite] us in cases that we don’t file… We’ve seen more and more judges citing our cases approvingly to say, ‘look, the relationship between humans and animals is changing; we need to take their interests more seriously’
The Nonhuman Rights Project has litigated in US courts for four chimpanzees and four elephants. But can litigation for a small number of animals drive a wider expansion of the moral circle? What are the risks of this approach? How can animal advocates maximize the chances of positive impact for animals while pursuing this strategy?
Since 2015, Kevin Schneider has been the executive director of the Nonhuman Rights Project, previously having worked in private legal practice.
Topics discussed in the episode:
- The NhRP’s plans for legislative campaigns (5:05)
- Whether litigation should focus on farmed animals or chimpanzees and elephants (13:28)
- How legal change interacts with public opinion and wider social change (29:00)
- The insights from forthcoming public polling supported by the NhRP on rights for particular species, and the implications of this (37:28)
- The decisions made by the NhRP in selecting particular states and legal strategies to focus on (46:49)
- How litigating for legal personhood for animals compares to enforcing and expanding the scope of existing legal protections for animals (1:00:30)
- What the NhRP has learned from its study of historical social movements and the risks of using this sort of evidence (1:08:03)
- The NhRP’s priorities for media coverage (1:13:08)
- How the NhRP interacts with advocates in other countries (1:32:08)
- Why the NhRP is not greatly constrained by either funding or by a lack of talented applicants to their job roles (1:42:33)
- How current legal professionals might (or might not) be able to help the NhRP (1:47:04)
- Why Kevin doesn’t believe that there is much scope for new organizations to do similar work to the NhRP elsewhere in the US (1:51:00)
- How someone could best prepare to be an excellent candidate for a role at the NhRP and how Kevin’s own career experiences have affected his work (1:59:12)
- Which professional legal experience might be most useful for animal advocates (2:04:40)
Resources discussed in the episode:
Resources by or about the NhRP:
Resources for using this podcast for a discussion group:
Transcript (Automated, imperfect)
Music: 00:00:10 [inaudible]
Jamie: 00:00:13 welcome to the Sentience Institute podcast where we interview advocates, entrepreneurs or researchers to better understand expansion of humanity's moral circle with the focus on expanding the circle to farm animals. I'm Jamie Harris, researcher at Sentience Institute. Since this is our inaugural episode of the podcast, I want to briefly note a few strategies we're using to make this the most useful podcast it can be for people interested in effective altruism, animal rights, social movements, and emerging technologies. First, we are going as deep as realistically possible in each interview we think of our listeners as already being reasonably well informed about topics like effective altruism and animal rights, so we will try to spend as much time as possible on more involved detailed discussions, especially content we don't think someone would have encountered yet as an average community member. Second, we are going to do our best to de-center our own work at sentience Institute and my personal opinion is during the interviews we have a lot of content on our website and we instead want to use these interviews to showcase and better understand the views and knowledge of our guests.
Jamie: 00:01:09 Finally, we are by no means podcast experts, so we want to learn and improve with each episode. Right now we're mostly taking inspiration from some popular podcasts like 8,000 hours and econ talk, so please send all the feedback you have. I was excited to have someone from the nonhuman rights project for our first interview because the organization takes a unique approach to helping animals that has the potential to overhaul the treatment of animals across virtually all practical contexts. The nonhuman rights project litigate to secure legal personhood, the animals, which is probably the most direct approach to securing animal rights that I'm aware of. At the same time, the focus on institutional change rather than individual dietary change and the focus on influential legal professionals rather than mass outreach differ from many other groups that seek to secure animal rights. Sentience Institute has aggregated and summarize the arguments and evidence for and against these questions and other foundational questions in effective and an advocacy on our website.
Jamie: 00:02:00 In this interview we dive into these questions. Kevin's thoughts on the animal advocacy movement, some more specific questions about the nonhuman rights project. Strategic decision making process and career routes to secure better protection for animals. On our website, we have a transcript of this episode as well as timestamps for particular topics. We also have suggested questions or resources. It can be used to run an event around this podcast and your local animal advocacy or effective altruism group. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have questions about this. Kevin Schneider, the executive director of the nonhuman rights project. He's previously worked in private legal practice and earned his law degree at Florida state university in 2013 specializing in environmental and land use law. Thanks very much for joining us on a very first episode, Kevin. So much for having me. I'm excited to be here. So the nonhuman rights projects, long term theory of change is to litigate for animals on the basis of legal personhood. Eventually went in cases and then presumably to continue fighting for and successfully obtaining various legal rights for animals. Could you give a quick summary of where the nonhuman rights project is in that process? Especially what campaigns in cases on human rights predicts as worked on so far and what the current ones are
Kevin: 00:03:09 That is the nonhuman rights project. In a nutshell, our fundamental core mission is to change the legal status of any non-human animal. That's how we refer to them nonhuman animals from that of a thing to that of a person. Our roots go back to 1996. But, uh, our first lawsuits were filed in December of 2013 habeas Corpus lawsuits in New York on behalf of every chimpanzee that we could find in the state. And really since then we have been continuing to litigate actively, essentially nonstop in New York on various cases currently involving the Bronx zoo and elephant at the Bronx zoo named happy, which we can talk about more later. We've also expanded to Connecticut and are getting close to finalizing our first lawsuit in California as well. But this is really just the core of what we do, the kind of day to day legal work.
Kevin: 00:04:04 But all along there's been a recognition that the fight that we're waging is so much more than just a legal battle. It's social, it's economic, it's philosophical. That's a scary word for lawyers and judges, but we have to go there. Um, it's religious. It's so many different things because fundamentally it speaks to our vision of ourselves, how we fit in the world, and indeed how we relate to the rest of the world or don't relate to the rest of the world. So in a nutshell, our work revolves around lawsuits and education, but also now branching out in the last couple of years into legislative work as well, attempting to essentially achieve the same results as our lawsuits. That is beginning with one fundamental right for really one species at a time, essentially. And essentially trying to replicate what we're doing in the courts and indeed being aided by the kind of partial victories that we've seen so far coming out of the courts in our cases.
Jamie: 00:05:02 Cool. Yeah, really interesting. And we'll definitely dive into lots of that. I'm interested by your phrase there, "partial victory" as well. Can you just expand a little bit on that distinction between the legislative and the litigation work? Is it fundamentally the same goals? Is it trying to do these for the same sorts of asks or what are the differences and similarities between those two different strategies that on human rights project is using that?
Kevin: 00:05:22 Well, on one view, they are really the same. They both seek to establish really for the first time fundamental enforceable rights for species other than our own. However, when you started looking at the details, of course they proceed under different theories. You know, in the legislative arena, we're not cabined in in the same way. So our court arguments, the arguments that we make in our habeas Corpus cases are really quite technical. Perhaps no surprise when we're talking about legal personhood, we're talking about autonomy, we're talking about hundreds of years of common law around habeas Corpus and other areas, uh, that we believe really together form a powerful argument that judges really can't ignore. Because in large part, it's built of the very stuff which are common law and you know, the U S and so many other legal systems are built on or claimed to be built on Liberty and equality and indeed, uh, autonomy and Liberty itself.
Kevin: 00:06:22 And so looked at from that lens, you know, the, the goal is very much the same, but the, the fight is also very different, you know, so for I think for a lot of reasons, which I'm sure we'll get into, we chose to begin with litigation, you know, our founder and president and lead litigator and our, our, our cases Steve wise, saw this as, you know, looking at other social justice battles, whether it was anti-slavery or women's rights, children's rights and others more in contemporary example being gay marriage, looking at how so many of them began with these really kind of pathbreaking radical sounding lawsuits. And over the course of decades they begin to win in the courts. It becomes in a legislative back and forth battle. And that is really the process of a society like ours digesting a new idea of expanding the category of who counts under the law.
Kevin: 00:07:18 Uh, in some ways it's a sort of painful process in the sense that you really are questioning a lot of fundamental assumptions and that at least threatens the specter of really serious change in a sweeping change in a, in a big way. Indeed, that's what seems to inform a lot of the quote slippery slope arguments that come up against us, whether by opposing counsel or even by judges and their rulings and questionings to us. And at the end of the day, the kind of philosophical battles, even a lot of the legal battles, the kind of structural battles of what rights are and how they can be exercised. There is really so much similarity, but at the same time we, we know that it requires a whole different skill set. You need to build up that base of public support. People would have to know about the issue first before you can really hope to achieve a legislative victory.
Kevin: 00:08:12 But happy to say now we think we're really are at the point and we're already beginning to see the fruits of this, that the litigation work and education work and then everything else really does it, you know, and even the academic literature pro and con, you know, it's, it's, it's not that like there's universal support for this even in the animal community, which is an interesting debate that's still going on about whether personhood is really necessary, uh, for, for animals to protect them. But for us it really is coming more or less according to plan. And these things don't happen overnight. And that can be certainly frustrating. But I think, you know, we all, we all knew that coming in, right? And so we, we took this path with the, with the beliefs that, um, well we'll take time to chisel away once, once we begin to see that change, it will really take on a momentum of its own. And as I said, we, we think we're starting to see that in a legislative context, uh, as well as the judicial.
Jamie: 00:09:08 Cool. That's what we're, yeah, we're really interesting in some of those debates. We'll definitely dive into a bit more just to kind of from the legislative asks, have these been then in terms of building support for the same asks as, as the litigation so far, or have there been concrete campaigns for specific legislative proposals or is that as that part round the corner or is that not happened yet?
Kevin: 00:09:29 That is very close. I have to be careful. I don't want to get in trouble with my campaign's director by spilling any beans. But, um, I can say and even point folks who are really interested, uh, to a law review article that we wrote a couple of years back in the Syracuse law review on the topic of home rule using home rule, which is really the power of municipalities or cities in the U S and other common law jurisdictions to create laws that apply within there the boundaries of the city. And you know, they're given a certain amount of leeway to, in essence kind of experiment. And so to varying degrees, some States allow it more than others. And we believe in, you know, we've spent now several years preparing what might be seen as like a habeas in a box. So how we think it will play out and how the plans so far are, are moving is one city, one or two species within that city perhaps can find in a zoo.
Kevin: 00:10:28 And then going through the legislative city council process to introduce a bill that would recognize the rights of those species, say their elephants and chimpanzees, for example. And through that process, very public process, uh, what we would expect to be, you know, a fight based on our experience, particularly dealing with large institutions like zoos. But ultimately the goal being as with our lawsuits, to see those individuals sent to sanctuary and to an essence outlaw the captivity of those species and that city forevermore after that, and seeing that really as a catalyst and a springboard to state level bills. Uh, we can talk about federal stuff. We don't have concrete plans to do federal work, but of course we always have to look at it and monitor it and you know, kind of keep it in mind. But yeah.
Jamie: 00:11:20 Wow. Yeah, that's really interesting. So with those legislative bills, is the, when you say recognize rights, so those rights, the same rights that you're asking for in the litigation work. So is this autonomy and is that the, is that the same way that the same mechanism through which those animals would be moved to their sanctuaries? Or is it a different kind of framing?
Kevin: 00:11:38 That's exactly the thinking. And you know, even at the end of this law review article, which is available freely online, just Google home rule nonhuman rights, the end of it, we have an appendix, a draft bill, which you know, is still evolving, but that's exactly it. It the rights of bodily Liberty and bodily integrity, which is basically the rights not to be held in a cage and the right not to be cut open or Maine in some way. Kind of like a law against assault might protect us humans. And you know, these are the same. We think really the fundamental rights didn't matter. Uh, certainly for elephants and chimpanzees. And in my opinion probably for most if not all species that we're concerned about. These are the fundamental rights that we're looking at. But of course, you know, that's for captive non-native wild species that are the first among our clients and you know, different species in different situations.
Kevin: 00:12:32 Certainly industrial agriculture and other large scale uses of animals I think demand a different approach. You know, I don't think personhood for pigs is anywhere on the horizon, but that being said, you know, that's just my opinion, but I think we can't lose sight of the other factors that are at play. So while we know legally and morally and ethically, we believe we're in the right, we still have to contend with these, um, larger social economic, cultural factors that, you know, some folks say, you know, that the law is the law as written judges just apply. It is kind of a mechanical view of the law. But we know from experience that that is far from the truth and you know, judges. And the system itself operates under a much more complex set of influences than, than just the law as written. And so we know that we have to, as lawyers really make the best case we believe can be made right now with the available science and um, all those other factors that I mentioned. Yeah.
