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Recap: August Rally for Happy’s Freedom

By Courtney Fern

Check out all the complete rally photo album on Facebook.

On August 10th in the Bronx, close to 100 people joined the Nonhuman Rights Project to rally for the freedom of our elephant client Happy, who has been forced to live at the Bronx Zoo for over 40 years, the last 13 of which she has spent alone.

Since mobilizing advocates and holding our first rally at the Bronx Zoo on June 1st, the campaign to free Happy to an elephant sanctuary has gained incredible momentum. Over one million people have lent their voices to the call for Happy’s freedom. Freelance journalist Yashar Ali published a Twitter thread about Happy, which went viral with the hashtag #FreeHappy. Numerous celebrities and influential people, including Kristin Davis, Whitney Cummings, Piers Morgan, and Sebastian Roche, tweeted in support of Happy’s release. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Coretz, whose district is adjacent to the zoo and whom Ali tagged in the thread along with other lawmakers, responded by saying her team would look into what they could do.

Most recently, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is an ex-officio trustee for the Wildlife Conservation Society, announced his support for Happy’s freedom and urged the Bronx Zoo to close its elephant exhibit and send Happy and Patty, the zoo’s other elephant, to a sanctuary.

As the NhRP argues in its ongoing litigation on behalf of Happy with support from world-renowned elephant experts, elephants are autonomous beings who suffer deeply when deprived of their liberty, exploited, and forced to live in spaces too small to meet their physical, emotional, and social needs. Whether through litigation or mounting public pressure, the Bronx Zoo must do the right thing for Happy and release her to PAWS or the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, where she can live freely and with dignity and peace.

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported us from afar. Stay tuned for our next steps and additional ways for you to get involved to help #FreeHappy!

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