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Connecticut Supreme Court Declines To Hear Minnie’s Elephant Rights Case

By Lauren Choplin

In June, the Nonhuman Rights Project filed a motion with the Connecticut Supreme Court, requesting permission to appeal the May 2020 decision of the state’s Appellate Court denying habeas corpus relief to Minnie, the sole surviving elephant imprisoned and exploited by the Commerford Zoo traveling circus. This is the second time the NhRP has sought Connecticut Supreme Court review in a case involving Minnie.

Our motion details how the Appellate Court’s decision—which maintains that elephants lack legal rights—violates the Connecticut law of habeas corpus and its law of standing. As we argue, its refusal to grant the NhRP standing conflicts with the Court’s seminal decision in Jackson v. Bulloch (in which a stranger was permitted to seek a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of an enslaved human being) as well as other cases.

Unfortunately, we learned today that the Connecticut Supreme Court again declined to hear Minnie’s case. We are now carefully considering our next steps as we continue outside the courtroom the fight for her liberty and release to a sanctuary.

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