Appeals court upholds ruling over Bronx Zoo elephant: Animals are not ‘persons’

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FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2018 file photo, Bronx Zoo elephant “Happy” strolls inside the zoo’s Asia Habitat in New York. An appellate court on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, upheld a lower court’s ruling dismissing a petition from an animal right’s group for Happy the elephant in the Bronx Zoo to get human-like rights and be moved to a sanctuary. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

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NEW YORK (AP) — An appellate court has upheld a lower court’s ruling dismissing a petition from an animal rights group for an elephant in the Bronx Zoo to get human-like rights and be moved to a sanctuary.

A judge ruling against the petition from the Nonhuman Rights Project in February, saying New York state courts have ruled that animals are not legally “persons.”

The appeals court ruling agreed with that decision.

In a statement, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the zoo, said it was a victory for “common sense.”

“All decisions regarding the health and welfare of the animals at the Bronx Zoo should and will be made by the zoo’s animal experts who know them best,” the society said in the statement, adding that Happy will remain “in familiar surroundings.”

The animal rights group said it would continue to press on and would ask the state’s highest court to hear its arguments.


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