NY Court: An Elephant Isn't a Person

    NY Court: An Elephant Isn't a Person
    Photo: Reuters [via New York Post]

    The Facts

    • On Tues., New York's top court rejected a legal effort to free an elephant named Happy from the Bronx Zoo.

    • The group that brought the lawsuit, the Nonhuman Rights Project, argued that "Happy is an extraordinarily cognitively complex and autonomous nonhuman" and should be seen as a "legal person" with a right to bodily freedom.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    With the court's final decision, it's clear that more needs to be done regarding animal rights. Elephants are cognitively complex animals, and Happy is an autonomous, self-aware being. Her treatment and incarceration are unjust and she deserves the same legal rights ascribed to humans.

    Narrative B

    This ruling was about the bigger picture. Labeling Happy a "person" and granting her freedom would've opened the door to more legal actions on behalf of animals, including pets and other species in zoos. That could devastate the industries involved and those who care for the animals.

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