Jamie: 00:13:27 Interesting. Your comment on personhood for pigs possibly not being anywhere on the horizon, would you care to hazard a guess how long say that person had was secured for chimpanzees or elephants or dolphins or any other animals that then on human rights projects is interested in? How long do you think it would be before these sorts of rights were extended to other mammals? Say cows, you know, farmed animals. And is that process inevitable or does that require the same struggle every bit as hard for us, the work so far,
Kevin: 00:13:54 I think it's tempting to look at animal issues, animal rights in a very broad way. And it's, I think it can be so easy to lose sight of just how different the situation of say a chimpanzee versus a dog is in relation to us humans. Not to mention cows and pigs. That being said, I think within five years we will absolutely see jurisdictions, whether it's through the passage of legislation, successful court cases or both. Within five years we will see, you know, the first nonhuman animals recognized as holders of rights in the U S persons. I think personally and I think about this an awful lot, that when we start looking at certainly the commercially industrially exploited species, farmed animals in particular, we really have to continue what is I think an encouraging trend of seeing technology essentially replace and kind of take away some of the demand for actual animal flesh.
Kevin: 00:14:56 And I think we can hope that that process will continue. I think until we get to a place where that is really quite drastically reduced, then perhaps you can start to see serious efforts to say have pigs or cows be recognized as having some rights. But that could be, you know, it could easily follow the trend that we see now. You know, with farm States being by and large, very opposed to kind of giving an inch on animal welfare measures, animal welfare, quote unquote things like larger cages for chickens. You know, the, the propositions that have come out of California, for example, come to mind. But I also think about, you know, the constitutional amendment in Florida that made it illegal to keep pigs in farrowing crates, which is in itself a very laudable great thing of course, but they, Florida, the industry has never, there's never been a pig industry in Florida and so there really wasn't much of a fight.
Kevin: 00:15:50 So, you know, perhaps we could see something along similar lines where you have some States more experimentally, perhaps more left leaning. That's always the assumption that would probably seem to guide here to, you know, perhaps we would see those kinds of pushes on the fringes as it were. But yeah, roughly similar to I, I don't think there would be this, uh, you know, the Gates flung open if we start to see one or two species recognized as having rights. I know there's, you know, some hysteria around that, but you know, someone who does this, I sometimes have to scratch my head because people say things like the nonhuman rights project is trying to force the world to go vegan. I have to think, well gosh, I'm like blushing that you think we have even a fraction of that influence or even think that we might.
Kevin: 00:16:34 But I think it speaks to the larger fact that when you, when you phrase a question like should a chimpanzee have a right, a real right not to be held alone in a cage, it's pretty amazing how seriously entertaining that forces judges and really anybody to come to grips with a lot of larger questions about how we relate to animals. And so I don't see this at all as a linear path. You know, I think we follow the cases that we do in the work that we do and hope to achieve discrete outcomes, but we're also very mindful of the fact that other judges, you know, citing us in cases that we don't file, you know, that aren't related to us at all. You know, we've seen more and more judges citing our cases approvingly to say, look, the, the relationship between humans and animals is changing. We need to take their interest more seriously. And so far in the U S they're stopping short of full rights or personhood. But in other countries we're seeing judges really seem ahead in India since 2014 all animals in India has technically been legal persons.
Jamie: 00:17:36 Kevin, I'd love to dive into the stuff on comparing to other countries in a second as well. I just want to pick back up on a point you mentioned earlier you mentioned this idea of further change for farmed animals kind of needing and maybe animal free foods being a precondition for those legal changes for them. So you mentioned also the kind of indirect evidence of, I think it was Florida you said that had the constitutional amendment against firing crates. So that suggests that maybe States that have vested interests against, you know, curtailing particular kinds of animal farming are going to be much more reluctant to do that. There are any other reasons that you are, you know, skeptical of the idea of, of working directly for these rights for farmed animals. Why focus on chimpanzees and why not just skip straight to the phone animals that is going to have effected larger number and yeah. Is there any evidence that has led you to that conclusion beyond what you've said already?
Kevin: 00:18:28 Well, for one thing, because of going back to the need to make the strongest case we think we can and also working with the principles that judges already claim to believe in, we think that, you know, the science is really not there for pigs. Not to say that it couldn't be, you know, I'm a believer in the idea of, you know, where, where you look, you find, and I also think that, you know, having these blinders of, you know, most in the sense of most people eating these animals, it's gonna make it very hard for people to see them as well persons, right? Because who wants to see themselves as someone who eats persons? So I think that, and this is really my personal opinion, that it's a numbers thing and a lot of ways, you know, you have millions and millions of them raised and killed every year and on such an industrial scale that I think it just needs to be attacked in other ways before a serious argument could be, could be advanced on a rights, certainly from like a habeas perspective.
Kevin: 00:19:23 And again, it really does rely on the science because autonomy, this kind of nebulous concept is very important in the law and deed. That's what habeas Corpus is meant to protect his autonomy or Liberty. In other words, your free will, your ability to make choices about how to live your life. You know, we think if you looked at in that way, I think many animals based on our common everyday experience would fit that definition. However, that's different than having, you know, reams of cited and cross-reference scientific materials that lay out really quite exquisitely that, you know, things like elephants returning to the same place every year to grieve after they're dead and pick up their bones and cry over them. Or chimpanzees recognizing themselves in a photograph or all these, these examples that really I think and kind of one worked on me when I first heard about the project, kind of shocked the conscience and to realizing, wow, we're not the only persons in this world.
Jamie: 00:20:19 I can definitely buy that kind of -- the almost obvious emotional case. I was just reading the introductory chapter to Rattling the Cage, the book by Steven Wise and found that surprisingly emotive given the, you know, I've seen all these factory farming videos, et cetera. Just the, just the comparison to a chimpanzee and how clearly emotively similar to humans, they seemed in that description. So I can definitely see that being really powerful for, for judges and the other people that are trying to be influenced. You've discussed this idea of the science which and, and the idea of the kind of evidence behind their rights and their abilities. And this brings onto a debate, which you mentioned earlier between animal advocates focusing on kind of the strategy or focusing on this small number of these species that have this greater evidence behind those rights. So there's a blog by animal charity evaluators where Steven Wise discusses this strategy with a couple of other individuals. And on that blog post Maneesha Deckha, who's a law professor at the university of Victoria, said that personhood campaigns, challenge laws, exclusion of animal school together, but endorse a hierarchy among animals privileging the fraction that are honorary humans. They argue that these animals deserve to be persons because they are so humanlike and or exhibit the same traits we value in humans. What do you think about that concern?
Kevin: 00:21:36 So I, we hear it, we kind of get into these discussions, debates quite often these days. Personally I think it's built on a faulty premise in a sense. You know, person and human are not synonymous. And I think it's so easy to, to blend the two together and, and forget about the structural role that it really does and always has played. We always cite to the example of the corporation as a person, which takes on a different significance when you look at the Supreme court cases in the U S but the fundamental idea that under the common law, a hundreds of years old, you know, that a nonhuman entity can, you know, there's a good social purpose or useful purpose for allowing it to exist and buy and sell things and not, you know, simply as a proxy for humans, but really an organizing force that really goes beyond humans in a, in a strange sense, we see this with churches.
Kevin: 00:22:31 They've also long been recognized as persons, uh, cities, States. And so I think that by focusing too much on the means of getting there, I think, I think personally is where some folks who are otherwise, I think very much well-meaning get the wrong idea. We always bend over backwards to say that we believe that autonomy as such is a sufficient but not necessary condition for rights. The other thing is that there is no guidebook out there for who's a person. You know, I think it's like a lot of things in the law. It's so easy to fall into this assumption that the answer's out there somewhere. It's, it's engraved on some tablet or we just have to look hard enough. The fact of the matter is, when it comes to the description of rights and personhood, and I think a lot of cases, a notably some of the early abortion cases show this.
Kevin: 00:23:20 It's not just about humanity or even feeling it's about public policy. It's about these much broader things and I think in a world where at all levels people are becoming awakened to the problems that that seemingly come from a lack of a working relationship with the natural world and the broader world. This does take on an urgency that goes beyond the really kind of philosophical niceties of crafting sort of one size fits all. Because again, for us, we're trying to accomplish this results. We believe that the law demands it right now, but that's not to say that in the future, particularly as I mentioned in the legislative context, you're not bound by those things. A legislature can choose any grounds that they want to premise rights, they don't need to worry about autonomy, they don't need to worry about really any of that is the legislative process.
Kevin: 00:24:10 And really that is a key difference is, is they can create rights on any premise. And so any grounds. And so we think that just fighting through again, you know, just asking if a chimpanzee or an elephant can have this right. And I think indeed the judicial rulings and some of the best ones that we've seen so far in our cases, they get that. They understand that this is a, it's a very narrow case. It's about one individual in one, right. But it's very deep at the same time. And simply asking this question, I think as a function of our uneasy relationship or kind of frail relationship as human non-human binary, I really think it's evidence of the fact we see these jumbled reactions from, from the judges. You know, they say things like, you know, in order to have rights to be a person, you have to be able to take on duties and responsibilities. Well, you know what about infants or the comatose, et cetera.
Jamie: 00:25:01 Yeah, we can dig into those specific rulings in a second. I just wanted to again pick up on a couple of things you mentioned. I thought it was interesting you commented on this idea that the answer not being out there, you know, this is something that I think other people have come to that conclusion when they've approached the ideas of consciousness and those sorts of things. There's an interesting piece of research from the open philanthropy project, which was looking into the idea of consciousness where I think it was [inaudible], and I hope I'm remembering it correctly, but essentially the plan was to kind of look into consciousness and work out where they could draw the line, where they should focus their efforts and where they shouldn't worry too much for their efforts. And he came to the conclusion that that was just an almost impossible task to accomplish.
Jamie: 00:25:39 And in this extremely lengthy research, they still didn't come to any clear answers. And this is something that has been looked into, you know, other groups thinking about this rethink priorities. I've been thinking about this with invertebrates recently. Um, but I just, I still want to dive into this idea of, you mentioned the idea of slippery slope for, I want to dive into that a bit more because it seems like before you were kind of suggesting that you didn't think there would be a slippery slope and now I wonder if you, if you were kind of suggesting almost the opposite of it seemed like he was suggesting that once there's a foot in the door with some rights secured, whether that will enable rights to be litigated for or advocated for more widely, is there a danger nevertheless that if we make the case for rights for certain animals on certain abilities of those animals and based on this clear scientific evidence, if not, then just doesn't exist from other animals and maybe it will never be found because of those various uncertainties and we just won't make as much concrete progress on this as we might assume.
Jamie: 00:26:31 Is there a risk that that then just makes it harder to litigate for those other animals?
Kevin: 00:26:35 I think there's, there's always perhaps a risk, the abstract sense. But I also think that, and we've seen some of the better rulings that we've gotten have really dispensed with the slippery slope argument and saying basically like, I have to deal with the case and the facts that are before me. And if that, if it's to just conclusion to recognize rights for chimpanzee for example, as the case was there, then that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do my judicial duty. But, you know, I think that it's, it's reasonable to keep these things in mind and indeed that's why we go do I think substantial lengths to explain that this sufficient but not necessary. And that this is, you know, that we're building on one aspect of the law and the common law evolves over time and is meant to evolve over time.
Kevin: 00:27:23 But, you know, on the other hand, uh, in terms of, you know, this being the slippery slope, I wouldn't be a good lawyer if I didn't speak out of both sides of my mouth at least once in awhile. So I think that there's a difference between, you know, when you hear slippery slope, the idea that if the judge reaches this outcome, it will compel these other results, that it's almost this unstoppable cascade. But in part because of how the cases are built and how much science and really is there, it's almost a moderating influence on these types of cases. But I don't think that should again be seen as any kind of ultimate barrier to other kinds of claims being advanced in the future. Again, habeas is, but one of many potential ways this could happen. We chose it for a number of different reasons, historical reasons, legal reasons, but you know, it's just one way.
Kevin: 00:28:21 And indeed other countries I think in particular are further along and getting to the point where they really want to experiment with this. And you know, what does it mean for, we can talk about rights for some species, but what does it mean to look at the wild, right? I mean, are we going to police interactions between animals? I don't think so. I know a lot of people spend time thinking about that and in putting forward some interesting theories and ideas on that. But again, that's outside of our purview here. So we're always looking at kind of a sliver of these things because there are so massive.
Jamie: 00:28:55 Yeah, of course. No, I don't think anyone's expecting the nonhuman rights project to be the entire animal advocacy movement. Okay. So yeah, I'd love to check in on some of your, just kind of broad views on legal change. We've kind of touched on some of these questions now. In our work at Sentience Institute, we trace several different types of social change that tend to weave together and support each other such as public opinion, electoral politics, the law, uh, which includes judiciary and legislators, technology and the economy. It seems that the nonhuman rights projects works primarily with public opinion and the law. So do you believe that legal change tends to drive changes in public opinion or follow them?
