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First Department Issues Decision in New York Elephant Rights Case

By Nonhuman Rights

The New York Supreme Court, First Department ruled today in the Nonhuman Rights Project’s Happy the Elephant case, unfortunately denying habeas corpus relief to Happy and choosing not to correct the serious errors of law the Court made in its 2017 decision denying habeas corpus relief to chimpanzees simply because they aren’t human.

In doing so, the Court ignored New York Courts of Appeals Justice Eugene M. Fahey’s 2018 criticism of this decision in which he also wrote that the question of nonhuman animals’ rightlessness is

a deep dilemma of ethics and policy that demands our attention … The issue whether a nonhuman animal has a fundamental right to liberty protected by the writ of habeas corpus is profound and far-reaching. It speaks to our relationship with all the life around us. Ultimately, we will not be able to ignore it.

We’ll now ask New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to hear our arguments.

For a detailed timeline of Happy’s case and court filings, visit this page. 

CASE NO./NAME: THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC. on behalf of HAPPY, Petitioner, v. JAMES J. BREHENY, in his official capacity as Executive Vice President and General Director of Zoos and Aquariums of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Director of the Bronx Zoo, and WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY (Appellate Case No. 2020-02581)

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