The trial for human rights for elephants in the US
In 2006, researchers demonstrated by putting three adult elephants in front of a large mirror set up in the zoo area in New York, USA. The elephants initially learn the mirror by standing in front of and going to the back of the mirror. As soon as they began to understand the mirror, the elephants were able to recognize their reflection and act on themselves in front of the mirror and then observe. With this result, elephants have been classified as animals with higher order perception. Because apart from humans, only apes and dolphins are animals capable of such self-awareness.
One female elephant, named Happy, even passed the final test by repeatedly touching the X drawn on her forehead, a place she wouldn’t be able to see without a mirror. Happy passed the “mirror self-recognition” test, which is considered an indicator of self-perception. That’s why many human rights activists are calling: Happy elephants should have some of the same legal rights as humans. The Florida-based Human Rights Project is asking a New York City court (USA) to release Happy to an elephant sanctuary, because it believes that this elephant is illegally being held at the zoo here during the year. the past 45 years.
Should Elephant Happy have some of the same legal rights as humans? That’s the question New York state’s highest court must consider on May 18 – the latest development in a years-long effort by an animal rights group to free elephants. Happy from the Bronx Zoo. This 51-year-old elephant has been at the zoo since 1977.
According to Jenny Rivera – Deputy Judge of the Court of Appeals for New York State, USA: “How do we define autonomy for the purposes of Happy elephant as a human?”
Lawyer Monica Miller commented: “Scientists have agreed that elephants are not only autonomous but they are also cognitively complex and emotionally intelligent, selfless, highly communicative and of course autonomous. Happy elephant was locked up in an area less than half a hectare without any other elephants to accompany. And even the Bronx Zoo realized that it was not right to keep an elephant alone.”
The Human Rights Project argues that Happy elephants are entitled to a legal process in which, like humans, if detained illegally, they can be asked on behalf of someone about the reasons for their detention. Other judges expressed concern that extending certain legal rights to elephants could set a precedent and sabotage rights to other animals as well.
Even so, Happy elephants still have the right to be raised in the best way and without any physical or psychological harm. At the Bronx Zoo, Happy’s longtime companion, Grumpy, was fatally attacked by two other elephants in the early 2000s. However, zookeeper testimony confirmed that the elephant was Happy is still well raised in the zoo.
The Court of Appeals did not specify when it would issue a ruling.
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