Kevin: 00:29:30 It gets kind of like that a saying of life imitating art, art imitating life. And I think history bears this out. You know, sometimes the courts will go out a little bit on the limb. Sometimes it's pretty clear that it's large amount of public advocacy and organizing that has set the stage for a particular outcome. Uh, so I think it's, it's, it's often hard to tell and I think even again, we don't have federal plans. We don't, we don't want to go into the U S Supreme court anytime soon, but you know, we watch what happens there, follow it. And I think there've been a number of cases already where, you know, there was an assumption that, you know, conservative judges would go a certain way, but you know, sometimes people like, you know, chief justice John Roberts will surprise people. And I think a lot of that comes down to some of these other factors like protecting the legitimacy of the court. And like you said, not getting too far ahead of public opinion or indeed not being too far behind public opinion. Uh, if we think about the, uh, not too long ago, victory on gay marriage, which I think is also a prime example of what really advocacy and you know, litigation working hand in hand to achieve that result.
Jamie: 00:30:42 Yeah. So it's a, it's an interesting example because my impression of the, I don't know a huge amount about the background of it, but my impression was that there were various court rulings on gay marriage in the sort of late 20th century. And no, actually those weren't on gay marriage, but were on gay rights late 20th century that didn't have majority public support and you know, not much strong progress was made. And yet in the early 21st century, as you say, there's been this kind of hand in hand thing where support has been growing quite radically for the right for gay people to be married. And then the Supreme court judgment came on after that. So that might, in my mind, that's an example of where public opinion change needs seem to need to proceed. The legal rules.
Kevin: 00:31:23 Yeah. And it's a, you know, we've modeled a lot of our work, particularly as we branch off into legislative work to compliment, uh, the court cases. Uh, we've studied closely, um, freedom to marry in particular, which was really quite instrumental in achieving the gay marriage victory. And, uh, it was started by a lawyer named Evan Wolfson, who we're very happy, has been an advisor to us and has helped us try to really learn lessons from his own successes. And you know, in a very similar way, they, their first cases were abroad in state courts and after some early victories in Massachusetts and Hawaii, there was a legislative backlash, right? You had other States, more conservative States in particular saying, well, we're not going to leave and let that come close to happening here. We're going to pass a law on the books saying no gay marriage between, you know, marriage is between a man and a woman.
Kevin: 00:32:17 And so you saw this really, this decades long battle, not just a legal battle, but also one in public opinion. But what's I think one of the most interesting insights that I got from reading about freedom to marry and Evan's work, which anyone can find online in particular. He has his organizing document called the ladder of clarity that that freedom to marry was really built around and operated by. And it was interesting that they had this kind of Eureka moment in doing public opinion polling and recognizing that you know, a lot of people, straight people, everyday people, Americans really didn't care that much about whether gay people could get married. And that kind of coincided with an increasing number of percentage of people who actually actively supported it. But it was really that kind of middle ground of people who weren't opposed but also were not going to pick up a banner or go to a rally or a March or anything like that.
Kevin: 00:33:14 And so I think it's a very complex case, right? And a lot of ways. And I think there's a danger sometimes of just trying to copy paste these things. I think we're pretty well aware that our situation, our issues are very different. But you know, the fundamental of, you know, having this organizational strategy of having cases that compliment litigation or legislation and vice versa, being prepared for backlashes. So in our case, a state that, for example, passes a law that says only human beings can be persons. We've in essence seen that from some of the judges we've been up against. But we've also seen judges begin to really come out and say, Whoa, hold on. That's a really dangerous thing to do for a lot of reasons, to premise a rights and personhood in that way. Uh, it just, it just doesn't work that way for reasons we can talk about. But, um, that's kind of the picture that we have.
Jamie: 00:34:06 Yeah, really interesting that this, this idea of, um, gay marriage almost, almost having this kind of latent support for it, just people were fairly indifferent to it. I felt uneasy about speaking up about it or even in surveys or that kind of implication. And this is definitely something that I think is mirrored in. There's a book called This Is An Uprising, um, which talks about various mass movements and it kind of suggests that a mass protest is managed to just polarize opinion in, in a way that was like overall positive. And just by doing that it enabled change to follow. Um, I think this is also something that she's married to by the writings, by people like Cass Sunstein who's talked about, who's talks about this idea. I think, I think the term he used was something like revealed preferences where essentially people just aren't able to express their preferences until the situation is conducive and then suddenly you use the term when societies go wash and everything changes like that.
Jamie: 00:35:01 Um, I didn't want to convey the impression that social change can't come from Supreme court rulings. That's all. Certainly in one of the case studies I've been looking at of the antiabortion movement, which will soon have published through sentences to you, the, the Roe V Wade decision decision protected the right to abortion up to until three months of pregnancy. Even though only a minority of the public actually supported this right at the time. But you do mention this idea of backlash and I think that that is one of my biggest concerns I have about this idea of legal change proceeding, public support. Um, again, Roe V Wade is a big, his own point of backlash. There was a, there was kind of like a lot of antiabortion social movement mobilization shortly afterwards. The kind of main example I have in my head of extreme backlash against a legal ruling is the case of Furman V Georgia in in the, in the death penalty anti death penalty movement, which essentially made or at least seem to temporarily make made the death penalty illegal. And yet at that point public opinion just kind of absolutely turned around. Uh, legislators really mobilized like you mentioned, uh, to, to kind of restrict those changes. How concerned are you that any of the kind of changes that the nonhuman rights project advocates for might actually generate that kind of backlash?
Kevin: 00:36:17 Less concerned, I think for a couple of key reasons. I think one thing going to the Roe V Wade example that can often get lost is rights in their kind of pure form in our tradition are really meant to protect minorities. Indeed it's those situations where public opinion or majority opinion is so overwhelmingly overpowering and minority interests that rights really become necessary indeed. Rights are often most valuable to the weak, the truly powerful, you know, some say kinda don't need rights because they have power, you know that says one kind of positivists you might say view of the world, but I think by and large it, it holds true and so I think that's an important thing to keep in mind. But what's interesting in our case is that you have that strain of rights protecting the vulnerable. Certainly animals are categorically vulnerable to us, certainly. But also you have an, we have extensive public opinion polling to back this up.
Kevin: 00:37:30 ACE actually supported by a grant through the ACE research fund a couple of years ago. Very exciting. The kind of insights, insights that we're getting out of it and what we're seeing so far. Even at a real, I'd say, relatively early stage in terms of these ideas being anywhere near, you know, the broad public discourse. A majority of Americans across all demographics, a slim majority, but you know, about 51% already support what we're talking about. Limited rights for some species. Indeed Gallup polls, asking broader questions about support for animal rights, which is something that they always do. And like annual surveys, you know, has shown a marked increase in people who agree with the statement that animals should have the same rights as humans, which is funny to us because we don't even say that, you know, I think that's often a source of confusion. We're talking about chimpanzee rights and elephant rights and Orca rights.
Kevin: 00:38:27 It just so happens that because of the way they're built. So lo and behold, a lot of their interests are essentially identical to ours that being Liberty and autonomy. But, uh, you know, when you asked the question in this more really scientific specific way, uh, looking at specific species or groups of species, that's where you really start to see, I think exciting levels of support that are, I think galvanizing more and more politicians to, to see that, you know, even if it's just in a kind of callous way of gaining more support and saying the right things and catering to people. But, you know, whatever that's part of the politics, right. I noticed, you know, the Boris Johnson and his first speech, his prime minister included a bit about animal welfare, which I find interesting. Um, just because of the sort of reputation that I think he carries in the sort of politician of his ilk carries, you know, even they will have a nod to animal welfare.
Kevin: 00:39:27 I think, and it, and I'm not cynical or completely cynical on this, I do think that people are becoming more sensitive, uh, whether it's through something as simple as watching animal videos on Instagram for hours a day or, or reading about some of the cutting edge science about the cognition of other species. I think people really are becoming softened to the idea. And so we have this interesting situation where we're trying to marshal rights to protect vulnerable minorities in a true sense and the kind of classical use of rights, but at the same time doing something that really does have a growing base of support. And I think my personal opinion is that as we get more and more detail, we paint a more detailed picture. We stopped talking about animal rights in a very broad way and start doing it in a piecemeal way. I just think that's the only way to do it because even with the cases that we file, we see like NRA blogs, you know, rifle blogs, Hunter blogs saying like, you know, if this elephant wins a habeas Corpus suit, that's the end of hunting. Again. I'm like, what? You know, it's, I just think it shows how much we haven't thought through these issues and how much we need to.
Jamie: 00:40:48 Yeah. Interesting. Um, the, the whole discussion of the kind of increasing support and almost cross political support is an interesting one. Especially as you mentioned the example of Boris Johnson. I do think, or at least my impression is in the UK, there's less of a, of a polarization across on animal issues, across different parties. Um, this is mostly anecdotal, but I did see, I did see you mentioned Gallup polls, Gallup polls, um, compared to some of their, their answers across Democrats and Republicans to do with animal rights, animal welfare. And there was a much bigger gap than I would guess is the case in the UK. But I personally haven't seen comparable data. But yeah, it's an interesting issue. I think that probably accounts for some of the differences in optimism that people have for the ability of kind of not cross cross party, you know, non-partisan support. I'd really like to pick up on that issue. You mentioned of different levels of support for different animals and that poll that you mentioned, if I was following right with, with the ACE funding, you said 51% support for a rights for some species. Are you able to be any more specific on like the species involved or the specific rights?
Kevin: 00:41:53 Yeah, certainly. So it's the same, uh, species that are on our short list, so to speak. Uh, so that would be chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, Bonobos. So the other great apes, elephants and dolphins and whales and the rights would be the, you know, the same ones that we're talking about. And you know, even in the, in the polling they were defined a bit. You, you can't get into too much detail in a polling situation like this. But, uh, we also did follow on focus groups and really kind of drilled into some of the thinking that goes into how we relate to animals, what we think is owed to them and what we think is acceptable.
Speaker: 00:42:34 Yeah. Were there substantial differences between those different animals in those polls that you mentioned?
Kevin: 00:42:38 I think, no, not really. I think that it was 51 more or less for all of them across the board. And then, you know, you, if you look at certain demographics as you might expect, the level of support can be higher educated, women or uh, you know, all kinds of different ways of slicing up the data. But what we're waiting on now, the next wave of this research, it's being done by Garrett Broad, who's at Fordham and does a lot of work around, you know, public attitudes to things like cultured meats and, uh, all sorts of other interesting stuff. And he's been working with this, uh, working on this with us for a couple of years. And the next round of survey we'll really drill down and actually has a whole list of species ranging from dogs, cats, cockroaches, rats, pigeons, and kind of a sliding scale of concern.
Kevin: 00:43:29 And so we're really just at the early, I think, exciting point of starting to draw out these parallels and starting to, you know, another thing that we confront is, um, sort of an inherent bias. It's something that's talked about in certainly in court cases, pretty often the idea that judges as human beings are subject to biases, some of which they're not even conscious of unconscious bias. It's referred to us. And, uh, we think that that does [inaudible] against us. And in part because it's new, because it hasn't been thought out. It hasn't been done in the U S that's understandable. But, uh, certainly the, the hope and you know, one of our main goals of public education and some of the other work that we do is to draw that picture so that there's not such a specter of fear about what it might mean to begin extending rights. Because, you know, I think judges and others are, are naturally concerned about that. Right? They want to know where this might go. And, uh, I think it's on all of us to collaboratively help paint that picture in a really much more detailed way than we've done so far. Just speaking, you know, very broad terms about animal rights, you know, really drilling down, doing that kind of hard work of, yeah.
Jamie: 00:44:49 Yeah. Yeah. Fascinating that you mentioned the, the forthcoming polls are going to drill down into differences between animals. I'd love to see that. Um, I mean, my guess would be, I think you'd get the same, is that the support would be lower for equivalent rights for even cows. You know, mammals, uh, other forms of animals especially, especially found animals. So there's, there's various studies that would suggest this, uh, uh, reasonable psychology literature on questions to do with the moral circle and a paper. I think it might be by, um, it's either by Brock Bastian or Jared Piazza, but it, uh, suggests that suggests the animals that are used for food are given a kind of ascribed a lower than you would expect mental capabilities compared to other sorts of animals.
Kevin: 00:45:34 I think that's kind of part of psychic numbing or cognitive dissonance. We don't want to believe again, because if we
Kevin: 00:45:42 see them for who they really are, then we might think of ourselves as monsters.
Kevin: 00:45:46 Right. I think is, is part of the psychology there, but it's, it's sort of one more thing that, uh, that we have to be cognizant of and, uh, it doesn't directly impact the arguments that we're making, but it certainly helps
Kevin: 00:46:03 us make the decision about where we think we can push and how hard we can push it a given time.
Jamie: 00:46:09 Yeah, sure. Any idea where in all those, those surveys and polls that you've mentioned will be published
Kevin: 00:46:13 I think sometime in the coming months. And I'm certainly happy to, to share that when [inaudible]
Kevin: 00:46:20 when it does come out, we think it will really help, uh, you know, continue to support not only our work but hopefully you know, the work of others as well.
