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Elephants Deserve Legal ‘Personhood,’ New Lawsuit Argues in Connecticut

DANIELLA SILVA: ‘In the first case of its kind in the United States, an animal rights group has filed suit seeking legal personhood for elephants who are being kept at a Connecticut zoo. “The Nonhuman Rights Project’s lawsuit on behalf of the elephants — Minnie, Beulah, and Karen — marks the first time in the world that a lawsuit has demanded that an elephant’s legal right not to be imprisoned and treated as a thing be recognized,” said Steven Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), which filed the suit.

Wise is arguing that animals such as elephants, which have complex cognitive and social abilities, should not be counted as “things” under the law, meaning they “lack the capacity for any kind of legal rights,” he said. Instead, the group is pushing for the courts to give the elephants the capacity for “personhood”… The group is working to have the three elephants removed from the R.W. Commerford and Sons Traveling Petting Zoo in Connecticut and taken to a sanctuary…

The zoo has been found in violation of meeting the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act more than 50 times, according to NhRP… Wise stressed that seeking “personhood” for the elephants is not the same as seeking the full gamut of human rights. “The only thing we’re seeking is the single right of bodily liberty that is protected by habeas corpus,” he said’. SOURCE…

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