June 2022 Care2 Update: While Happy lost by a 5-to-2 vote, we must continue to fight for Happy's freedom and the rights of animals! The Nonhuman Rights Project attorneys, who represented Happy, released a powerful statement on the New York court's decision. As they consider their next steps, we must keep fighting for Happy's release!
Ironically, 48-year-old Happy the elephant is NOT happy. This majestic creature has lived in captivity almost her entire life, and has been forced to live alone for the last 13 years in the Bronx Zoo -- which won the title of America's fifth worst zoo for elephants in 2021. Now, the Nonhuman Rights Project is taking her case to New York's highest court to demand that the Bronx Zoo release Happy to an elephant sanctuary. Elephants are social creatures that crave connection and freedom. Happy deserves to live out the rest of her life in an open space where she can bond with other elephants!
Sign the petition to free Happy the elephant from her imprisonment at the Bronx Zoo!
In 2005, Happy passed a mirror test, and her advocates argue that this recognition of her own reflection proves she has self-awareness. The Nonhuman Rights Project's legal case focuses on this self awareness, arguing that Happy's advanced intelligence means she should have the rights of protection against unlawful imprisonment, much like a person. While the argument that Happy deserves the same rights as a human may seem odd, the United States has a long history of arguments over what is considered a "person" under the law -- so this argument isn't shocking.
The Nonhuman Rights Project is asking that the Bronx Zoo release Happy from her "one-acre prison." Happy's attorney said: "She has an interest in exercising her choices and deciding who she wants to be with, and where to go, and what to do, and what to eat, and the zoo is prohibiting her from making any of those choices herself."
Sign the petition to demand that the Bronx Zoo free Happy from a lifetime of loneliness and release her to an elephant sanctuary!