A court in New York has ruled that the Happy Elephant is not a person and remains at the Zoo

The New York Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 5 votes in favor and 2 against rejecting the argument of an animal rights group that the happy elephant was illegally imprisoned at the zoo, according to the BBC.

Although elephants are “impressive,” the court said, they do not have the same rights of liberty as humans.

The animal rights group has called for Happy to be moved to an elephant sanctuary.

The court’s dispute focused on whether the legal principle of habeas corpus – which protects against illegal detention – should be extended to emotionally complex and intelligent animals.

“Although no one disputes the impressive capabilities of the elephants, we reject the petitioner’s arguments that he is entitled to claim the habeas corpus principle on behalf of Happy,” Chief Justice Janet DiFiore wrote on behalf of the majority.

“Habeas corpus is a procedural vehicle designed to ensure the rights to freedom of human beings who are illegally detained, not of non-human animals.”

The decision follows that of lower courts, which have repeatedly taken the side of the Bronx Zoo in the case of the New York-based nonhuman rights project Nonhuman Rights Project.

The group had pushed for the release of the 51-year-old female elephant from the Bronx Zoo, saying it was locked in its one-acre enclosure.

However, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, dismissed that description as saying that Happy and the other elephants at the zoo are well cared for. She did not react to the court’s decision.

In a statement Tuesday, the Nonhuman Rights Project celebrated the divergent views of the decision, calling them “strong” and adding that it intends to use them in another case on the rights of elephants in progress in California.

In her dissenting opinion, Judge Jenny Rivera wrote: “[Captivitatea lui Happy] it is inherently unjust and inhuman. It is an affront to a civilized society, and every day it remains captive – a spectacle for people – we too are diminished. ”

Happy was born in the wild in Thailand in the 1970s, was captured and brought to the United States when she was about a year old. She has been living at the Bronx Zoo since 1977. She is one of only two elephants left at the zoo, which she said will eventually end her captive elephant program.

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