Pablo Escobar’s “Cocaine Cover” is a legal person and the rules of a U.S. judge

Descendants of Hippopotamus once owned by Colombian drug tycoon Pablo Escobar In accordance with federal court orders, you may be recognized as a legally entitled person or “stakeholder” in the United States.

The proceedings include a proceeding against the Colombian government over whether to kill or sterilize hippos, which are growing rapidly and threaten biodiversity.

Pablo Escobar's Hippopotamus-Arbitrage
In this file photo of February 4, 2021, the hippopotamus is floating on the lake in Haciendana Poles Park. It used to be the private land of Pablo Escobar, the drug tycoon who imported three female hippos and one male into Puerto Triunfo, Colombia.

Fernando Bergara / AP

Animal rights groups welcome the order as a milestone victory in a long-sought effort to shake the US judicial system to give animals humanity status. But in Colombia, where hippos live, the order is not important, legal experts said.

Criminal law professor Camilo Burbano Sifuentes said, “This ruling affects Colombia only within its own territory, so it does not affect Colombia. It is Colombia who decides what to do with the hippopotamus, not the American hippopotamus. It’s the authorities. ” Columbia University Externado de Colombia.

“Cocaine cover” is a descendant of an animal that Escobar illegally imported into a Colombian ranch in the 1980s, and he governed the country’s drug trade. After his death in a shootout with authorities in 1993, the hippopotamus was abandoned in the estate and left to prosper without natural predators. Their number has increased somewhere between 35 and 65 to 80 over the last eight years.

The area they roam is a paradise for animals without predators, lack of food and water, CBS News correspondent Manuel Boyorquez Report in 2019.. But they are too close to people. It’s not uncommon to find a 3 ton hippopotamus walking through the town.

Locals call them “village pets,” but biologist David Ekeveli told Boyorquez that there were no “dangerous” and “territorial” seeds.

A group of scientists warn that hippos pose a great threat to the region’s biodiversity and can lead to deadly human encounters. They advocate killing some animals. Government agencies have begun sterilizing some hippos, but there is debate about what is the safest method.

In the proceedings, a lawyer at the Animal Legal Defense Fund gives Cincinnati’s U.S. District Court “interested party” status to allow Kaba to expel two sterilized wildlife experts from Ohio in this case. I requested.

Judge Karen Ritkovitz, a federal justice of the peace in Cincinnati, granted the request on October 15. An animal rights group based near San Francisco said it believes animals are the first to be declared legal in the United States.

Their lawyers allow hippos to be considered “stakeholders” under US law, as hippo defenders can file proceedings to protect their interests in Colombia. Insisted that it should be.

They enact federal law that allows anyone “interested” in foreign proceedings to ask federal courts to allow them to take testimony in the United States in support of their case. It pointed out.

Christopher Berry, chief lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, called it a narrow but deep decision.

“This is really part of a larger movement that claims that animal interests are represented in court,” he said. “We are not asking for new legislation, we are just asking animals to have the ability to exercise the rights they already have.”

Animals have legal rights in India, Pakistan and Argentina, but US courts have never wanted to do so.

A Connecticut judge called a petition filed by an animal rights group four years ago to give personality to the three elephants at the Petting Zoo while traveling, “totally frivolous.”And in 2015, New York will appeal Court refused To hear requests from animal rights groups seeking legal personality for chimpanzees.

In another carefully watched case, the state’s Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals, decided in May whether elephants at the Bronx Zoo should acquire human-like rights and be transferred to the sanctuary. I agreed.

A previous ruling dismissed allegations from animal rights groups.The zoo has a legal “personality” Elephant named happiness He set a dangerous precedent and called the effort “ridiculous.” Gun rights groups have also criticized the move, fearing it could affect hunting or set a precedent.

Proponents give legal rights to businesses and point out court decisions that consider them legal entities — infer that animals should be treated the same under the law.

“Legal personality is just the ability to hear and represent your interests in court,” Berry said. “It’s about exercising the rights they already have under animal cruelty and other protection laws.”

Pablo Escobar’s “Cocaine Cover” is a legal person and the rules of a U.S. judge

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