Asian Elephant Named ‘Happy’ In Legal Battle To Be Treated As A Human
Animal activists have filed a case at a New York court where they want to extend human rights to an Asian elephant named Happy.
The Nonhuman Rights Project appeared at the state Court of Appeals on Wednesday advocating for the rights of the 45-year-old elephant.
Currently, Happy lives at the Bronx Zoo, and her advocates believe she has to right to be treated as a human and should be released from the zoo so she could be placed in a sanctuary. An attorney for the zoo says Happy is being well cared for and respected as the “magnificent creature she is.”
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Attorney Monica Miller said Happy reportedly shows interest in making choices and deciding who she wants to be around. According to ABC 7, the group said the elephant was the first to pass a self-awareness indicator test in 2005 after she repeatedly touched a white “X” on her forehead while looking at a mirror.
“She has an interest in exercising her choices and deciding who she wants to be with, where to go, what to do, and what to eat. And the zoo is prohibiting her from making any of those choices herself.”
“What we’re saying is that she has a right to bodily liberty and that that makes her no longer a thing. She’s a person,” said President Steven Wise.
Happy was placed at the zoo in 1977 at the age of 1 with another elephant named Grumpy. Grumpy died in 2002 after he was involved in a fight with two other elephants. She lives in an enclosure with another elephant named Patty.
“The blatant exploitation of Happy the elephant by NRP to advance their coordinated agenda shows no concern for the individual animal and reveals the fact they are willing to sacrifice Happy’s health and psychological well-being to set precedent.” the zoo said in a statement.
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