BBC Four to follow animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in ‘Unlocking The Cage’

BBC Four

Storyville’s Unlocking The Cage, for BBC Four, follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from human as he argues on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State.

Supported by affidavits from primatologists around the world, Steve maintains that, based on scientific evidence, cognitively complex animals such as chimpanzees, whales, dolphins, and elephants have the capacity for limited personhood rights (such as bodily liberty) that would protect them from physical abuse.

After 30 years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Steve and his legal team are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights to a person with legal protections. As the public and judicial system show increasing receptiveness to Steve’s impassioned arguments, Unlocking The Cage is an intimate look at a lawsuit that could forever transform our legal system, and one man’s lifelong quest to protect ‘nonhuman’ animals.

The documentary is one of a number announced by the BBC this week. Others include American Justice which will explore the American justice system in the state of Florida for BBC Two and Ambulances: Life And Death On The Streets, a revealing three part observational documentary for BBC One which follows the London Ambulance service across the capital.

Unlocking The Cage is yet to be scheduled by BBC Four for broadcast.