Bronx Zoo Elephant Is Not A Person, Judge Rules

THE BRONX, NEW YORK — Let’s address the elephant in the room: You’re not a person, elephant.

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled Wednesday that an elephant named Happy cannot be freed from the Bronx Zoo because she doesn’t have legal personhood, court records show.

“She is an intelligent, autonomous being who should be treated with respect and dignity, and who may be entitled to liberty,” Judge Alison Tuitt wrote in her decision.

“Nonetheless, we are constrained by the case law to find that Happy is not a ‘person,'” the judge said.

The NonHuman Rights Project had hoped to have Happy moved from her 1-acre home at the Bronx Zoo to a 2,300-acre sanctuary by petitioning to grant her personhood.

The advocacy group, which argued hat Happy’s rights were violated in her small and solitary Bronx Zoo turf, promised on Twitter to appeal the ruling.

“The Bronx Supreme Court has issued a decision in the NhRP’s New York elephant rights case that is powerfully supportive of our legal arguments,” the advocates wrote. “We maintain the Court is not bound by precedent & look forward to appealing.”

But the Bronx Zoo celebrated the ruling, which it maintained was in Happy’s best interest.

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