Science | Geography | Citizenship

Four-year case rules elephant not a person

Should elephants have human rights? A lengthy US court case has finally declared that Happy the elephant is not legally a person. But some judges disagreed with the verdict. What’s happening?  Happy the elephant lives all alone in a zoo in New York. For four years, she was at the centre of a legal battle. An animal rights group said that Happy should count as a person with human rights. But now a court has declared that Happy is not a person.  Find out more Happy was born in 1970 in Thailand. When she was just a baby, she was put on a plane to America. She moved to Florida, then Texas. When she was seven years old, she was sent to New York. Happy has lived in the Bronx Zoo for more than 40 years. She had seven calves. She lived with many other elephants. But they all died. Happy has been alone in a small enclosure for 15 years. A group of campaignersPeople who call for change. Activists. for animal rights wanted to set Happy free. They argued that she was being held illegally at the zoo.  The campaigners point out that elephants are extremely intelligent animals. They live in families and grieve for the dead. They wanted the court to recognise Happy as a personTo possess personhood is to hold certain rights and legal protections against cruel and unfair treatment..  But a court in New York has rejectedThe withdrawal agreement was voted down by 432 votes to 202 in Parliament last week. Theresa May will present her “Plan B” today. the claim. Judges said that in the USA, animals do not have the same rights as humans. Happy will not move to a sanctuary. She will stay in the zoo.  Should elephants have human rights?  Some say Yes! Elephants are incredible creatures. They have been treated very badly by humans. If they had human rights, they would be treated with respect.  Others think  No! Human rights are only for humans. Elephants may be very clever, but they are not as important as humans. We should make stronger laws protecting animals in zoos instead. KeywordsCampaigners - People who call for change. Activists.

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