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FREE HAPPY: Habeas corpus scholars, philosophers support New York elephant rights case

We reject arbitrary distinctions that deny adequate protections to other animals who share with humans similar vulnerabilities to harms and interests in avoiding such harms.

GLOBE NEWSWIRE: The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) recently filed an appeal in its habeas corpus case on behalf of Happy, a 49-year-old Asian elephant who is both the first elephant in the world to demonstrate self-awareness via the mirror self-recognition test and the first to be the subject of habeas corpus hearings to determine the lawfulness of her imprisonment…

Two habeas corpus scholars and twelve North American philosophers with expertise in animal ethics, animal political theory, the philosophy of animal cognition and behavior, and the philosophy of biology have submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of the legal personhood and right to liberty of an elephant held alone in captivity in the Bronx Zoo…

One brief states: “We reject arbitrary distinctions that deny adequate protections to other animals who share with protected humans relevantly similar vulnerabilities to harms and relevantly similar interests in avoiding such harms. We submit this brief to affirm our shared interest in ensuring a more just coexistence with other animals who live in our communities. We strongly urge this Court, in keeping with the best philosophical standards of rational judgment and ethical standards of justice, to recognize that, as a nonhuman person, Happy should be released from her current confinement and transferred to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, pursuant to habeas corpus”…

Earlier this year, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Alison Y. Tuitt wrote in her decision in Happy’s case that while she “agrees [with the NhRP] that Happy is more than just a legal thing, or property … and may be entitled to liberty,” she was required to dismiss Happy’s habeas petition because “regrettably … this Court is bound by the legal precedent set by the Appellate Division when it held that animals are not ‘persons’ entitled to rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus.” SOURCE…

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