Bronx, Dec 17, 2020 –  The following statement was released today by the Bronx Zoo:

“Today, the Bronx Zoo won again in the courts. So did common sense. The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department rejected the NonHuman Rights Project’s (NhRP) erroneous arguments in its lawsuit against the Bronx Zoo seeking to expand the writ of habeas corpus to apply to Happy, one of the Bronx Zoo’s Asian elephants. The NhRP sought to have Happy moved to a sanctuary, a demand they made without knowing anything about her unique personality and behavioral traits and having no understanding or regard about what is best for her as an individual.

“With today’s decision, NhRP’s appeal was unanimously rejected by all five justices; with no dissenting opinions. In the decision, the justices made it clear that NhRP’s arguments were “erroneous.” Read full opinion HERE.

“To date, 29 judges in New York State alone have ruled against NhRP in this and similar petitions. Just yesterday, NhRP announced its abandonment of a similar unsuccessful case in Connecticut.

“It has been two years since NhRP began its lawsuit and public relations/fundraising campaign against the Bronx Zoo. In essence, the lawsuit was never about what was best for Happy but has been a vehicle used by NhRP to generate funds to advance its philosophical cause. The NhRP has argued nonsensically that Happy should be deemed a person and ‘freed’ to an elephant sanctuary while also stating in court proceedings it was not challenging Happy’s welfare at the zoo. Of greater concern is that what NhRP says in the courts is very different from what it says on its social channels to incite the public with false statements about Happy’s situation and care. In addition, one of the facilities to which NhRP asked to have Happy moved has issued a statement distancing itself from NhRP. That statement can be found here.

“The NhRP attorneys say their losses in the courts (in New York and other states) are due to the judges not understanding the law. The Bronx Zoo contends the judges do understand the law and have applied it properly. In its decision today, the First Department also confirmed that NhRP had mischaracterized the Court’s prior rulings.

“Information perpetuated by NhRP over the past two years of this lawsuit was inaccurate, misleading or blatantly untrue. Despite what NhRP says, Happy is not kept in isolation; Happy is not languishing; Happy is not kept indoors for half the year. 

“All decisions regarding the health and welfare of the animals at the Bronx Zoo should and will be made by the zoo’s animal experts who know them best. At this time, the veterinarians, keepers, and curators at the Bronx Zoo believe it is best for Happy and the zoo’s other elephant, Patty, to remain in familiar surroundings and allow them to interact with each other and the people they both know, rely on and trust. Their situation is continually assessed, and decisions are made based on what is best for them. The Bronx Zoo does not make animal management decisions based on petitions.”