Jamie: 00:46:29 Great. Yeah. But we'd love to see that when it does come out. Okay. I'd love to drill down now we've kind of talked a lot about the kind of broad overview questions we talked about legal strategies, those sorts of things. I'd like to drill down a bit into the non human rights projects, work in the kind of strategic decisions that are made within those campaigns and the litigation process. So why did the Nonhuman Rights Project decide to focus its litigation on cases in the state of New York for the Tommy, Kiko and Hercules and Leo cases? Uh, and then in Connecticut for the Beuhla, Karen and Minnie case.
Kevin: 00:47:01 Oh going, uh, we work in sort of a backwards
Kevin: 00:47:04 way and understandably, you know, a lot of folks who are doing legal work and let's say the welfare or animal
Kevin: 00:47:11 protection space, things like the endangered species act, they will
Kevin: 00:47:14 respond to a case. I'll get a call, you know, there's a horrific
Kevin: 00:47:20 roadside zoo facility somewhere. Say Mississippi, Georgia chimpanzee is just languishing there alone. Is there anything that can be done? And you know, happily in recent years
Kevin: 00:47:30 there have been some cases that have actually using the endangered species act and some other laws actually gotten chimpanzees and other animals moved out of these kinds of situations, which is very much a positive thing. Of course, the problem for us is that we don't, it doesn't create rights and we don't think it has this sort of enduring force that, uh, is really needed for a lot of reasons. So conversely, you know, for us, we decide first on the state and then look, you know, to see what kind of potential clients are in the state, you know, captive species, captive wildlife species of, of, uh, species that we've been talking about. And so prior to 2013 for about the better part of 10 years, Steve and myself, uh, to some degree the, my early days with the organization and a army of volunteers, law students, lawyers and others, uh, really poured over 60 or so factors for every common law jurisdiction in the world.
Kevin: 00:48:36 So all of the U S States, except for Louisiana, which is not a common law jurisdictions and as well as looking outside of the U S and New York emerged. Um, it has really good habeas Corpus case law. So, you know, we can get into that a little bit more. But, uh, in the days when slavery was still illegal in the United States prior to the civil war in the 1820s, we began to see judges in New York really bucking that. And in response to habeas Corpus petitions ruling that uh, slaves were not things but indeed were persons and ordering them free. You know, this is kind of part of the pressure that ultimately set the stage for the end of slavery in the United States and which had its roots in the Somerset versus Stewart case in England. So that is uh, you know, kind of the really foundational case for this idea that the common law more specifically, you know, habeas can be, can be used to transform, uh, a thing to a person. I'm not sure if I answered your question, but I hope I did.
Jamie: 00:49:43 Yeah, you definitely mentioned that kind of pressures in, in New York. Uh, I was kind of also getting it whether there was a, a reason for Connecticut and for the difference between those, those two state choices for the chimpanzees were in New York and the elephant cases have been in Connecticut. Was that just chance of, where was the Connecticut based on a similar analysis of those various factors or was it just arose out of circumstances?
Kevin: 00:50:09 So, uh, yeah, very much. Um, Connecticut likewise has positive case law. Um, some of the other factors we look at are, uh, around standing. Uh, what are the, what are the historical sort of standing rules that had been applied to habeas Corpus in a given state without getting into too much sort of legal jargon, that basically means who can file a claim on behalf of someone else. If you believe that someone is detained somewhere, they shouldn't be. Who has the right to file a claim on somebody else's behalf? That's not been a problem for us at all in New York, but it actually has become a problem, at least a so far in, in Connecticut. Uh, for the first time we've got a ruling back saying that we didn't have standing to bring a habeas claim on behalf of the three elephants, Sarah, Beulah, Minnie and Karen and you know, likewise, uh, Connecticut being, uh, a good state, being relatively close to a, you know, a cluster of us lawyers here in the Northeast, you know, for a lot of different factors in emerged as a, as a good state.
Kevin: 00:51:15 And we had been following the zoo, the Commerford zoo, really just a traveling circus for a number of years, which, which owns, um, the three elephants in Connecticut. And, uh, so for us it was, uh, you know, really just came together. But, uh, as I said, you know, it, it, uh, what we predict doesn't always or hardly ever play out in reality and that can go good or it can go bad. It can go, you know, go either way. Um, but we are continuing to, to plow ahead in Connecticut, we're actually waiting to hear if, um, our appeal will be taken up by their highest court, the Supreme court in Connecticut. And you know, we have a reasonable basis for believing that, uh, you know, because of the court, the current Supreme court in Connecticut and the way that they entertain other cases, uh, on issues of civil rights and other things and we think there's a reasonable chance that they will give us a hearing and a fair hearing.
Kevin: 00:52:18 And really that's, that's all we can ask for this stage. And then, you know, hope that we can prevail on them from there. But you know, there are other factors as well. I mentioned California. The law there is, is you know, equally good in terms of, you know, habeas Corpus and all these technical factors. But you know, also we keep in mind that in California by and large working under the assumption that we slightly more likely to get a judge who's sympathetic to this kind of argument. And um, you know, that's again, just sort of a statistical guess. We can't pick our judges, but we can certainly do our homework and try to at least put our case somewhere where it has a reasonable chance of, uh, of success. Yeah.
Jamie: 00:53:03 Yeah. I'm really interested by this idea of the 60 factors you mentioned that sounds like a whole lot of things to consider. Was this kind of plugged into a spreadsheet somewhere or was this kind of an executive decision by the board at the time? I think I read on ACEs review that the nonhuman rights project tries to make board decisions by, um, by consensus rather than by taking a vote. So considering all different kind of factors, how was that decision to actually arrived at?
Kevin: 00:53:28 So this was all done on a word documents my recollection. So each state, um, basically had its own memo and those could range, you know, dozens, sometimes going into a hundred or more pages of looking at all of these factors and chase citations and quotations from cases. And from there it was really just a matter of getting us all together and pouring over these memos state by state and uh, basically putting it up on a whiteboard. You know, her over time, certain States just emerged as, um, better than others. We even a number of years ago did a whole, I think it's still on our website, but we updated the website a few years ago and it kinda got lost in transition. But we have a whole map of the U S where we, again, this was adequate, you know, this was really before we had even filed, um, or been filing actively, uh, lawsuits.
Kevin: 00:54:27 So it was really just our best guess of ranking, how likely our arguments would be to be accepted in each state. And you know, for some, they don't even have common law of habeas Corpus. So they're written off from the get go and they don't, it's been replaced by a statute. You know, that's something that the legislature can do. They can come in and say, well, this was common law forever, since the beginning, but we're now going to make it a statutory saying and they have the power to do that. Uh, but some States, including New York and California and Connecticut among others, have retained the common law. And so in a very real way, the roots of it are alive and well stretching back to the Somerset case and all these other cases. And so, you know, that kind of important judicial lifeline is what we, uh, rely on because at the end of the day, we're asking judges to make new law. That's what the common law is. And usually that's something that's done through the legislature. But in special circumstances, judges still have the power to, uh, make new law. And that's certainly what, uh, the whole purpose of our, uh, litigation is.
Jamie: 00:55:32 Yeah. Let's, let's focus in on that. Uh, the idea of the specific types of, of, uh, requests that you're making writ of habeas Corpus, for example. So I heard Steven Wise speak at an event in London, um, and he suggested that after studying that Somerset v. Stewart British anti-slavery case that you've mentioned a few times, that was a significant part of what encouraged him to, uh, focus the lawsuits on what he understood judges to already care about and deciding on the ideas of Liberty and autonomy rather than say sentience or some other criteria you could, uh, you could pick, you know, you could pick what specific asks to make based off. Yeah. What are the facts? Is there, were there a similar kind of wide array of factors that were considered between deciding on the different sorts of asks that would make or was that a much simpler decisions focused on risks of habeas Corpus?
Kevin: 00:56:19 Well, I think that's part of the beauty of a writ of habeas Corpus
Kevin: 00:56:23 is it's simplicity. You know, it's really kind of stands alone among indeed. It's labeled as a special proceeding in New York. And most States, you know, it's not regarded as a typical civil lawsuit because I think that makes sense when you consider the extraordinary purpose of it. It's, you know, it goes to really the cornerstone of our idea of a liberal democracy is that your freedom should not be able to be taken away from you arbitrarily, whether it's by the state or some private actor. Of course, nowadays you have kidnapping laws and different things that have sort of plugged in the gaps there. But underneath all of that remains the fundamental premise that the most important thing really, that our society can offer to it. So not just as citizens, but indeed to any person is their fundamental Liberty. And if it can't do that, then you know, is it still a liberal democracy?
Kevin: 00:57:18 Arguably it's not. And so by beginning with that premise, it actually helps clarify so many of these issues. Um, I habeus corpus case is accelerated. It is supposed to be heard rapidly. I should put an asterisk there because our cases can take years to wind through the appeals process. But nonetheless, they still do in important ways. Cut through a lot of the kind of bureaucratic red tape and these different mazes that you can get lost in with a civil lawsuit, whether it's a state or a federal lawsuit. Uh, you know, for example, if you file a typical federal lawsuit, you're going to spend a year or more just exchanging documents and fighting over what you get to see from the other side and what you have to produce to the other side called discovery. Habeas doesn't care about that. You know, if you present a petition that will makes the case that a person is being detained of their Liberty with no judge, cause then the judge is compelled to issue the writ and order the uh, detainer in alleged detainer and uh, get to the bottom of it, right.
Kevin: 00:58:26 Have them state a sufficient reason why this person should be detained. And so while it does bring up all these complex issues, as far as legal devices go, legal vehicles go. It's one of the simplest ones out there. And couple that with the fact that it has this really remarkable history of not only transforming slaves to persons, but in, into to different extent, women and children. And, um, also notably, uh, indigenous Americans, um, case of standing bear, the U S government claim that he was not a person and that he could not file for habeas. And ultimately the court ruled that, uh, that he was a person. And so, you know, that was a landmark case as well. And they all, you know, and even in contemporary times, you know, the challenges to the detentions of enemy combatants after September 11 like Guantanamo Bay,
Kevin: 00:59:22 you know, the government, the U S government argued likewise that they were not, they were outside of the social contract or not persons are not protected by habeas Corpus. And the Supreme court, um, you know, rebuked that and said they are persons, they have to at least be able to, uh, invoke this read and make a petition. We may ultimately find that it's justified to keep them detained, but you cannot, you know, cut off their ability to at least make the argument. And very much the same way. Um, that's a situation very analogous to the situation where, and of course the crucial difference there. And an a big reason that we're not in federal court is that federal courts have almost no access to common law whatsoever. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Uh, they're mostly meant to apply the constitution and written statutes. They're not there except for very, very special circumstances to make common law. And, um, certainly we think that would be essentially a nonstarter for the types of arguments that we're making. So, um, you know, for those reasons we stick to the state courts for now.
Jamie: 01:00:26 Sure. Are there any alternatives to writ of habeas Corpus and maybe even thinking more broadly than the, uh, the kinds of rights that we've been talking about so far that the nonhuman rights project tends to litigate for? Are there other kinds of gradual legal change that could won through the courts? So could we look at animal welfare litigation and seek to expand the scope of that? So an example of this I can think of is that in the UK it's my understanding that there's already legislation which could in theory prevent a huge amount of suffering of found animals, et cetera if it was a pride to them. But it doesn't do so in practice because of the interpretation of the term unnecessary suffering. And I think there's a similar situation in Canada with the term reasonable and generally accepted practices. So could litigation and advocates, like the nonhuman rights projects or other organizations do things like seek to change the interpretation of those terms rather than a advocate for this kind of, I guess an expansion of a whole different kind of right to incorporate animals?
Kevin: 01:01:27 Yeah, I think there, um, there is valuable work that is done and can be done within the welfare framework. But we at the nonhuman rights project absolutely do not do that. Not because we think it's bad, but because we think the time has come to do right. Someone has to be working on pushing the envelope at the fringes, so to speak. But that's not to say that, you know, as I mentioned before, you know, some of the work to expand the coverage of the endangered species act in some ways has been encouraging but, but ultimately, you know, they don't, I don't think, certainly we don't think as an organization get to the root of the issue. And you know, this whole idea of necessary suffering is an interesting one because I think, uh, as an example that you just used, we across Australia, across the world use it as a proxy for these other issues that are, we just kind of don't want to deal with.
Kevin: 01:02:24 We talk about necessity, but I mean that's been wielded forever to defend things that we know in our heart of hearts are really not right. But you are, you know, picking fights to go way beyond the four corners of a, of a court case at that point. And that can be a problem too because courts are not designed and indeed have rules to specifically prevent ideological cases or cases that are not seeking a genuine discreet legal results. Right? They're almost advisory or they're somehow academic in some way. And so that is a concern that we have to keep in mind. We have to keep our arguments and our cases quite narrow and focused in part because we do not want judges to in any way see it as a, you know, being us on a soap box even though inevitably some of them do and will, uh, we've also seen that it really does pay off to, to stick to the four corners of, of a lawsuit.
