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Human RightsCourt in New York: Elephant named Happy is not a person

Court in New York: Elephant named Happy is not a person

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Happy will not be released through the Habeas Corps procedure

New York’s Supreme Court has rejected a request to release Happy Elephant from the Bronx Zoo, saying it does not meet the definition of “person” illegally imprisoned, the Associated Press reported.

The decision of the State Court of Appeals, taken by 5 to 2 votes, confirmed this earlier and means that Happy will not be released through the Habeas Corps procedure, which is a way for people to challenge illegal detention.

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Janet DiFiore, said that “although no one disputes the fact that elephants are intelligent beings who deserve proper care and compassion”, the Habeas Corps order aims to protect human freedom creatures and is inapplicable to a non-human animal like Happy.

The case has been closely monitored by animal rights activists and animal-dependent industries. The zoo and its supporters have warned that a victory for the defenders of the Inhuman Rights Project could open the door to more lawsuits on behalf of animals, including pets and other species at zoos.

Proponents of the Inhuman Rights Project have argued that Happy is an independent, cognitively complex elephant who deserves the right reserved in the “person” law.

The Bronx Zoo says Happy is neither illegally imprisoned nor a person, but a well-groomed elephant, “respected as the magnificent creature as it is.”

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