May 18, 2022

Happy's Elephant Rights Case


On May 18, 2022, the New York Court of Appeals will hear arguments in our elephant client Happy’s case, which The Atlantic has called “the most important animal-rights case of the 21st century.” This date is the culmination of a journey we began on her behalf in 2018.

Our litigation challenges elephants’ archaic, unjust legal status as “things” with no rights and seeks to #FreeHappy from the Bronx Zoo to a sanctuary where she can live freely with other elephants.

The NhRP will argue that the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, have unlawfully deprived Happy of her freedom, imprisoning her alone in an exhibit that is “too small to meet the needs of Happy or any elephant,” as elephant expert Dr. Joyce Poole has written in support of Happy’s release.

The Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society will argue that Happy "is happy where she is" and should remain a rightless thing.

We look forward to appearing before the New York Court of Appeals, which will have the chance to right the tremendous wrong of Happy’s 45 years of imprisonment in the Bronx and finally bring Happy’s legal status into the 21st century by recognizing her legal personhood and right to liberty.

For those local, a rally preceding the hearing will be held.