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NhRP To Return to Albion Court in New York Elephant Rights Case

By Lauren Choplin


Nonhuman Rights Project To Return to Albion Court in New York Elephant Rights Case

The New York Supreme Court, Orleans County will hear oral arguments on Friday, Feb. 1st at 11:30 a.m. ET in Albion, New York in a landmark elephant rights case filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) on behalf of a 47-year-old Asian elephant named Happy held alone in captivity at the Bronx Zoo.

WHAT: Oral arguments on a “Motion for Leave to Reargue” filed by the NhRP.

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 1st, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. ET. The Court will determine the duration of the arguments.

WHERE: Courthouse Square, 1 South Main Street, Suite 3, Albion, NY 14411

WHO: NhRP President Steven M. Wise (accompanied by NhRP attorney Elizabeth Stein and Spencer Lo) and opposing counsel for the Wildlife Conservation Society (which operates the Bronx Zoo), with Justice Tracey A. Bannister presiding.

WHY: The NhRP filed the Motion for Leave to Reargue after Justice Tracey A. Bannister—who presided over the world’s first habeas corpus hearing on behalf of an elephant on Dec. 14th, 2018—issued an order to transfer Happy’s case to Bronx County.

SIGNIFICANCE: The NhRP will argue that the Court arrived at its decision to grant the Transfer Order based on numerous misapprehensions of the law and facts. The NhRP will urge Justice Bannister to reverse her order and allow the case to proceed in Orleans County. As the NhRP details in its Memorandum of Law, “At stake in this proceeding is nothing less than the liberty of an imprisoned, autonomous being 
 An ordered change of venue only improperly frustrates the essential purpose of ‘the greatest of all writs.’”

CASE NO./NAME: 18-45164/“THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC., on behalf of HAPPY, Petitioner, against JAMES J. BREHENY, in his official capacity as the 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.

PRESS INFO: NhRP President Steven M. Wise, NhRP attorney Elizabeth Stein, and NhRP attorney Spencer Lo will be available for interviews before and after the hearing, which is open to the public and members of the media. All broadcast media and photographers must request access to the proceedings by submitting this form to Orleans County Supreme & County Court Chief Clerk Kristin Nicholson at

Karen Hinton

Lauren Choplin

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About the Nonhuman Rights Project

The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only civil rights organization in the United States working through litigation, legislation, and education to secure fundamental rights for nonhuman animals. For more information, visit

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