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Join Us: Arguments in Happy’s Elephant Rights Case

By Lauren Choplin

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: “I understand why they’re concerned [about Happy].”

Join us in court on Oct. 21st when Bronx Supreme Court Justice Alison Y. Tuitt will hear arguments in the Nonhuman Rights Project’s elephant rights case on behalf of Happy, who is held alone in captivity in the Bronx Zoo’s roughly one-acre elephant exhibit. In November, the exhibit will close for the winter, and Happy will be held in an industrial cement structure lined with windowless, barred cages (the zoo’s “elephant barn”) until the exhibit reopens in May.

The NhRP will argue, among other pending motions, a motion for a preliminary injunction that would prevent the Bronx Zoo from moving Happy out of state until the case is resolved. We also expect to address the core merits of Happy’s habeas corpus petition—that she is a legal person with the fundamental right to liberty who must be released to either The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee or the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California.

Bronx Zoo elephant Happy gets court win ahead of her biggest trial

On Sept. 23rd, Justice Tuitt presided over nearly five hours of arguments in Happy’s case. The Oct. 21st court date is a continuation of those arguments. Legal counsel for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the Bronx Zoo, will also be present.

Members of the public are welcome to attend! Note, we can’t predict the start time or duration of the arguments as we’ll be one of several cases heard that day, but we’ll arrive as soon as the courthouse opens at 9 a.m. You can enter Room 415, where the arguments will take place, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

If you have any questions, you can post them on the Facebook event page or email us at We hope to see you there!

WHAT: Arguments in Happy’s Elephant Rights Case
WHERE: Room 415, 851 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, NY 10451
WHEN: 10/21/19. The courthouse opens at 9 a.m. Room  451 opens at 9:30 a.m.

What is Happy’s life like at the Bronx Zoo, and why is a sanctuary the only environment where she can exercise her autonomy? Read and download our Happy FAQ. #FreeHappy

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