clearn.png
Thursday August 11th, 2022 3:43AM

Bronx Zoo elephant named Happy isn't a person, court rules

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.

The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.

The zoo and its supporters warned that a win for advocates at the Nonhuman Rights Project could open the door to more legal actions on behalf of animals, including pets, farm animals and other species in zoos.

The court’s majority echoed that point.

The decision written by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said that “while no one disputes that elephants are intelligent beings deserving of proper care and compassion,” a writ of habeas corpus is intended to protect the liberty of human beings and does not apply to a nonhuman animal like Happy.

The decision affirms a lower court ruling and means Happy will not be released to a more spacious sanctuary through a habeas corpus proceeding, which is a way for people to challenge illegal confinement.

Extending that right to Happy to challenge her confinement at a zoo "would have an enormous destabilizing impact on modern society.” And granting legal personhood in a case like this would affect how humans interact with animals, according to the majority decision.

“Indeed, followed to its logical conclusion, such a determination would call into question the very premises underlying pet ownership, the use of service animals, and the enlistment of animals in other forms of work,” read the decision.

Operators of the Bronx Zoo argued Happy is neither illegally imprisoned nor a person, but a well-cared-for elephant “respected as the magnificent creature she is.”

The advocates at the Nonhuman Rights Project argued that Happy is an autonomous, cognitively complex elephant worthy of the right reserved in law for “a person.”

Two judges, Rowan Wilson and Jenny Rivera, wrote separate, sharply worded dissents saying the fact that Happy is an animal does not prevent her from having legal rights. Rivera wrote that Happy is being held in “an environment that is unnatural to her and that does not allow her to live her life.”

“Her captivity is inherently unjust and inhumane. It is an affront to a civilized society, and every day she remains a captive — a spectacle for humans — we, too, are diminished,” Rivera wrote.

The ruling from New York’s highest court cannot be appealed. The Nonhuman Rights Project has failed to prevail in similar cases, including those involving a chimpanzee in upstate New York named Tommy.

Steven Wise, the group’s founder, said he was pleased it managed to persuade some of the judges. He noted that the group has a similar case underway in California and more planned in other states and other countries.

“We will take a really close look at why we lost and we’ll try to make sure that that doesn’t happen again to the extent that we can,” he said.

Happy was born in the wild in Asia in the early 1970s, captured and brought as a 1-year-old to the United States. Happy arrived at the Bronx Zoo in 1977 with fellow elephant Grumpy, who was fatally injured in a 2002 confrontation with two other elephants.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
3 missing, swept away in drainage ditch after severe storms
Authorities say a child and two adults were missing after they were swept away in a drainage ditch in Milwaukee following severe thunderstorms that brought heavy rains and damaging winds to a wide swath of the Midwest and parts of the South
12:15PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Bronx Zoo elephant named Happy isn't a person, court rules
The founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project says he is pleased the group managed to persuade two New York judges that Happy the elephant has legal rights
12:15PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Happy the elephant isn't a person, top New York court rules
New York’s top court has rejected a closely watched effort to free Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo
11:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
U.S. News
Clyburn: US failed to stop fraud in COVID-19 loan program
The head of a congressional panel says the U.S. government failed to take basic steps at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to prevent fraud in a federal aid program intended to help small businesses
12:09PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Russians control 80% of contested city in eastern Ukraine
A regional governor says Russian forces control about 80% of the city of Sievierodonetsk — the main focus of the war now in eastern Ukraine
12:06PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Biden to visit 'pariah' Saudi Arabia and Israel next month
President Joe Biden will make his first trip to the Middle East next month with visits to Israel, the occupied West Bank and Saudi Arabia
12:01PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Wall Street wobbles a day after tumbling into bear market
Wall Street is wobbling Tuesday in its first trading after tumbling into a bear market on worries central banks will clamp the brakes too hard on the economy
11:23AM ( 1 hour ago )
Serena Williams gets wild-card entry for Wimbledon singles
Serena Williams is going to play at Wimbledon this year
11:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
UK set to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda under new plan
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his plan to send asylum-seekers of various nationalities to Rwanda just hours before the first plane was set to leave Tuesday
11:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Refugees in Rwanda warn of challenges for arrivals from UK
Britain plans to send its first group of asylum-seekers to Rwanda amid outcries and legal challenges
5:56AM ( 6 hours ago )
Reps. Mace, Rice face hard GOP primaries after defying Trump
Two Republican House incumbents in South Carolina who have drawn the ire of former President Donald Trump now find themselves facing tough primary challenges Tuesday
5:34AM ( 6 hours ago )
Election 2022: Nevada GOP contest crucial to Senate control
A Nevada Republican with a political pedigree and the backing from former President Donald Trump and the GOP establishment is facing a surprisingly strong primary challenge
5:25AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Excessive heat rolls east, bakes much of central, eastern US
More than 100 million Americans are being warned to stay indoors if possible as a heat wave settles over states stretching through parts of the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and east to the Carolinas
7:11PM ( 17 hours ago )
Southern Baptists who backed open abuse review win key roles
The top administrative committee for the Southern Baptist Convention has elected new leaders
6:59PM ( 17 hours ago )
Right-wing extremists amp up anti-LGBTQ rhetoric online
A few weeks before 31 members of a white supremacist group were arrested for allegedly planning to riot at a northern Idaho LGBTQ pride event, a fundamentalist Idaho pastor told his Boise congregation that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government
4:36PM ( 19 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
'In our hearts': London remembers 72 Grenfell fire victims
The names of the 72 people who lost their lives in a London high-rise tower blaze have been read out at a memorial service to mark five years since the tragedy
10:32AM ( 2 hours ago )
Group of NATO leaders meet in The Hague to discuss Ukraine
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and a small group of leaders from alliance countries are meeting in the Netherlands to discuss Russia’s war in Ukraine and to prepare for a summit in Spain later this month
9:47AM ( 2 hours ago )
Poland changes judiciary law; demands EU release COVID funds
Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed into law regulations replacing the controversial body disciplining judges with a new accountability panel
9:41AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
3 missing, swept away in drainage ditch after severe storms
Authorities say a child and two adults were missing after they were swept away in a drainage ditch in Milwaukee following severe thunderstorms that brought heavy rains and damaging winds to a wide swath of the Midwest and parts of the South
12:15PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Happy the elephant isn't a person, top New York court rules
New York’s top court has rejected a closely watched effort to free Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo
11:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
Yellowstone closed after historic floods; some areas cut off
Communities bordering Yellowstone National Park are isolated and tourists stranded after record floodwaters knocked out roads and bridges in Wyoming and Montana and forced the closure of all entrances to the park
11:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
FDA advisers consider Moderna's COVID shots for older kids
A government advisory panel is meeting to decide whether to recommend a second brand of COVID-19 vaccine for school-age children and teens
10:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
Northern Arizona watches winds as Western wildfires blaze
Fire crews in northern Arizona will be watching the wind Tuesday as they hope more moderate weather will help them get a better handle on a wildfire scorching the outskirts of Flagstaff
10:25AM ( 2 hours ago )