“New York’s highest court is set to determine whether Happy, a 47-year-old Asian elephant living at the Bronx Zoo, is being unlawfully imprisoned. On May 18, 2022, the New York Court of Appeals heard arguments on both sides for Happy’s release from the zoo. The court will likely issue a decision in the next four to six weeks…
Fighting on behalf of Happy’s release
Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), a nonprofit civil rights organization advocating for the legal personhood of great apes, elephants, dolphins and whales, filed its first petition against the zoo in 2018 “demanding recognition of Happy’s legal personhood and fundamental right to bodily liberty and her release to an elephant sanctuary *.”
The NhRP’s legal argument revolves around the idea of habeas corpus, which protects against unlawful imprisonment. They argue that at the Bronx Zoo, Happy is kept in the equivalent of solitary confinement, which they say is particularly cruel given that elephants are highly social creatures roaming huge swaths of territory in the wild.” (source)
*The NhRP has called for Happy to be released to either the The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee or the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California. Neither group is affiliated with the NhRP.
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→ For more details on the legal arguments of both sides, go here.
→ For more information on the scientific findings of elephant intelligence and the argument in favor of giving elephants’ personhood status, see our previous FIREPAW posts: