Although other groups have argued the case for granting personhood to animals in courts, and failed, they have focused on pushing legislation through Congress. The Nonhuman Rights Project, on the other hand, will file their lawsuits in a state court and appeal to common law rights of freedom from unlawful detention. Volunteers for the organization are currently reviewing the records of judges across the 50 states looking for those who might be open-minded and amenable to their cause.
Judges “have understood, for centuries, that it’s their job to keep common law current with changing experience, changing senses of morality, and changing scientific discoveries,” Wise told Wired. “We’ll listen carefully to what judges are saying. We will continue to push and push and push.”