An Argentine court has ruled that Sandra, an orangutan in the Buenos Aires Zoo, is entitled to the right of habeas corpus.
The decision means nonhuman animals can bear rights and has some rights recognized as person in a court of law. It is the first time a court of law has recognized that nonhuman has some rights which includes unlawful imprisonment.
The Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights, an animal advocacy group, had filed the case on behalf of Sandra, seeking an order that the courts recognize the 28-year-old Sandra’s right to freedom.
The ruling by the Argentine court declared Sandra has rights and she has been wrongfully deprived of her freedom.
It’s not a complete victory however for Sandra. The orangutan, who was born in German zoo and sent to Argentina 20 years ago, at an age when wild orangutans are still living at their mother’s side, won’t be released from the zoo. It’s unlikely that Sandra could survive in the wild after spending her entire life in captivity.
If the Buenos Aires Zoo does not appeal the ruling by the first week of January, Sandray will be sent to a sanctuary.
Lawyer Paul Buompadre, one of the activisits who filed the suit told La Nacion Newspaper the ruling could help other critters.
This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories.”
In New York, advocates are arguing Tommy the chimpanzee should have similar rights.