The New York State Supreme Court in Orleans County today ruled that a habeas corpus petition filed by the NonHuman Rights Project (NRP) -- claiming Happy, a 47 year old Asian elephant at the Bronx Zoo, should have the same rights as a  person – would be more properly heard in Bronx County.

Today’s ruling is the latest in a long series of losses for this group as they desperately seek ways to use the courts to advance their agenda. Similar petitions brought by NRP in all four judicial departments in the State of New York, as well as a court in Connecticut, have been rejected on the merits.

The NRP shopped for a friendly court to file its lawsuit and chose Orleans County as a stage to advance an academic exercise as to whether Happy is “illegally imprisoned.”  

Said Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and Executive Vice President of Zoos & Aquarium at the Wildlife Conservation Society:

“The NRP has chosen to exploit Happy and capitalize on the Bronx Zoo name to advance its failed political agenda.  They continue to waste court resources to promote their radical philosophical view of “personhood.”   The NRP’s own filings do not question Happy’s care or our facilities, but seek to have her recognized as an autonomous being and transferred to an elephant sanctuary. 

“As we work through this process initiated by the NRP, we are forced to defend ourselves against a group that doesn’t know us or the animal in question, who has absolutely no legal standing, and is demanding to take control over the life and future of an elephant that we have known and cared for over 40 years. 

“We are pleased our motion for change of venue to Bronx County was granted, and we are confident that the courts will continue to do the right thing in this matter.”