Elephants will for the first time having legal representation as persons in a sanctuary court case taking place this week, wrote a nonprofit on Facebook Monday.
The Nonhuman Rights Project announced Monday they are filing a lawsuit on behalf of the elephants in Connecticut. The captive elephants will be represented in court for the first time as persons, reported the New York Post.
The “clients” Beulah, Karen and Minnie, are currently held captive at the Commerford Zoo in Connecticut, arguing that they should be placed in a sanctuary in the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s ARK 2000 in California.
The animals are “emotionally, socially, and cognitively complex lives,” and have a fundamental right to be moved to a sanctuary more closely resembling their natural habitat, according to the nonprofit, adding: “Their right to bodily liberty will be respected.”
“Common law courts must catch up to what we know about members of this extraordinarily complex species and how they suffer — precisely because they are autonomous — when businesses like Commerford force them to perform at circuses and fairs and live in environments completely unsuited to their needs,” said attorney Steven M. Wise, president and founder of the nonhuman rights group. “The time has come for them to be.”
The elephants are being deprived of their freedom which is a violation of the fundamental rights of their three clients, Wise added.
“This is not an animal welfare case,” said Wise.
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