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‘BEATUS’ AMICUS NOSTER: Captive elephant contrary to Christian ethics, say theologians

Believing God created all beings yet only has an interest in the welfare of one species – our own – is the pinnacle of human hubris.

ANDREW LINZEY: Two theologians have filed an amici brief in defense of “Happy” the elephant who has been kept in solitary confinement for 13 years. Their brief argues that we have a moral duty rooted in Christian theology to legally recognize “Happy”, as a “person” entitled to habeas corpus relief. This would mean that Happy would be released to a new home in an animal sanctuary.

The theologians, Professors Andrew Linzey and Clair Linzey, who direct the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, have filed an amici brief in defense of “Happy” that was presented to the Court of Appeals of the State of New York. The case is being brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project and the proceedings began this week.

They argue that “As humans we often behave as though the dominion we have over nonhuman animals sanctions us to treat them as commodities with no individual rights – a notion wholly unsupportable by Christian theology. The God-given dominance conferred upon humans over nonhuman animals should instead be interpreted through Christ himself, who exercised his influence in the form of service to others.”

They continue, “Christ’s selflessness, generosity and altruism should frame our own models of behavior, especially with regard to sentient beings capable of experiencing fear, loneliness, stress and other complex emotions too often mistakenly considered uniquely human. We are the sole species created by God to represent divine love and compassion through service to others, and thus, God has tasked us with the role of caring for the world – a duty that should not be taken lightly”…

The brief holds that, “Believing God created all beings yet only has an interest in the welfare of one species – our own – is the pinnacle of human hubris”… “By treating nonhuman animals as though their suffering is immaterial, we are actively opposing God’s desire for us to protect and care for all beings”…

“Yet we now are faced with a chance to redeem ourselves. The fact that Happy’s suffering could so easily be remedied by granting her the right to petition for habeas corpus relief further supports our contention that recognizing Happy’s personhood in this context is a moral necessity. We urge this Court to accept Happy’s appeal and remedy the decades of injustice she has so undeservedly endured.”  SOURCE…


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