Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals

Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals

Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals

Rattling the Cage: Toward Legal Rights for Animals


Rattling the Cage explains how the failure to recognize the basic legal rights of chimpanzees and bonobos in light of modern scientific findings creates a glaring contradiction in our law. In this witty, moving, persuasive, and impeccably researched argument, Wise demonstrates that the cognitive, emotional, and social capacities of these apes entitle them to freedom from imprisonment and abuse.


by Jane Goodall

Rattling the Cage is an important book, an exciting book. It will be welcomed by everyone who is concerned about the well-being of animals, by those who are, as I am, kept awake by grim mental images of the abuse inflicted on other animals by humans. I was honoured when Steve Wise asked me to write this introduction, for I believe that Rattling the Cage, thanks to all the long years of research that went into the writing, will make an impact, and leave its mark on the process of law. I see it as a major stepping-stone along a road that is gradually leading to a new legal relationship between humans and other sentient, sapient life forms.

Steve Wise is a law school professor. He is also an accomplished animal-rights legal scholar and one of the world's most prominent animal-rights lawyers. Steve and his wife, Debi, defend a variety of animal species across the United States and advise those who defend animals around the world. In writing Rattling the Cage, Steve has used his experience in both science and law to great advantage, and he has a trial lawyer's knack for telling a good story. He explains, for example, why it matters so much today whether an ox who gored a passerby on a road in the Middle East four thousand years ago was Babylonian or Hebrew. And why, four hundred years ago, an early animal advocate stood up for barley- eating rats in a French courtroom. And, most surprisingly, why John Quincy Adams would thunder on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives that he would present petitions to the Congress from horses or dogs if they asked him to.

In many ways this book can be seen as the animals' Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, and Universal Declaration of . . .

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