Are animals more than property? In this unprecedented, yet long-awaited book, Steven Wise finally breaks through the wall that has separated non-humans from human animals for centuries. He reveals that, while the way we view animals is changing rapidly, the courts remain mired in the dark ages. Even a human lost in a permanent vegetative state enjoys a large set of legal rights. But a chimpanzee who can communicate with language, count, understand the minds of others, feel complex emotions, live in a complex society, and make and use tools has no rights at all.
Rattling the Cage makes stunningly clear how our failure to recognize the fundamental rights of such animals in light of what we now know about their intelligence and emotions creates a glaring contradiction. Not only does this failure allow us to treat animals unjustly but it undermines the foundation of human rights.
Steven Wise draws vividly upon the work that the world's most prominent primatologists have done with the chimpanzees and bonobos with whom they work and share their lives. In this witty, moving, and impeccably researched book, he demonstrates that the cognitive, emotional, and social capacities of these apes should at last entitle them to freedom from imprisonment and abuse. Rattling the Cage has everything needed to convince judges, scientists, lawyers, and the millions of others who care deeply about animals of the injustice of denying them basic legal rights.