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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Bronx Zoo Elephant “Happy” Isn’t a Person, Court Rules

Albany, NY – New York’s top court rejected an attempt to free Happy the Elephant from the Bronx Zoo, ruling Tuesday in a closely watched case that it did not meet the definition of a “person” who could be considered illegal. being substantially limited.

The 5-2 decision by the State Court of Appeals confirms an earlier court ruling and means Happy will not be released through habeas corpus proceedings, a way for people to challenge illegal confinement.

The majority decision, written by Chief Justice Janet Defiore, stated that “while no one disputes that elephants are intelligent creatures worthy of due care and compassion,” a writ of habeas corpus seeks to protect human liberty. and does not apply to a nonhuman animal like Happy.

The zoo and its supporters warned that a victory for advocates in the Inhuman Rights Project could open the door to more legal action on behalf of animals, including pets and other species, in zoos.

The majority of the court echoed that point.

“There is a determination that Happy, an elephant, may invoke habeas corpus to challenge his imprisonment at the Bronx Zoo – a prison term both authorized and, by all indications, compliant with state and federal statutory law and regulations – modern would have a huge destabilizing effect on society,” read the majority decision. “It is not the role of this Court to make such a determination.”

The Bronx Zoo argued that Happy is neither illegally imprisoned nor a person, but a well-cared for elephant “the magnificent creature he is revered as.”

Advocates of the Inhuman Rights Project argued that Happy is an autonomous, cognitively complex elephant deserving of a right protected in law for “one person”.

Two judges, Rowan Wilson and Jenny Rivera, disagreed in separate, sharply spoken words, writing that Happy is an animal that doesn’t prevent him from having legal rights. Rivera wrote that Happy is “being kept in an environment that is unnatural to him and which does not allow him to live his life.”

“Her captivity is inherently unjust and inhuman. It is an insult to a civilized society, and every day she remains a captive – a spectacle to humans – we also fall short,” Rivera wrote.

World Nation News Desk
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