Bronx Zoo's Happy the elephant isn't a person, top New York court rules

New York's Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected an effort to free Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo, ruling that she does not meet the definition of “person” who is being illegally confined.

Associated Press

Jun 14, 2022, 2:19 PM

Updated 713 days ago

Share:

New York's top court on Tuesday rejected an effort to free Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo, ruling that she does not meet the definition of “person” who is being illegally confined.
The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals affirms an earlier court decision and means Happy will not be released through a habeas corpus proceeding, which is a way for people to challenge illegal confinement.
The majority decision written by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said that “while no one disputes that elephants are intelligent beings deserving of proper care and compassion,” a writ of habeas corpus is intended to protect the liberty of human beings and does not apply to a nonhuman animal like Happy.
The case had been closely watched by animal rights activists and industries that depend on animals. The zoo and its supporters warned that a win for advocates at the Nonhuman Rights Project could open the door to more legal actions on behalf of animals, including pets and other species in zoos.
The advocates at the Nonhuman Rights Project argued that Happy is an autonomous, cognitively complex elephant worthy of the right reserved in law for “a person.”
The Bronx Zoo argued Happy is neither illegally imprisoned nor a person, but a well-cared-for elephant “respected as the magnificent creature she is.”


More from News 12
1:23
Driver airlifted to hospital after crash on Palisades Parkway ramp in Bardonia

Driver airlifted to hospital after crash on Palisades Parkway ramp in Bardonia

2:10
Sunny skies and warm temps for Tuesday in the Hudson Valley

Sunny skies and warm temps for Tuesday in the Hudson Valley

1:01
Headlines: Woodbourne double stabbing, Rye crash, attempted arson in Poughkeepsie

Headlines: Woodbourne double stabbing, Rye crash, attempted arson in Poughkeepsie

0:22
Traffic Alert: Kingston water department working to locate system leak

Traffic Alert: Kingston water department working to locate system leak

1:59
Stormy weather doesn't deter holiday travelers

Stormy weather doesn't deter holiday travelers

0:33
Speeding tickets, DUIs, and accidents keep state police busy on Memorial Day weekend

Speeding tickets, DUIs, and accidents keep state police busy on Memorial Day weekend

Is your dad awesome? Hudson Valley tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? Hudson Valley tell us why your dad rocks!

0:22
All lanes reopen on Mario Cuomo Bridge following vehicle rollover accident

All lanes reopen on Mario Cuomo Bridge following vehicle rollover accident

1:04
Mount Vernon offers Civil War songs presentation to commemorate Memorial Day

Mount Vernon offers Civil War songs presentation to commemorate Memorial Day

1:58
White Plains celebrates Memorial Day with parade, ceremony to honor those who have served in U.S. military

White Plains celebrates Memorial Day with parade, ceremony to honor those who have served in U.S. military

0:19
Woman arrested for attempted arson in Poughkeepsie

Woman arrested for attempted arson in Poughkeepsie

0:24
Bruce Springsteen postpones 2 more shows due to vocal issues

Bruce Springsteen postpones 2 more shows due to vocal issues

0:24
2 arrested for double stabbing incident in Woodbourne

2 arrested for double stabbing incident in Woodbourne

2:11
Fallen heroes honored during Memorial Day ceremonies in Westchester and Rockland counties

Fallen heroes honored during Memorial Day ceremonies in Westchester and Rockland counties

1:42
Memorial Day ceremonies and parades kick off around the Hudson Valley

Memorial Day ceremonies and parades kick off around the Hudson Valley

1:44
Remember and honor: Mamaroneck Memorial Day parade pays tribute to sacrifices of veterans

Remember and honor: Mamaroneck Memorial Day parade pays tribute to sacrifices of veterans

Wennberg scores in OT, Rangers top Panthers 5-4 to take lead in East finals

Wennberg scores in OT, Rangers top Panthers 5-4 to take lead in East finals

1:41
Not forgotten: Revelers enjoy Memorial Day parade in Hastings-On-Hudson

Not forgotten: Revelers enjoy Memorial Day parade in Hastings-On-Hudson

0:27
Pedestrian and vehicle safety improvements to be considered in upcoming Greenburgh capital budget

Pedestrian and vehicle safety improvements to be considered in upcoming Greenburgh capital budget

0:39
State police: NYPD officer from Putnam Valley killed in Campbell Hall crash

State police: NYPD officer from Putnam Valley killed in Campbell Hall crash