Portland, Oregon 2022-05-19 06:00:25 –
Albany, NY (AP) —She has limbs, expressive eyes, and likes to walk the greenery of New York City. Happiness is an Asian elephant, depending on the species. But can she also be considered a person?
Proponents of the Nonhuman Rights Project, “Happy” is an autonomous, cognitively complex elephant that deserves the rights reserved by law for “people.” The Bronx Zoo, where Happy lives, says no. Through lawyers, the zoo claims that Happy is neither illegally imprisoned nor a person, but her well-maintained elephant “she is respected as a wonderful creature.”
Happy has lived in the Bronx Zoo for 45 years. The State Court of Appeals heard a debate over whether she should be released through the Habeas Corpus proceedings. This is how people challenge illegal imprisonment.
The non-human rights project wants her to move from the zoo’s “one-acre prison” to a more spacious sanctuary.
“She is interested in exercising her choices and deciding who she wants to be with, where she goes, what she should do, and what she eats,” project lawyer Monica Miller said in oral argument. I told the Associated Press earlier. “And the zoo forbids her to make those choices herself.”
According to the group, Happy became the first elephant to pass the self-awareness indicator test in 2005 by repeatedly touching the white “X” on the forehead while looking in a large mirror.
Zoos and their supporters warn that a supporter’s victory in a non-human rights project could open the door to more legal action on behalf of animals, including zoo pets and other species. I am.
“If the unprecedented rewriting and granting of rights to animals is complete, shouldn’t it be done by Congress?” Kenneth Manning, a lawyer for the Wildlife Conservation Society of zoo operators. I asked the judge.
Happy was born in the wild in Asia in the early 1970s, was captured at the age of 1 and brought to the United States, and was eventually named after one of the characters in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” .. Happy arrived at the Bronx Zoo in 1977 with his fellow elephant Grumpy. He was fatally injured in a confrontation with two other elephants in 2002.
Happy currently lives in an enclosure adjacent to Patty, another elephant in the zoo. Zoo lawyers claimed in court documents that Happy could swim, look for food, and take other actions that are natural for elephants.
“Blatant exploitation of the elephant’s happiness to advance the NRP-adjusted agenda does not show concern for individual animals and is willing to sacrifice happiness’s health and psychological well-being to set a precedent. We will reveal the fact that there is no such thing, “the zoo said in a prepared statement.
NRP lawyers say her right to “freedom” is violated no matter how Happy is treated at the zoo. They claim that if the court grants her happy right to her freedom under Habeas Corpus, she will be a “person” for her purposes. And she has to be released.
The judge asked the questions pointed out by both lawyers during the oral argument. Judge Jenni Rivera asked Miller about the impact of NRP’s position on the relationship between humans and animals.
“So you couldn’t keep a dog?” Rivera asked. “That is, dogs can remember words.”
According to Miller, there is now more evidence that elephants are very cognitively complex and highly analytical.
Inferior court Decided against NRP.And the group couldn’t win in similar cases including them Involving a chimpanzee in northern New York named Tommy..
However, in October last year, at the request of another animal rights group, a federal judge ruled: Colombian drug king Pablo Escobar’s infamous “cocaine cover” In the United States, you may be recognized as a person with legal rights or a “stakeholder.” Given that they live in Colombia, this decision had no real effect on the hippo itself.
Opponents hope that a series of NRP court losses will continue in the famous New York court.
In a summary of friends in the court, the New York Department of Agriculture and other agricultural groups said the NRP’s “new theory of personality” would wipe out pigs, cattle and chickens. The National Association for Biomedical Research said approving such petitions on behalf of animals could increase the cost of conducting important research. State and national associations representing veterinarians briefly stated that the NRP proceedings promoted the right to animal personality over animal welfare.
Supporters of NRP’s actions include celebrities such as Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School. Many of them see this as an opportunity for society to take a step forward in the ethical treatment of animals.
“This legal moment for Happy is an important culture for thinking more openly, honestly, and less selfishly about the implications of treating the peculiarities of non-human animals with the appropriate moral seriousness. I believe it represents a crossroads, “read a Catholic academic theologian.
The court’s decision is expected in the coming months.
At least one animal rights advocate suggests that a single court decision will not change society’s view of animal use. Professor Gary Francion of Rutgers Law School, who was not involved in the case, said it would require a broader cultural shift.
“I’ve been vegan for 40 years. Don’t get me wrong, I totally disagree with the use of animals,” Francione said. “Just starting to tell the court that non-human animals are people under the law will raise all sorts of questions and the answers will not be accepted by many.”
Happy is an elephant living in New York City. But is she also a person? Source link Happy is an elephant living in New York City. But is she also a person?