At Zoo Atlanta, Wise met Chantek, an orangutan who signs about 250 words and is tackling grammar. Chantek immediately learned to sign Wise's first name as an S on the forehead. Wise says he used that to trick him:
The legal profession is paying attention. When Wise started teaching animal rights law at Vermont Law School in 1990, it was the first course of its kind, he says. Today, there are more than 25. "All sorts of law professors have come out of the animal rights closet," says Wise. He drops two prominent names -- civil rights and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz, whose new book includes a chapter on animal rights, and Harvard Law School's constitutional law authority Laurence Tribe, who is increasingly outspoken on animal rights.
After fielding questions at Politics and Prose, Wise has drawn another line -- this one of people waiting for his autograph. For many in the audience, Wise was preaching to the choir. There was grad student Ryan Shapiro, a vegan volunteer at the D.C. group Compassion Over Killing, a D.C.-based animal rights group, who says Wise is "laying the building blocks that will abolish the enslaving of animals for human purposes."
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