Breaking: Decision in Happy the Elephant's case
Feb 28, 2020 —
Last week, Justice Alison Y. Tuitt of the Bronx Supreme Court issued a decision in the Nonhuman Rights Project’s case on behalf of Happy that is powerfully supportive of the NhRP’s legal arguments to free Happy from the Bronx Zoo to an elephant sanctuary.
While Justice Tuitt “regretfully” denied the habeas corpus relief the NhRP had demanded because she felt bound by prior appellate court decisions in the NhRP’s chimpanzee rights cases, “she essentially vindicated the legal arguments and factual claims about the nature of nonhuman animals such as Happy that the NhRP has been making during the first six years of our rights litigation,” said Happy’s lead attorney and president of the NhRP, Steven M. Wise.
In her analysis and conclusion, Justice Tuitt agreed with New York Court of Appeals Justice Eugene M. Fahey’s conclusion that an elephant, like a chimpanzee, is not merely a “thing.” Instead, Happy “is an intelligent, autonomous being who should be treated with respect and dignity, and who may be entitled to liberty.” Further, Justice Tuitt rejected the Bronx Zoo’s claim that its continued imprisonment of Happy is good for her, stating that “the arguments advanced by the NhRP are extremely persuasive for transferring Happy from her solitary, lonely one-acre exhibit at the Bronx Zoo” to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
Deeply encouraged by Justice Tuitt’s embrace of the merits of the NhRP’s case following 13 hours of oral argument over three days, the NhRP has already begun working on its appeal.
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CLICK HERE to read more about the importance of this ruling in the fight to free Happy to an elephant sanctuary.
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