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What’s Coming Up in the Legal Fight to #FreeHappy

By Lauren Choplin

In May, the New York Court of Appeals granted the Nonhuman Rights Project’s motion for permission to appeal in our legal fight to #FreeHappy, marking the first time in history the highest court of any English-speaking jurisdiction will consider whether the right to liberty protected by habeas corpus may extend to a nonhuman being.

Right now the NhRP legal team is working nonstop on our brief, which lays out our arguments in support of Happy’s right to liberty and release from the Bronx Zoo to a sanctuary, including affidavits submitted by world-renowned elephant experts. This brief is due July 6th.

The Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society have until Aug. 23rd to file a reply, to which we can file our own reply by Sept. 7th. We won’t know the date of oral arguments in Happy’s case until after this last filing deadline. We’re hoping the arguments will be in person and open to the public, COVID-19 public health guidelines permitting.

We know the long wait is difficult, especially given how every day that passes is another day Happy is unjustly deprived of her freedom and the company of other elephants. Thank you for your patience and continued support as we prepare for this next phase in Happy’s elephant rights litigation. Together, we’ve already made legal history for elephants and other nonhuman animals—with much more to come.

As always, we’ll keep you posted!

To learn more about Happy and her court case, click here. To join the over one million people who’ve signed her Change.org petition, click here. To make a donation to help ensure the legal fight for elephant rights is as strong as it can be, now and until all elephants can live freely, click here. 

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