The leftest agenda took another hit, this time from the state of New York’s top court. The progressives in power are trying to give “personhood” to almost anything except babies in the womb. And this time, they focused on Happy the elephant that can be found in the Bronx Zoo.
Happy is certainly intelligent, and she deserves to be loved, but according to New York’s court, she cannot be considered a person who is illegally confined in the zoo.
The decision of the state Court of Appeals was 5 to 2. It was a closely watched case because it tested the boundaries of whether or not you can apply human rights to animals. The Bronx Zoo, along with all those supporting it, warned the public that if their opponents, the Nonhuman Rights Project, scored a win, in this case, it would trigger much more legal action on behalf of animals. New cases would rise that included pets, farm animals, and other species of animals in zoos.
Fortunately, the court’s majority got that point.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore wrote the decision and maintained that no one was disputing the elephant’s intelligence and that it deserved proper care and even compassion. But she said that a writ of habeas corpus was only intended to protect the liberty of human beings and it does not apply to nonhuman animals.
This decision echoes a lower court ruling. The outcome means that Happy will not be taken from the zoo and placed in a more spacious sanctuary due to a habeas corpus proceeding. This is the process you would take to challenge the illegal confinement of a person.
The decision stated that giving this right to Happy to challenge her confinement at a zoo “would have an enormous destabilizing impact on modern society.” The court saw that if we granted legal personhood to this elephant it would affect how people interacted with animals across the spectrum.
“Indeed, followed to its logical conclusion, such a determination would call into question the very premises underlying pet ownership, the use of service animals, and the enlistment of animals in other forms of work,” the judge’s decision said.
Zoo Says Elephant is Well Cared For
Officials at the Bronx Zoo argued that Happy is not illegally imprisoned and she is not a person. The elephant is well-cared-for and “respected as the magnificent creature she is.”
The Nonhuman Rights Project argued that Happy is a cognitively complex elephant that is both autonomous and worthy of rights given in the law to “a person.”
It is hard to believe, but two judges dissented from the majority, Judge Rowan Wilson and Judge Jenny Rivera. They wrote harsh dissents that focused on the fact that although Happy is an animal, it does not mean that she doesn’t have legal rights. The judges wrote that Happy is being held in an environment that is completely unnatural to her and keeps her from living her life.
“Her captivity is inherently unjust and inhumane. It is an affront to a civilized society, and every day she remains a captive — a spectacle for humans — we, too, are diminished,” Rivera wrote.
This ruling cannot be appealed and the Nonhuman Rights Project has not won similar cases, one from upstate New York that focused on a chimp named Tommy.
The founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project, Steven Wise, said that he was pleased to have persuaded some of the judges. They have more cases on the docket in other states and countries. He said that they will look at the reasons why they lost and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
So they are hoping that it is just a matter of time before “personhood” applies to chimps, elephants, and on and on and on.