Happy, an elephant from the Bronx Zoo, will not receive the status of a person, a court in New York has decided

An elephant named Happy will remain at the Bronx Zoo after a New York state court rejected on Tuesday an animal protection group’s request that the pachyderm have the same rights as humans and should be released, Reuters reports .

Following a 5 to 2 ruling, the Albany Court of Appeal ruled that the right to “habeas corpus” – a legal process by which persons illegally detained or acting on their behalf may seek clarification as to why they are detained and may be detained. asked for release – not applicable in Happy’s case, despite the arguments that the 51-year-old elephant shares many of the human cognitive abilities, Agerpres reports.

Bronx Zoo Elephant-Lawsuit
Happy Elephant has been living in the Bronx Zoo for almost 49 years. Photo: Profimedia Images

“While no one disputes that elephants are intelligent beings who deserve proper care and compassion,” wrote Judge Janet DiFiore, “Happy, as a non-human animal, has no legally recognized right to be free. according to New York law. “

DiFiore said Happy’s release would have “a huge destabilizing impact on modern society” and could lead to a “flood” of petitions for the release of animals, including pets or utilities.

The judge noted that it would be up to the legislature to decide whether to grant non-human animals the same legal rights as humans.

Tuesday’s decision is a defeat for the Nonhuman Rights Project, which began asking New York courts four years ago to release Happy in one of the two elephant shelters in the United States.

The Florida-based group opposed keeping Happy in a 0.4-acre enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, away from other elephants.

Two other lower courts have previously taken over the zoo, which claimed the elephant is well cared for.

Opposing judges empathized with Happy. “When the majority responds, ‘No, animals can’t have rights,’ I worry about that animal, but I worry even more about how that answer denies and denigrates the human capacity for understanding, empathy, and compassion.” wrote Judge Rowan Wilson.

Editor: AC

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