Kevin: 01:03:28 Now when it comes to habeas and, and there certainly are other vehicles but or other ways that, um, you can pursue it. But the fundamental thing is that in order to have rights, you have to be a person in our system. Um, you can be a thing or you can be a person. It really is that crew, even though that doesn't comport with hardly anybody's vision of reality, that is the legal, you know, paradigm that, that we're stuck with for right now. And as long as that's the case, if we want to see it, animals have any rights whatsoever, they will either explicitly or, you know, just de facto has to be persons. And as long as we're talking about, um, kind of improving their, their welfare, I think we're always going to be cabined in by a utilitarian type welfare analysis that never gets to never questions the fundamental assumption that, uh, that we should be able to own these animals. Right. But at the end of the day, uh, when we deem it necessary or justified, we can, uh, we can take their lives.
Jamie: 01:04:39 Yeah. It's kind of the way you're talking about the distinction between those different strategies kind of makes me wonder whether it comes back to your view of legal change driving social change. Do you think, are you less optimistic that changes to interpretation of, of existing welfare legislation? Are you less optimistic that that can actually drive social change as well? And do you think that that tends to be more kind of like enforcing and securing change that has happened for other reasons? Or am I falsely inferring something from what you're suggesting things?
Kevin: 01:05:07 Oh, I as some people take the tack, uh, this sort of new welfare is, um, sort of critique that there's actually a real danger to welfare laws. You make people comfortable, things like humane meat, right? You make people more comfortable with the idea that, you know, I'm squeamish about this but I'm being told and assured that, you know, they're being killed or harvested or whatever, euphemistic way we want to put it, uh, you know, in a humane or nice way. And I think that there is a real danger there, uh, to put lowering people into this false sense of, uh, security or false sense that, you know, things really are okay. And so I think that there are always inherent limits to how far welfare can go. I do think it's important. I mean, I wouldn't, I'm not so extreme to say that, you know, a law to increase the minimum size of cages is, uh, somehow anti animal. But I am sympathetic to the concern that by simply, you know, improving their conditions but never fundamentally questioning their role in industrial commerce or on our dinner plates or as test subjects or whatever have you. I think that that is, is, is just, um, really in the past and not going to ever get us to the next stage. That I think is not only inevitable, but really what, what justice, any reasonable idea of justice evolving idea of justice would demand.
Jamie: 01:06:40 Sure. Yeah. Really interesting. And you, you touched on this idea of kind of, he may meet or a humane washing and these kinds of, that kind of psychological refuge that that kind of welfare argument might create for people. This is, this is definitely something that we're very concerned about. I think everybody in, in animal advocacy is concerned, even people who are pushing for these welfare changes. Uh, in Sentience Institute's poll of the U S 75% of the respondents actually said that, uh, they usually buy animal products from animals that are treated humanely despite other estimates that Sentience Institute... Sentience Institute has done suggesting that fewer than 1% of farmed animals, uh, in the U S live on non-factory farms. So those numbers just obviously don't work out. But I would say that it's something that, you know, there's plenty of evidence for or against this idea that welfare reforms create momentum or create complacency.
Jamie: 01:07:30 Uh, and what the kind of dominant effect is for the likelihood of further change. This is something that we summarized on our website in the foundational questions summary section when we did a poll before I joined Sentience Institute, Jacy and Kelly did a poll of other researchers in the effective animal advocacy space. The kind of the general view. Of course there was variation in different people had different views with the kind of average view was, was what it was. Actually one of the questions that the researchers were most confident on was that these changes do lead to momentum rather complacency. Let's dive back to an issue we've mentioned several times. You talked quite a lot about the Somerset versus Stewart case. I'm interested in how the nonhuman rights project says use this kind of historical evidence. Um, this is, this is something that I've grappled with quite a lot.
Jamie: 01:08:17 Uh, my first project for Sentience Institute was actually about what the farmed animal movement can learn from history. And again that's on our website. I'm wondering what sorts of lessons that Nonhuman Rights Project has learned from looking at these historical examples. Are they technical lessons such as providing insights into selecting and refining specific arguments that might work or are they more kind of strategic such as how the organization should interact with other animal advocates and other organizations?
Kevin: 01:08:43 I would say by and large they've been to this point mostly technical in the sense of you know, Hey be is and all of the common law just case history that there is around using it to expand category of rights holders and sometimes quite radical transformative ways. While it has been sort of a, a source of technical inspiration or kind legalese, it won't remain that way.
Jamie: 01:09:11 And it kind of, it sits this broader pattern of how we think social change happens and how it intertwines with the common law. But of course, not just the common law, but you know, working with, uh, working with the toolbox that we, that we have to pass. Yeah. I know Kelly read Steven Wise's book specifically on this, some of it, some set of us do it cases cited in the report a few times. This is definitely some overlap, but it's interesting that your impression is also kind of a different focus from the same, you know, the same social movement and has these, these different applications. Uh, so when we do, when we write the social media and case studies, and I'm working on a couple simultaneously, at the moment I'm working on an antiabortion case study and prisoner's rights case study. We spend a decent amount of time or a decent chunk of space talking about the kind of features of the movement and in Kelly's report, the British antislavery case study is a decent amount of texts, quite explicitly discussing the kind of comparisons and incompatibilities between the social movements that we're talking about and the, the context of the farmed animal movement today, how much do you worry about these sorts of incompatibilities as, as actually not necessarily invalidating the evidence but just making it a lot weaker.
Jamie: 01:10:23 And, uh, I guess one specific thing that we discussed a bit so far is just kind of the incomparability of species membership of humans to non-humans and expand and getting over that hump. Do you find that these sorts of differences in the context of the movements that we're looking at make a big difference? How much weight you place on that evidence?
Kevin: 01:10:45 I think that we always want to be, uh, take it with a grain of salt. Um, for one thing, you know, there are a million species of animals. Uh, many of them are beetles. Um, and so from the outset, we're looking in a lot of ways in a much more complex set of issues, right? And we've only, as we've talked about, started with a relatively very small piece of that, of that larger hole. We're of,
Kevin: 01:11:14 of that, um, the fact that, you know, just, you can't transpose history, but I think we also look at the history itself. It's not lost on any of us. That women's rights movement, the anti-slavery movement and even the early days of the, um, what might be called the animal movement all sprung up from the same kind of substrate and in England and among the same sorts of people. And I think I'm reading a lot of contemporary thoughts from the time, you know, it was actually quite natural for people to encompass all of these injustices under one broad rubric of, of oppression or of a subjugation. And so I think that there is a real kind of natural thread that runs through those things. Um, try to avoid those kinds of claims as much as possible. But I do think that here there is this, this kind of, uh, you know, like the Einstein quote about the, again you mentioned the moral circle, right, that it, it almost has this natural tendency to want to expand over time on its own, some kind of outward gravity or whatever.
Kevin: 01:12:29 But you know, that's, that's a premise that isn't shared by everybody. Right. I think we look around the world and it's in some ways more contested than ever that there is this, uh, this kind of natural law, outward expansion of rights. Um, and so it's, it's by no means inevitable, but I think we can also find, you know, reasonable grounds for optimism by, by looking backwards.
Jamie: 01:12:55 Yeah. A bit of a change of conversation here, but I, I'm interested in some of the types of media that the Nonhuman rights project puts out and the, uh, the different forms that takes, so the motivations behind it. What are the non human rights projects, main priorities when it comes to media coverage and obviously in the, I mean, one example of a noticeable piece of media coverage is the film that was made about the nonhuman rights project, unlocking the cage.
Jamie: 01:13:21 And even in that there's lots of examples of Stephen Wise talking to journalists and auto is being written about the litigation cases, et cetera. Are there any sorts of types of coverage or issues within that coverage that the nonhuman rights project we'd like to try and optimize for? Uh, for example, coverage that ties chimpanzees efforts to other animals or the opposite?
Kevin: 01:13:46 That's a great question. And we, um, we spend quite a bit of time. Uh, our communications director has been with us for five years, I believe. Uh, Lauren Choplin, uh, was really quite expert, uh, thinking in so much of this. And especially in thinking about, like you said, how we frame our work. So one broad goal, um, I think not surprisingly is to get published, get our work covered in as many sort of prestige or wide circulation publications as possible. Print online, TV, radio.
Kevin: 01:14:19 But we also do, you know, essentially any interview, anyone who wants to talk to us for a small blog or you know, kind of country magazine or a student magazine, we'll talk to them because we find that the more you can put it out there in the world, the more that it does come back. But certainly, um, I know over the last five years in particular since we first filed our, we filed our first lawsuit in December, 2013 our first habeas case in New York. It was always recognized, you know, Steve always recognized from the beginning that, you know, you ha we had to marshal the media to get this out there, to lay the foundation to put a spotlight on the cases. But we've also seen in really interesting ways, unexpected ways, how it's even had a, I would say, direct practical effect in helping our litigation move along.
Kevin: 01:15:11 So one of the first petitions we filed, um, December of 2013 was for Hercules and Leo to then research chimps were being held out on the tip of long Island in New York at Stony Brook university, a state university. And we filed in the district, you know, basically where they were being held, which is a much more conservatives and say New York city. And we were denied right away by the trial judge, which is not surprising at all. These are the first time anyone had filed the habeas petition, common law, habeas petition for any animal. So that wasn't a surprise. But then the judge refused to, when we wanted to appeal, he basically said, and his clerk said, we're, we're just not going to send the papers alone, which is a not like a duty that the judge can really decide whether or not to do. It's something that he has to do.
Kevin: 01:16:09 It's like a ministerial duty. It's just part of the job. And so we were kind of thrown off by that. Um, not the first time or last time that we've been thrown off by a recalcitrant judge. So while we were preparing to respond to that and essentially try to force the papers to move along. A piece came out about us on the cover of this Sunday time, New York times Sunday magazine, which is obviously a very widely read and often cited and pretty well-regarded publication. And the cover story was all about us. They had mocked up a as a striking image, misleading. Yes. A chimpanzee in a suit, in a courtroom look like he was giving testimony, which of course is just like, you know, clickbait, whatever. But suffice to say, it was this magnificent article by a Charlie Siebert who's written a number of other really prominent articles on animal issues and low and behold, the next day the judge says, Oh, you know, we're going to send papers along.
Kevin: 01:17:10 Yeah, the clerk decides to comply and we faint. We don't have proof, but we think it's pretty clear that, you know, having this almost seal of approval from a serious publication like that, it just helps push things along. You're seen as instantly less fringe. And you mentioned the film unlocking the cage. I have to, you know, sad to report that the director, uh, the legendary director, one of the directors, a da penny Baker just passed away a few days ago at 94, I believe. So we, you know, had a chance to, to get to know him and you know, he was a huge supporter of Steve and our work and you know, I really wasn't honored to and again, you know, have someone with that kind of cultural cache that's a little bit different, but again, it helps pave the way for other people to hear you, to take you seriously.
Kevin: 01:18:04 You know, it's funny when you're trying to communicate a new idea to a person, it can often be very hard to tell which lever is going to get through. You know, some of them. I've met some people who would to most appear to be very cold and calculating. They might be lawyers or bankers, but on issues for example, like animals, they are complete softies or you know, if you get to them through a film or through some artistic means. We basically tried to pull as many levers out there as possible. In recently, I think we've been able to, now that we have, we've seen this firsthand, you know, I certainly have over the last, uh, five years or more, the, even the tone of the headlines and reporting has changed. You know, we don't see so many absurd headlines like lawyers trying to turn chimps into humans or something just absurd like that per seeing a much more, I think details, look at what we're doing.
Kevin: 01:19:02 I think a lot of that comes down to us just patiently educating over and over, um, and oversharing and, you know, sending everything and making it as easy as we can on their end. But I think it also comes from, you know, just the process of these ideas being digested by more people in more places. And we monitor all of our media. So, you know, we know that we're being seen in one way or another by hundreds of millions of people around the world a year. Uh, at least according to these, you know, media monitoring services, it can be a little hard to tell sometimes. Like when you get from Facebook and report of how many impressions, you know, sometimes you'll have whole, what does that really mean? But, um, I think the, the tone, uh, of, of the coverage speaks to the fact that more people really are reading it and thinking about it seriously.
