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Help End Happy’s 45 Years of Bronx Zoo Imprisonment

By Courtney Fern

The fight to #FreeHappy has gained incredible support and momentum in the past year. Esteemed publications such as National Geographic, TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker have published feature stories on her plight and our work to have her legal rights recognized. In her piece for The Atlantic, award-winning historian Jill Lepore called our litigation on Happy’s behalf “the most important animal-rights case of the 21st century.” ⁣Also, this week In Defense of Animals named the Bronx Zoo one of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants for the tenth time. In response, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais and musician Moby are personally calling on the Bronx Zoo, and all the zoos listed, to release the elephants imprisoned at their facilities to accredited sanctuaries.

This month also marks the 45th year of Happy’s imprisonment at the Bronx Zoo. During the past 45 years she has been confined to a one-acre lot in New York City, a wholly unnatural and inappropriate environment for an elephant. The past 16 years she has been alone, without the necessary companionship of other elephants.

After almost a lifetime in captivity, Happy deserves to be freed from her imprisonment at the Bronx Zoo and sent to an elephant sanctuary.

Science and human experience make clear that elephants are autonomous animals. They are cognitively, emotionally, and socially complex beings who have the capacity to exercise free will and make choices about how to spend their days and live their lives, just as human beings do. Forcing an elephant like Happy to live alone in a small unnatural environment, where she is prevented from exercising free will and engaging in her innate behaviors, causes physical and emotional suffering.

It’s time for the Bronx Zoo to send Happy to an elephant sanctuary where she can live freely with other elephants in an environment that is similar to her natural habitat.

Actions of the day:

  1. Complete this action alert to urge the Wildlife Conservation Society’s new ex-officio trustees to use their position to help #FreeHappy by publicly calling on the Bronx Zoo to send her to an elephant sanctuary.
  2. After completing the action alert, tweet at the Bronx Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Society asking that they #FreeHappy. A sample tweet is: “Happy has spent 45 years imprisoned at the Bronx Zoo in a barren 1-acre enclosure in NYC. The past 16 years she has been alone without the necessary companionship of other elephants. It’s time for the @BronxZoo and @theWCS to #FreeHappy to an elephant sanctuary.” You can also find sample tweets and graphics on this blog post. Additionally, you can tweet out the action alert and news articles with the hashtag #FreeHappy. 
  3. Read and share the #FreeHappy campaign page on the other ways that you can help Happy.

Note: The social media action items are for Twitter. If you do not have Twitter or would prefer to advocate on another social media platform, you can help by sharing our action alert and this blog on your preferred platforms.

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