NABR Commends New York State Court of Appeals Decision Not to Grant Legal Personhood to Animals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Contact: Eva Maciejewski
emaciejewski@nabr.org
(202) 967-8305

NABR Commends New York State Court of Appeals Decision Not to Grant Legal Personhood to Animals

 Washington, DC – National Association for Biomedical Research President Matthew R. Bailey issued the following statement regarding the June 14, 2022 decision by the New York State Court of Appeals to deny a writ of habeas corpus petition on behalf of an elephant named “Happy” at the Bronx Zoo:

“We are satisfied the New York State Court of Appeals ultimately denied the Nonhuman Rights Project’s petition to grant personhood rights to “Happy” the elephant. NhRP’s continued attempts to find a venue willing to grant legal personhood to animals is literally turning our justice system into a kangaroo court.

“Most people agree that humans bear great responsibility for the welfare of animals, but opening the door for animal rights groups like NhRP to sue on behalf of any animal at any time would likely spell the end of pet ownership, farming, zookeeping and biomedical research with animals. We are satisfied the Court took into account our Amicus Brief[1] and that common sense prevailed in this case. We will remain vigilant regarding future attempts to end humane research with animals.”

Background:

In October 2018 the Nonhuman Rights Project filed a writ of habeas corpus petition against the Bronx Zoo on behalf of “Happy” the elephant in the New York Supreme Court, Orleans County. NhRP sought recognition of the animal’s legal personhood and right to liberty in the hopes of having the elephant released to a sanctuary. After the initial hearing, the case was transferred to the Bronx County Supreme Court, which denied NhRP’s petition.

In 2020 NhRP filed an appeal in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department. That appeal was denied. In January 2021 NhRP filed a motion in the New York State Court of Appeals – New York’s highest court – to appeal the lower courts’ decisions. In an unprecedented move, the New York State Court of Appeals granted permission for a hearing. A month after the May 18, 2022 hearing, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled 5-2 against NhRP’s petition to give personhood rights to “Happy” the elephant.

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About the National Association for Biomedical Research

Founded in 1979, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) is the only 501(c)(6) non-profit association dedicated to sound public policy for the humane use of animals in biomedical research, education, and testing. Members include more than 340 universities, medical and veterinary schools, teaching hospitals, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, patient groups, and academic and professional societies who rely on humane and responsible animal research to advance global human and animal health. Learn more about us at www.nabr.org.

[1] https://www.nabr.org/view_file/1016/4313/5080/APL-2021-00087_Motion_for_Leave_to_File_Amicus_Brief.pdf

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