In Memoriam Steven Wise

Steven Wise

Steven Wise, the head of the Nonhuman Rights Project, has died at 73. I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog explaining why his legal theories of animal personhood are ridiculous. Because Wise was a man of ideas and a protagonist in his quixotic fight, I think the way to be most respectful of his memory is not to downplay my criticism of his ideas but to honor him for his motives. He was, I think, acting out of a deep and sincere desire to improve the welfare of elephants, chimpanzees, and other nonhuman animals, and that’s a goal we should all agree on. He also made me think hard about whether my views, which are widely held and pretty conventional, are not just wrong but seriously wrong in a way that future generations would find hard to explain.

I’m sure he didn’t know me from Adam, but I will miss attacking his legal filings and poking what I hope he would have taken as well-meaning fun at some of his litigation tactics, notably his forum shopping in New York. He was a major figure in the world of animal law and will be missed.

Image credit: MaynardClark (CC BY)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you for commenting! By submitting a comment, you agree that we can retain your name, your email address, your IP address, and the text of your comment, in order to publish your name and comment on Letters Blogatory, to allow our antispam software to operate, and to ensure compliance with our rules against impersonating other commenters.