Happy the elephant is not a person rules the New York appeals court

Originally published at: Happy the elephant is not a person rules the New York appeals court | Boing Boing


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Maybe the elephant could be ordained? There were monks in Thailand ordaining the trees.


Or incorporated.

Happy the Elephant inc.


I absolutely support moving the elephant to a sanctuary, but I don’t think this was ever a good move. Arguing personhood for animals put a bad face on animal wellfare movements and seems to be pushing the bar way farther than it needs to go. The argument that an animal can experience suffering and has the right to humane (for lack of a better word) treatment should be the argument, not that animals are people. Trying to use personhood as a legal means to an end seems doomed to fail given the fundamental argument is so excessive. I feel like this whole endeavor was possibly more harmful than helpful to begin with.


Ahh, personhood! [Edit:] But what kind of person?

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So is there any reason to link the personhood and the sanctuary? I mean they could have won and the zoo could have said “Fine, gate is open. Enjoy your autonomy”

I believe the issue is that they’d like to seek redress while not having to wait for the US legislature to actually do something to make the world a better place.

(I’m sympathetic.)

But given that animals are just thought of as ‘property’ under the law, a third party would have no way to establish standing (the right to have any place in a court case about them), for a civil suit. If the zoo were outright violating animal cruelty or neglect by federal or state standard that might be different, if they could convince the prosecutor to prosecute it.

Trying to establish habeas corpus is at least a novel hack to try to get it into the door of the court room, and it’s impressive that two judges were willing to agree with them.

That’s one of the main planks of the majority opinions.

a) no habeas corpus for non-humans
b) even if there were, this claim is not for “release” but for “alternative captivity”.

The dissenting opinions are interesting.

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