Kevin: 01:19:49 And, you know, it is reaching a really very wide audience and you know, that's, it's, I think oftentimes I think people see it as a is a is a golden goose. Like, Oh, if I can only get it in paper, it's actually going to be remarkable how, how I want to say how a little bit, how little a can do. Sometimes. Like sometimes it's, okay, great, you've got a story, what next? And so I think if you overprivileged it, you can get into trouble. So I think that for us, a lesson has been to, to follow media and track it and to actively work on it, but to also not, you know, cater to it to continue doing the work that we do and basically make them understand it. Not sort of quote dumb it down like we want spent probably two or three hours on the phone with a reporter from the AP, bless her heart because she just, uh, she was having a lot of trouble with this, this concept of personhood, which is totally understandable. I mean it's, it's very counterintuitive in the law what it means. And, and she, she stuck with it and it ended up producing this piece that w you know, those in the AP. And if it was good, it was solid and then it gets picked up by hundreds of other publications and translated. And so you see this magnifying effect. And so, you know, after five years of building these relationships and getting people on our kind of mailing lists, media lists, um, yeah, we find that it really does pay off.
Jamie: 01:21:14 Sure. So, so would you say from that, that there's, there aren't really any kind of quantitative indicators of, of media coverage, which are actually that informative? Do you kind of privilege the, just your kind of subjective judgment of the, the tone and the quality of the coverage much more than those kinds of cognitive indicators?
Kevin: 01:21:31 Well, I would say fall. I mean certainly looking at like the numbers that the media media monitoring service that we use gives us, I think those are pretty reliable. And you know, like when you're getting a a, like in the wall street journal for example, that's I think a great example where we've seen some of the best and most detailed and say respectful reporting because, you know, some reporters can't help but like sneak in a joke, like they, some kind of banana joke or whatever. But that is diminishing too. There doesn't seem to be as much of this reflective, uh, Oh, we better make a joke here cause it's an animal story. It's, it's something that, again, and that's, you know, largely anecdotal. But I think, uh, um, we would certainly like to do a more in depth sort of media analysis and really look at some of the words and the frequency of words over the years. And I think it would, uh, very much bear it out.
Jamie: 01:22:27 Sure. Yeah. Lots of interesting stuff there. Um, the, the whole idea of the framing effects of the discussion and the kinds of discussion that goes around it is something that's come up as quite important in, well, various case studies that Sentience Institute has done. I know it's been a big, a big factor in [inaudible] technology adoption case studies on GMOs and nuclearization. Um, it's really interesting how that compares. I was also interested with the, the comment about the, about the article coming out and then very shortly after which the judge making the decision. Uh, it just, it just begs the question I guess. I mean if, if we assume that there is some causal link there, which is obviously not definite, um, what that process was that led to that change. It's not because they see it as an indicator of public opinion and therefore they think that there's more support for change than they'd previously thought. I mean, this is something that, uh, having read a little into the, the literature that exists on the, the links between social, sorry, public support and Supreme court decisions, um, seems to be fairly consistent that there's a very strong link between the two and suggested that there's definitely an indirect link. Also possibly a direct direct link, like something like that. Do you have any thoughts about what might have led to that change if you believe that that article did play a role in her, in the change of the decision?
Kevin: 01:23:47 I think it does, like you said, uh, conveyed to the judge that, Whoa, this is an issue that is, you know, again, the first time he's ever seen it, you know, maybe he realized or thought by this is not as fringe or as crazy as I perhaps thought it was. But I think the other thing is that it's a assigned to a judge that Hey, I'm being watched. Um, most cases don't get reported on. They're very anonymous, but our cases do. And, and so in that instance, you know, a judge refusing to do his job suddenly becomes a different, um, proposition. So I think that those are at least two factors that may have, uh, may have been relevant there.
Jamie: 01:24:32 Yeah. So you mentioned earlier as well, kind of different types of media and just lots of different ways of influencing these decisions. How do you think, say the film unlocking the cage compares to Stephen Wise's book rattling the cage, which I looked up on Google scholar and that's got, I think it was nearly 600 citations for that book. And then how does that compare to the more, I mean I haven't looked through many of them, but why I would assume are mostly slightly more technical legal papers in, you know, respected legal journals, have those different kinds of types of media competitors.
Kevin: 01:25:06 Well, some people might hate me for saying this, but nobody reads law review articles. I mean, it's sort of a joke that we have. Um, it's not actually true. People do read them, but of course you're speaking to a pretty narrow audience. But that shouldn't be taken to mean that it's not worthwhile. I think if you're just looking at the metric of how many people are going to see a given piece versus how much time you might be blown a little bit off course because of the fact that, you know, these large view articles, technical journal articles really can't take on like an outside significance if they're relied upon by a judge. That home rule article that I mentioned about our legislative work and kind of outlining that a big part of that was not only to educate the public and, and sort of give a heads up in a sense to, to folks out there in the world, but also to serve as a defensive memo of sorts.
Kevin: 01:26:01 If I have, we or others take this tack and you know, preview some of the issues that could come up and, you know, actually survey, uh, a practical function. So in that instance, even if a handful of people or, you know, one person uses it to, you know, meaningfully advance a claim for rights, then I think it's more than paid for itself in terms of our time of, of researching and writing it. Um, but when we, you know, compare something like Steve's books to the, to the film or even like his a Ted talk, it's been out for, you know, five years or so. It's been seen by over a million people certainly. And you know, it's, it's very hard to, to, to gauge this. I think people make whole careers out of, you know, selling this kind of data and packaging it and certainly I'm sure dry drawing, um, real insights from it.
Kevin: 01:26:55 But I think there's so much more art than science when it comes to what really sticks with people. But that being said, you know, I, I've seen firsthand the impact that the film can have on people. Um, I think that, you know, films and in our day and age are, uh, having a documentary out there is certainly a great thing. But, um, just like with anything else, you know, you can't like rest on your laurels. You got a great news story. You got a documentary by these amazing filmmakers. You have to, you have to find ways to keep constructively using it because, you know, film it is, is it, it can be a great organizing tool, but it's also 90 minutes and sometimes hard to get people to, to come to a place and see it. And you know, we don't own the rights to it and you know, we're not free to just distributed freely to anybody.
Kevin: 01:27:46 We can't do that at all. So we're a little bit, um, hamstrung in that way. Right? So if we owned it and maybe it wouldn't have been done by these great, amazing filmmakers and shown on HBO, so there's a bit of a tradeoff there, but I think one that's, uh, that's certainly worthwhile. And the other thing for us is to, you know, certainly like longer form things like what we're doing here. Try to do more of these really anyone who who expresses a genuine interest, uh, we're, we're happy to connect and speak with them because again, we're just trying to get this in front of as many different kinds of audiences that we can
Jamie: 01:28:28 if we were to ignore the effects on public opinion and just think in terms of like the direct effects on the, the people, the judges and the people actually in the cases that you are trying to influence, do you have any evidence or reasons to suspect that any of those particular types of media are more or less influential on those individuals? So we've, we've spoken a bit about the, the kind of like public facing articles and effects that they've had. Um, would you, for instance, think that that might have actually been more influential on the way that the case is panned out than the specific legal articles?
Kevin: 01:29:02 I think that, um, for the, what we might call partial victories are victories that we've seen so far in our cases that it was probably more relevant, the level of like media attention versus, you know, looking at say the strength of any given the arguments of any particular law review article. That being said, uh, something we've started including in all of our petitions, initial fight, you know, that start a new lawsuit. We have this remarkable footnote or series of footnotes that we put together after a lot of work that um, sites the hundred or more law review articles that have been written about us. Um, pro con neutral over the last, uh, you know, decade or so. And I think the, the sheer number is meant to convey that this is a serious topic. It's a worthy topic of, of consideration. And, and likewise, we include a footnote about some of the more prominent media sources that have covered it.
Kevin: 01:30:11 And you know, I think to some extent where we're still, you know, again, we've been litigating these cases the first of their kind cases for five years now and learning an awful lot as we go. But I think part of it has been sort of gaining more confidence. We in the early days felt that well this is so new, we really have to throw in everything but the kitchen sink, maybe the kitchen sink to uh, in terms of just overloading these cases, putting in probably more citations necessary, trying to cover every base twice. And I think now we're getting to a point where we've seen, again some of these victories along the way, all these factors that, that sell us that we don't need to sort of front load things quite as much. And that is great for a lot of reasons. I'm not least, it allows us to sort of cut to the chase, right?
Kevin: 01:31:05 And rather than having to use to be the case, for example, we would really have to preface, the whole idea was a lot, it was kind of introductory language about rights and personhood. And now that we have great judicial language that we can actually cite, we can start with that and that rings we think a lot more powerfully then, you know, the alternative. So, um, I think in all things we have to just put out a lot at the beginning and then over time able to to, um, kind of not have to sort of chase it down so much, just being able to, and then it kinds of takes on an organic growth of its own, you know, people write about us that we don't even know about and we'll just, all of a sudden you hear that there's a book chapter or there's this or there's that. And again, it might not always be accurate or growing or we something we totally agree with, but it's, it's being discussed in a way that's, uh, this not dismissive but is very, you know, engaging with the, with the idea,
Jamie: 01:32:05 earlier in the interview we discussed, uh, how the nonhuman rights project is, I guess the kind of work that it's been doing is seeing successes in other countries as well, um, in, albeit in slightly different formats. I'm interested in how the nonhuman rights project interacts with legal efforts in other countries. So in 2017 post, uh, notes that the Nonhuman Rights Project provided a model for rights-based education to attorneys in Argentina and Columbia. And there that helped to result in the transfer of a chimpanzee from a zoo to a sanctuary and the recognition of the rights of a spectacled bear. So I'm interested in what does that, what did that model look like? Is this kind of symphony sending over generic resource or does this involve ready, active collaboration and support with litigators and advocacy in those countries?
Kevin: 01:32:51 It's a, I find really interesting, again, being really quite early on in this whole endeavor around the world. Uh, it's really been a very much a mixed bag. So Argentina for example, uh, we have lots of contacts there, but the lawyer who, um, really sort of initiated, began filing habeas Corpus petitions down there was someone we knew, but we're not, we were not in direct, uh, contact with. And so he essentially, you know, works with our cases as a basis and we put out everything that we file on our website. And that's one of the reasons we do that. We want people to, uh, to kind of take the ball and run with it with the sort of caveat that we very much liked to, uh, be involved if possible, if only to offer our own experience, uh, kind of mistakes, pitfalls, it might be avoided, that sort of thing.
Kevin: 01:33:45 But, you know, by and large, we absolutely want people to, to try to replicate this as they can. So that's really was the inspiration in Argentina, which the best example, yet I was a case involving Cecilia, a chimpanzee, a zoo in Mendoza, Argentina, um, who, as you mentioned, was free to after a writ of habeas Corpus and declared a person and is now living at a sanctuary in Brazil. And in Columbia. It was a slightly different situation, although we were by no means in the driver's seat there, although we were, uh, kind of a little bit more in contact with the lawyers involved in that case. We have a, uh, like a blog interview that we did with the attorney on our website in Spanish and English, uh, for anyone who wants to check that out. And it's showcase showcases really interesting because, so at the trial level, you know, I had this endangered bear who was, uh, granted a writ of habeas.
Kevin: 01:34:44 And that's interesting, um, for a lot of reasons. But one being that, you know, autonomy, there was not seemingly a consideration and you know, the cognitive abilities of the bear was not seemingly rarely taken into account. Uh, there were other factors that seemed to, uh, and for us it's, that's often difficult. First we have to translate them, but even then, you know, you're dealing with the law of another country and a translation, it can be really difficult to know exactly what basis the judges are operating on. But nonetheless, we were thrilled with that results. You know, we put it in all our legal briefs. Of course a lot of the U S courts don't want to hear about it and they just won't, you know, really entertain it or let us kind of file it. But, but that's okay. You know, again, we're still in the early days of this and then we will look at other countries like India, Israel for example, the UK there we've uh, over the past several years through some fits and starts really put a lot of effort into recruiting volunteers and other folks to lawyers to in those countries who are committed to rights and who want to work towards rights.
Kevin: 01:35:56 And then we basically share whatever we think can be helpful from our own sort of archives. You know, those habeas Corpus memos that I mentioned. Um, those are a pretty useful starting point. Even going to a place that's quite different like India, part of what helps us there of course, is that, um, they are also a common law country and a lot of most court proceedings are done in English. And so for us that helps simplify matters. We also think that there's a lot of action. There's, you know, all the time, there's a new judgment coming from India that, uh, seems to be expanding the recognition of rights or pushing the envelope in some way. And, uh, similarly in Israel, Shirley Shtiegman our volunteer coordinator and attorney who wrote the blog post that you mentioned, she is from Israel and an attorney there and a us attorney.
Kevin: 01:36:48 And so she's really helped, uh, spearhead the development of a group that is hoping to file the first a habeas Corpus petition for an animal in Israel before the end of this year if everything comes together and going forward. You know, it's, it's, there is no one size fits all. Um, some countries, you know, litigation of this sort is just simply not an option. Uh, we have another very well organized group in Sweden and Finland. They kind of have this shared interesting legal system. Uh, but they're, you know, litigation habeas is just of the sort that we're talking about. Uh, or habeas itself is just not a thing. And litigation is a whole different kind of beast there. And so they're looking more now at a constitutional level change, which has all sorts of other issues. But suffice to say that there is no one size fits all, but there is a lot of commonality.
