PETA Statement: ‘Monkey Selfie’ Case Dismissed

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

In September, PETA filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. federal court in San Francisco to declare Naruto—a free 6-year-old male crested macaque living in Indonesia—the author and owner of the internationally famous “monkey selfie” photographs that he took sometime before 2011. At a January 6 hearing, the judge stated his intention to dismiss the lawsuit but with permission for us to file an amended suit.

The following statement is a response from general counsel to PETA Jeff Kerr:

Despite this setback, we are celebrating that legal history was made in our unprecedented argument to a federal court that Naruto, a crested macaque monkey, should be the owner of property (specifically, the copyright to the famous “monkey selfie” photos that he undeniably took), rather than a mere piece of property himself. We will continue to fight for Naruto and his community, who are in grave danger of being killed for bush meat or for foraging for food in a nearby village while their habitat disappears because of human encroachment. This case is a vital step toward fundamental rights for nonhuman animals for their own sake, not in relation to how they can be exploited by humans.

My mentor told me that in social-cause cases, “First, you lose, you lose, you lose. Then you win.” And we are treading that path for animal rights in the hope that we may lose, lose, lose, but that we will one day win.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.” More information about our work is available at

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind