ALBANY, N.Y. ( Associated Press) – Happy the elephant may be smart and deserving of compassion, but he cannot be considered an unlawful confinement at the Bronx Zoo, New York’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. ,
The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the limits of how human rights are applied to animals.
The zoo and its supporters warned that a victory for advocates from the Inhumane Rights Project could set a precedent for more legal action on behalf of animals, including pets, farm animals and other species at zoos.
On this point the majority of the court agreed.
The decision, written by the presiding judge, Justice Janet DiFiore, said that “although no one disputes that elephants are intelligent creatures deserving of reasonable care and compassion,” the habeas corpus petition aims to protect the liberties of humans and does not apply to a non-human animal, such as Happy.
The ruling upheld the lower court’s ruling and means Happy will not be held in a more sprawling compound under habeas corpus proceedings, the way people can challenge unlawful imprisonment.
Extending Happy that the right to challenge his imprisonment in a zoo “would have a major destabilizing effect on modern society.” And granting legal personhood in such a case would affect how humans interact with animals, according to the decision.
“Indeed, if followed to its logical conclusion, such a determination would call into question the premises on which pet ownership, the use of service animals, and the recruitment of animals in other forms of work are based,” Failed said. Told.
Bronx Zoo officials argued that Happy was neither illegally imprisoned nor a person, but a well-cared-for elephant “respected for the magnificent creature that she is.”
Defenders of the Humane Rights Project argue that Happy is an autonomous and cognitively complex elephant who deserves rights reserved by law for “a person”.