Kevin: 01:37:45 And so we see ourselves more and more as, yeah, kind of an international law firm working pro bono for groups. So around around the world who wants to, you know, for us it's, is this going to lead to rights? You know, that's where they are. Fundamental question before we get involved in pretty much anything. And a lot of the times the process is trying to help people or find people who can figure out what that means in a given country. Uh, is it sort of a, roughly what we're trying to do here or, you know, is it different? And, you know, Colombia and Argentina for example, there's a lot of commonality, but there's some important differences to, you know, their, their civil law countries. So they come much more from, uh, uh, Roman and French, German law tradition, uh, as opposed to the English common law.
Kevin: 01:38:38 So, you know, that's an important difference. But I've also found, uh, interestingly, you know, when you're trying to figure out what is it that makes judges in Latin America, for example, appear more sympathetic. It really isn't a, a matter of the legal fine points. It seems to be more like where there's a will. There's a way and for reasons, cultural reasons, social reasons we don't really know about. They judges are just more likely or more sympathetic, more open minded and wanting to see this result. And I think that's a factor that, you know, can never be overlooked. Uh, you know, how the, the cultural backdrop that the judges working against. And one more thing on that really interesting just this week, uh, to show the bear. So his habeas petition or his victory was a appeals and the appeals court actually, you know, said no, this bear cannot be the subject of behaviors red because animals are not rights bearers, they're not persons.
Kevin: 01:39:41 And now the case, uh, has, is going up to the, uh, one of the highest courts in Columbia, the constitutional court. And they actually asked Steve to, uh, submit a video, a video statement, which we did about 10, 12 minutes and it's subtitles. And, uh, we basically just talk about what we do, why we use Habeus and why, why it's important for the Columbia constitutional court to recognize that animals can be persons. And so I think that's one more indication of how the word is getting out there. And we're increasingly seen as, you know, really experts on this, not just for other lawyers, but for, you know, judges at the highest levels in, in other countries.
Jamie: 01:40:25 Yeah. It does make me wonder, given these slightly more concrete successes that have been seen in some of these other countries like Argentina, whether there's scope for, if not nonhuman rights project, then some other kind of organization to work on kind of coordinating or supporting these efforts more in a, in a fuller capacity or whether indeed that's something that the Nonhuman Rights Project is, is moving towards.
Kevin: 01:40:50 Well, it's certain we have a wishlist, you know, I have my own, but, uh, we, we, uh, we've grown, but uh, you know, we certainly see a lot more opportunity to, uh, we hope, uh, continue to grow in the future. And certainly the international stuff is something where I think, uh, we'll see a lot of growth because I think there's a lot of ways just more opportunity there right now. Yeah.
Jamie: 01:41:13 Do you think that, just to put it in starker terms with the kind of like say non human rights projects funding or just capacity expands in the next few years, would you say that that the priority, would that increase resource and capability is to focus on securing victories in the U S or is it on expanding support for those other countries?
Kevin: 01:41:35 I think by and large, we're still a U S organization, so that's where our main focus will, will stay for the foreseeable future. But I think just by necessity, not to mention the fact that seeing more of these victories in other countries will only over time increase the likelihood we think of it happening here. So there is this quote kind of self-serving aspect to it in that way. But I think that, you know, over the next five years we'll, we'll start to see potentially, um, international or non U S work, uh, taking up closer to 25% or even approaching 50% of the work that we do. But, you know, for now we're, we're focusing most of our, certainly our lawyer attention on the U S and you know, working also with the assumption if we can make a breakthrough here, um, it'll be, it'll be really valuable. Uh, not just in the U S but outside as well.
Jamie: 01:42:32 So you mentioned funding briefly there. How far is the long human rights project funding constrained? Uh, the 2017 animal charity evaluators review suggests that the nonhuman rights project hasn't struggled that much to fundraise. Would you say that's an accurate characterization?
Kevin: 01:42:48 Well, I think, uh, in this, in some sense it's true. We've been fortunate because it really, Steve's decades of work in this area and building a profile and building that level of trust and a kind of authority in the area. Uh, we've been able to build on that a lot and also adopt kind of modern good practices in terms of online fundraising and, and, uh, you know, trying to find new channels like Instagram, Facebook, anywhere else, but at the same time, it's kind of like, you know, the, I almost hesitate to use this, this metaphor of the, of the goldfish in the bowl that, you know, grows as big as the bowl is. And so for us, we, we are very mindful of making sure as much as possible that we are securing jobs for the people that we have, right. Rather than expanding perhaps too fast and then running into a funding crunch.
Kevin: 01:43:48 So, you know, we, we certainly have our sleepless nights about, you know, certain funding coming in and making sure that we can take care of the folks that we have, but also, you know, very much wanting to continue to expand. We just have, uh, within the last seven months, hired two lawyers, uh, just a couple of weeks ago, brought in a new lawyer and, um, you know, could conceivably do that again in the not too distant future. Um, but of course we have other aspects of the organization that are growing as well, um, in terms of campaigns and legislative work, so all kinds of needs there. So, uh, in a sense we are very fortunate to be where we are, but we also see that, uh, kind of going to the next level will require,
Jamie: 01:44:40 yeah, of course. Yeah. It's, no, it's never going to be too far from mind, but I'm intrigued about the kind of, uh, what might you suggest is the, the greatest bottleneck to the nonhuman rights project kind of achieving even more than it currently does? Is it funding? Is it a lack of awareness and support for your work? Is it a talented applicants for those roles that you say you've been hiring for? Any thoughts?
Kevin: 01:45:08 I, it's definitely not the last one. I think we got very happy with the quality of applicants and I think that goes hand in hand with the work that we do and everything else. Um, makes it, you know, people of that caliber want to be involved. So that's been really good. I think it's probably more than anything else, a function of time to some extent that the litigation process is slow to kind of soft factors that, that we've talked about. It's very hard to know when they might kind of crest into a wave that her wish moment that you mentioned Cass Sunstein talks about. So I think that that's how we, I think broadly.
Jamie: 01:45:56 So you're saying, does that mean that you're kind of kept the, the rate that you can expand and how, are you already sort of maxing out that rate? Or is it, is it just that it's not even a question of expansion? You are just that the cap for now, depending on further changes that might have?
Kevin: 01:46:11 I think that we, for right now we're kind of at a, perhaps a momentary plateau, but there are certainly things that, for example, when we really launch in a serious way, our first legislative campaigns, those will require, you know, large amounts of resources just because legislative campaigns cost a lot of money. You know, you're, you're trying to reach, uh, on our case, you know, a large number of people in a large city. And, uh, certainly if you have, if we have to go the ballot initiative route, because I didn't mention that, you know, there are multiple ways to pass municipal law, you know, it can be forwarded along by the city council or if that doesn't work out by popular referendum residents vote on it. And so if it goes that route, you know, in terms of seeking a vote of the public, you know, that can be a inexpensive campaign. So I think we, we kind of, we tried to amass our resources and then be very careful about when we clumped down somewhere and try to do it in a way that will kind of have this magnifier effect, a multiplier effect, whether it's in the sense of being replicable elsewhere or like with the lawsuits, uh, you know, just the precedent or the, the violence themselves kind of becoming a product that, you know, is, is a public, uh, you know, for public use. Uh, you know, we hope,
Jamie: 01:47:43 I'm sure it will change the situation substantially when if you do start to expand those, those legislative aspects, I'm sure it will. It's almost like a whole different branch of the organization, isn't it? Um, I'm, I'm wondering then if you've, if you're not struggling with employees, you're not struggling with funding, is there anything that say legal professionals in the U S can do right now to support the non human rights projects work? Is there, are there things that are still needed that people can definitely chip in on?
Kevin: 01:48:11 Yes. But not necessarily right away and not necessarily, uh, the kinds of stuff exactly that we've been talking about. I think over the years we've seen, we've had the same core of lawyers, uh, for 10 years and we've had some people come and some people go and it's a, it's a balance that we're always working out of. You can run into the, you know, too many chefs problem potentially. Um, you mentioned that, you know, we really do is particularly the legal team work by consensus, but when you get up to six, seven lawyers, it can inevitably become a little more difficult. And so there's a bit of a balancing act that goes on there in terms of the real sort of core litigation work and making those sorts of decisions. But I think in particular as we get into the legislative arena, there will just be all these little kind of more normal law problems they've come up that we can't even anticipate yet because that's just the nature of this stuff.
Kevin: 01:49:16 You just don't know it until you're doing it. And I think there in particular, in the coming years, it will be, that'll be really important. But also, you know, we have a general need and will have an increasing need as we bring in another lawyer to, um, for factual research, just support cases. Um, you know, it doesn't all have to be direct kind of quote, lawyer work. You know, we find that, you know, lawyers just bring a good set of skills to, uh, to a lot of things, but they're also, you know, not the only sorts of volunteers that we're working with. And so I think in our earlier days, we really did rely quite heavily on a lot of volunteers. But in recent years we've, we've been able to kind of pair down and really focus on very laser-like on the cases that we're doing rather than, you know, the kind of preparatory research.
Kevin: 01:50:10 But, you know, I could imagine us also potentially going into another phase of, uh, say developing another, uh, form of case, uh, that we file say, uh, in addition to habeus Corpus and, you know, that could send us back to the drawing board in a way that wouldn't all of a sudden make having potentially a large number of volunteers, uh, lawyers on hand. But you know, we, again, we balance it with the, uh, sort of too many chefs probably because when you've been doing this stuff for, you know, 30 years, like some of us have it, you don't want to say you've heard everything, but you've heard a lot and, uh, you know, it, it can really take a year or two to, uh, kind of absorb all of this because it is so different than the welfare, uh, lens that, that lawyers are used to.
Jamie: 01:50:59 Yeah. So I'm wondering with this, um, with this kind of too many chefs metaphor that you are using a few times, um, so let's say there's, somebody listens to this podcast is a talented lawyer who's, uh, really motivated to make change for animals, etc. What is their scope for other organizations to kind of replicate the work that the non human rights projects are doing or not necessarily replicate but do similar sorts of work? Maybe using habeas Corpus writs in the same way, um, in other States? Like, can you see that as being, uh, organizations coexisting and happily contributing, kind of attacking the problem from different angles, different locations?
Kevin: 01:51:36 See, yes and no. And I only say that because, and this is sometimes a source of uneasiness. We want to see it pursued in a wide variety of places, but we also are fearful of negative precedent or let's say people who are not fully committed to just how much hundreds and thousands of hours it takes to properly do a case like this. And so it's somewhat uncomfortable balance at times between encouraging more of it but also discouraging a kind of a, I guess halfway approach to it. Uh, that being said, um, I certainly believe that once we break through and there's opinions out there on the books that, that recognize rights for animals that then it becomes a different ballgame. And, um, you know, we can hope and, and to some extent, you know, there are historical parallels where you had a, a kind of one group that sort of took the lead on, or at least maybe pioneered a civil rights cases, for example, um, that the NAACP was doing that legal defense fund.
Kevin: 01:52:53 There was sometimes concern among their ranks that, you know, other groups, maybe smaller groups or less well known groups would file cases, uh, very similar cases, but not prosecute them out well or not just take all the necessary steps to make sure that maximize the chances for success because, uh, you know, the laws is a tricky business and small little technical things that you don't think should justifiably being wielded against you. It can be welded against you and, uh, you know, and, and if just, and that, that's not to, uh, I really hesitate to say that and it could, if it could sound sort of discouraging, but I guess from my perspective, I, I just mean it's a sound, be sure that you're committed to this because there's a lot at stake. Um, when you file one of these cases, certainly we're aware of that and you know, we think about the ramifications of our own cases as much as we can and try to guard against negative results. But, you know, even we, you
Kevin: 01:53:55 know, we can't do that completely either. So.
Jamie: 01:53:57 Yeah, it's really interesting. You mentioned the, the, the negative precedent issue. I just want to pick up on that briefly. Um, my impression was that them nonhuman rights project wasn't too worried about the idea of, of setting negative precedent. As long as there's a kind of undercurrent of incremental progress at the same time, how are we all use it? The rulings overrule negative rulings wherever they might be might set this kind of negative precedent I guess. I mean there have been some examples of where this could arguably have shown to have been a problem so far in the non human rights projects work. So like with justice Jaffe he's citing of the precedent of the Tommy and Kiko rulings as a reason that she didn't kind of like approve the requests as made by the nonhuman rights project.
