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For refusing to #FreeHappy, Bronx Zoo has only itself to blame

By Lauren Choplin

Even before the NhRP filed suit to free Happy, the Bronx Zoo has appeared more concerned with maintaining the illusion that Happy is happy where she is than doing what’s best for her as an elephant–namely, acknowledging its exhibit can’t meet her needs and facilitating her release to a sanctuary like PAWS where she can roam freely with other elephants in an appropriate climate. Outrageously, they’ve even blamed Happy herself for her solitary confinement.

If you listened to Tortoise’s three-part podcast series about Happy and our fight for her freedom, you might’ve noticed the Bronx Zoo is now apparently trying to blame the NhRP for its decision to keep Happy indoors more often:

“The [Nonhuman] Rights Project has been very open with us. The Bronx Zoo, on the other hand, flatly refused to speak to us, which was unhelpful, to them as well as to us. But I did hear, from sources who were not prepared to talk on the record, that, as a result of the publicity that has swelled around Happy’s case and the abuse that has been hurled at the zoo for keeping Happy alone, she is spending less time outside, where she can be seen to be alone, and more confined to her enclosure, alone.”

Once again the Bronx Zoo is forcing Happy to suffer so it can avoid attracting negative publicity and having to respond to questions it can answer, in court and beyond, only with self-serving justifications and distortions of Happy’s over four decades of imprisonment in its exhibit. As we maintain, there is no credible reason the Bronx Zoo can’t release Happy to a sanctuary, and there is no justification for the moral and legal wrong of continuing to deprive her of her freedom.

Soon after we hold our #FreeHappy virtual event on Nov. 18th and argue our appeal in Happy’s elephant rights case on Nov. 19th, the zoo’s exhibit will close for the winter and Happy will have almost no time outside, spending her days in an industrial cement structure lined with windowless, barred cages (the zoo’s “elephant barn”) until the exhibit reopens in May.

How you can help: Use this action alert to urge CristiĂĄn Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the Bronx Zoo, to send Happy to an elephant sanctuary.

Join us on Nov. 18th: RSVP to the NhRP’s #FreeHappy virtual event.

Join us on Nov. 19ths: RSVP to oral arguments in Happy’s elephant rights case, which will be livestreamed from the court’s YouTube channel and website.

Thank you for your continued support, and we hope to see you on the 18th and 19th!

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