Kevin: 01:54:46 Right. And so I, I, you know, this is a very more at thing to do perhaps of crimes kind of distinction. But when I think about negative question and I think more about, well, if someone were to just say, run out tomorrow and try to do this, uh, for a chicken at a factory pharma habeas petition, I think that would be frankly a disaster at this point in time in history. I don't think it would, uh, have any reasonable chance and I think would actually could potentially set a negative precedent and that a judge could come out in a really heavy handed way against it. But that being said, uh, I obviously can't know that for sure. I'm just basing it on where society's at and how and where in the sciences. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Right. And, um, but in the Jaffe instance, I think that's a bit different because, you know, we're, she's
Kevin: 01:55:44 looking at precedent from, well, almost identical case and because there is no other law or at that time there was no other law for her to, uh, to look to, you know, as a trial judge, she has to be mindful of appellate decisions that might bind her. I think that, that, that sort of precedent is, is just part of the process. I think even more so we're seeing, uh, for example, the, the ruling against us that you only beings who can take on duties and responsibilities. That is only humans can have rights and be persons. You know, that that sort of thing I think is, is really a necessary, almost a necessary bad precedent in some way because it's this vague idea that is floating around out there is social contract theory. That's what, that's what determines rights. And it's, and in some ways someone had to say it, you know, like someone had to put it out there before it could be actually refuted.
Kevin: 01:56:49 But now, you know, we're at the point where last year a judge of the highest court in New York, um, we think did just that, you know, he came out in no uncertain terms and said that, you know, this, this description of rights based on, based on species or based on duties, responsibilities is, um, is just simply not the way the law works and not the way, uh, that it should justly work.
Jamie: 01:57:16 Yeah. So I wonder whether, um, there's a distinction here between cases that are kind of more out there and really quite different from the non human rights project strategy. Like the, the PETA case that you mentioned earlier, and you gave an example, hypothetical example, they have a kind of chicken case. Would you say that that's a whole different, uh, context from say a case, which is much more comparable to the sorts of work that the Nonhuman Rights Project has been doing in New York and Connecticut?
Kevin: 01:57:44 So I think it, it, uh, it really comes down to the quality of the quality of the arguments and the quality of the certain, the scientific affidavit's and other support. And also, you know, is it, is it happening in a state where, um, you know, we think that, that these other factors are in place. But look, at the end of the day, we, we can't control who files, we can't control what arguments are made. Um, you know, we can just hope to, uh, to put our best case forward and do all that we can to kind of offer our 2 cents to people. But you know, we're still at a time where this is not even really university agreed among animal law practitioners that this is the way things need to go. But we are certainly committed to that. We've, we've really made that decision that someone needs to be working on personhood and rights and you know, so we just, we kind of a blank a lot of that out. I think like a lot of times anyone needs to do to be effective, you have to put blinders on from time to time and just sort of have faith in what it is you're doing in the past that you've chosen to take. But you should also really do your homework to make sure that there's a, at least some kind of colorable case that it could work out.
Jamie: 01:59:09 Yeah. Speaking of, of doing your homework, um, I'm wondering about the best preparation is that people can do in terms of their career and their own personal development for working on the kinds of work that the nonhuman rights project where it's even if it was say to be one of those lawyers that's part of that turnover that you were saying or if the nonhuman rights project expands in the future or whatever, how would somebody best prepare to be a really excellent candidate for a role at the Nonhuman rights projects?
Kevin: 01:59:35 Well, I think, uh, looking at the way we've developed, um, you know, really our core team of people, we all, almost all of us began as volunteers. And so I think we're still at a point where that does matter a lot. Not only do you get to know people and they come to trust you and see how you are as a worker, but you also are taking the year or more that it takes to really firmly understand the basics per specially the legal ins and outs of the case. So that is how I, you know, got involved over both 10 years ago. I first got involved as a volunteer and, um, you know, Steve was unpaid for the vast majority of the organization's history until we got to a point where he could actually finally, uh, get paid, which is really nice. Um, and yeah, so I guess in a nutshell and it's, that's, uh, a great place to start, whether it's with us or with others, but also I think that looking into the, into the future, I'm, I'm hopeful that new opportunities will emerge whether it's, you know, I think the more we put out there, you're, you'll, we'll start to see smaller cities or even larger ones.
Kevin: 02:01:01 I'll spontaneously, I have a member of their city council who is into this idea, you know, take it up on their own. You know, that's certainly something that we hope to see, um, by really focusing on a good city to start with and making, uh, a really good show of it. We, we, we hope that, you know, that kind of takes on its own organic grows. Um, and we think that it will because not only is it something people care about, but it's an issue that, uh, you know, I think more and more legislators sees that actually build them Goodwill, their constituents, especially in more animal friendly parts of the country.
Jamie: 02:01:39 Yeah. I'm wondering if there's, if there's like a specific career paths that people should go down, specific courses, they should do, all those sorts of things. So I think in your own career you worked in several different legal context prior to working for the nonhuman rights project. You worked in private practice and I think your, your experience was you had some experience with civil rights litigation cases, uh, have, have those sorts of things affected your work substantially or is that kind of thing much of a muchness compared to say the more animal specific volunteering and concrete experience that people build up in other sentences?
Kevin: 02:02:11 That's a great question. Um, because I did both, you know, in law school I went to law school because I wanted to do, uh, but basically what I'm doing now, so I had a very clear idea after reading. Um, you know, all of Steve's books and everything else I could find, I had determined, well, you know, it actually is a viable career path to, uh, to be a, an animal rights lawyer. And so for me it was always important. I knew I wasn't going to get this kind of experience from the law school itself. Uh, I think a lot of them are getting better with programs and stuff, but, um, you know, where I was, it was pretty bare bones and you know, that's okay. I had to just volunteer and find my own opportunities. Clerkships. But yeah. You, you made an interesting point about, you know, what is more relevant?
Kevin: 02:02:57 I actually, I think it is important to have exposure to, uh, animal issues and involvement with them, but in a bigger sense, my rather unintentional experience with, uh, you know, civil rights litigation and, uh, some of the other private practice stuff that I did that was really frankly me surviving while I was pestering Steve and sort of hoping that something would open up. So there was a very much, a lot of kind of patients and a hope. And at times, uh, frankly, you know, frustrations of feeling like, well, I never set out to do this kind of work. But, uh, at the same time as recognition all along that, especially doing civil litigation, you know, that just sort of, that was the opportunity that was available to me and, uh, because I didn't take the typical career route and I wasn't really a candidate for these big law firm jobs.
Kevin: 02:03:53 And so being like fresh in New York and coming, you know, just out of law school, the jobs that were available were by large plaintiffs jobs. And that's actually great experience because you are oftentimes thrown right into the middle of having to manage a case and you know how to make a motion. And so that experience, you know, my job, my role is executive director, but I'm still very much involved with the legal cases, especially in New York because that's where most of my experience was as a practicing lawyer. And you know, it, it's pretty remarkable how much that has, uh, been, uh, been useful for, for the work that we're doing now. Even though, you know, I never intended to,
Kevin: 02:04:38 uh, to do any of that stuff. It was just a function of surviving.
Jamie: 02:04:41 I guess. The Nonhuman Rights Project is probably quite different to some organizations in the sense that almost the most directly relevant experience you can get is legal experience in other context rather than some of the other animal specific stuff. Given the, the focus on rights and habeas Corpus writs, et cetera, do you think that there was anything important in terms of your private legal experience in terms of just kind of like the culture that you were around and the work environment that might be important to other animal advocates to make up? So I guess I'm angling it, say somebody wanted to work for another organization. Let's imagine say like lobbying or even just like corporate outreach or some other kind of role in a advocacy organization. Would you guess that that kind of private sector, even for-profit experience was an important, is an important part of people's career development?
Kevin: 02:05:29 Would you recommend that to other people or would you, yeah. Any thoughts on that? I mean, I think that, uh, well there's always, I think good experience that can be gleaned from any of these kind of work experiences if you're approaching it right. For me, it's, it's sort of easy to look back and construct a plan. But again, for me it was a lot of times just surviving. So in some ways I don't recommend that, uh, to people if you can avoid it. There's, you know, some stress that goes along with it. But, um, I think that actually, yeah, and like you were hitting on when we were looking at lawyers were often most attracted to folks who have done, uh, civil rights work, or again, not in some ways someone who's done, let's say a real lot of animal welfare might not actually be a great candidate.
Kevin: 02:06:19 Because sometimes when you work with that background that, that, that set of assumptions for so long, it can be surprisingly hard to, to root it out. And it kind of shows itself in ways that are, uh, hard to describe. But when you're working on these, you know, briefs and everything, you can pick it out pretty clearly when someone's sort of veering back into welfare land, which we always have to really discipline ourselves not to do because at times it can be so easy to do even on unthinkingly fall into it because, you know, again, that's, that's really all there is out there. And um, so we have to always be, be sure that we're not there. We're not falling into that. Uh, it's interesting you, I remember you mentioned audio and interview that you tended to have hired a lot of people with legal experience even if they were doing the litigation work, uh, because they, I think you would kind of like generally competent, set them up with the right sorts of skills, that sort of thing.
Kevin: 02:07:22 It's interesting on the 80,000 hours website, which is a organization dedicated to giving out evidence-based careers advice for people who want to make the world a better place. There is a profile for people with all kinds of legal background, which actually doesn't come out in that favorably. Obviously it's from a particular individual's perspective, that sort of thing. But it doesn't come out of that. They read, I think the argument is kind of most of the skills you could develop, you could develop better in other corporate contexts. Uh, similarly with the kind of earning to give approach of earning as much money as you can donate these organizations, you could probably earn more money in other places. Who have you got any thoughts on that?
Kevin: 02:07:56 I um, yeah, and that's tricky question in terms of temperament and you know, something, I try to, you know, judge myself by the same rubric to, of, you know, my, the right fit to do to do what I do. I think that, and it's funny that it's reading articles about law school and you know, people saying, Oh, it's a bad idea for all the kind of typical reasons of, of shy lack of jobs. The fact that, uh, the career satisfaction is low, but I think that, you know, something gets lost in that because um, I think it's easy to sort of who, who it or kind of brush it aside. But there really is something to thinking like a lawyer. I actually believe that. And I do think that the kind of courses that you're put through the ordeal that you're put through really to become a lawyer for the right person, it doesn't part, I think this necessary, um, equanimity or this ability to I guess in a simple way to, to see both sides of an issue. And I just think that that's, uh, for the kind of work that we're doing really super valuable and I think doesn't necessarily come across through necessarily other professions. Uh, not to mention just the kind of complex, legally driven. Even in our non-legal work, we find that, uh, even if folks aren't lawyers, if they have some kind of aptitude for, uh, or they gain one for, you know, following along with the, with the case and the logic of it all.
Jamie: 02:09:31 Well, Kevin, I'm sure I could dive into any of these topics we've talked about for a lot longer, but I don't want to keep, take up too much of your time. So how can people find you online and spoil your work at the moment?
Kevin: 02:09:41 Great. Thank you so much. Uh, so folks can go to nonhuman rights.org, www.nonhumanrights.org there. I highly recommend you sign up for our email newsletter. Uh, we keep it pretty sparse so we're not, you know, over sending emails, but we do have a lot of really, um, interesting updates, especially over the last few months. You know, our New York cases have really heated up and our Connecticut cases are moving ahead and California. Uh, so there's a lot of great stuff there. Uh, folks can also donate on the website and we're all over social media in particular. We've spent a lot of time kind of, uh, expanding our Instagram. Um, like I think a lot of organizations are kind of following that same trend. Um, and we've seen a lot of, uh, Twitter as well. And especially for the last couple of months. Our happy case. We've seen a lot of positive engagements from some pretty influential, uh, types, uh, elected officials even, uh, Brian May from queen the guitars from queen is, it is a big fan of ours and regularly post about us on Instagram, which is pretty amazing. And so, uh, we're basically, we're basically everywhere and uh, so please do sign up on one or all of those things and uh, we will keep you up to date on our work.
Jamie: 02:11:03 Great. Thank you very much for joining me on the first podcast.
Kevin: 02:11:07 and thank you so much for having me. I'm honored to be the first, the first guest.
Jamie: 02:11:12 Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed the episode. You can subscribe to the sentience Institute podcast in iTunes, Stitcher, or other podcast apps. You can find out more about our work and check out the links to the resources mentioned in this email@example.com. I want to say a special thank you to Rob Wiblin and Karen Harris from 8,000 hours and Shannon milling and Camille Labschuk from animal justice. They provided some really helpful advice on starting a podcast, which has saved us a lot of time. Check out the 80,000 hours podcast, which provides in depth interviews on the topics of effective altruism and having a positive impact through your career. Oh, so check out the Paw and Order podcast, which talks to legal developments for animals in Canada and elsewhere, as well as animal justice as work to improve animal protection.
Speaker: 02:11:55 Thank you to Kelly Witwicki.
Music: 02:11:59 [inaudible].