Sandra the Sumatran Orangutan declared ‘non-human person’ by Argentinian Court

In a landmark decision that has gained world-wide attention, an Argentinian Court has ordered a Buenos Aires Zoo to release Sandra, a 29 year old Sumatran Orangutan, on the basis that she has the legal status of a non-human person and the right not to have her liberty arbirtarily deprived.   The proceeding was brought on Sandra’s behalf by the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights who filed a habeas corpus petition (typically used to challenge the legality of a person’s detention or imprisonment) and argued that Sandra should not be treated as an object because of her intelligence and complex ways of thinking.

Sandra had lived her whole live in captivity.  However, the Court agreed that Sandra, as a sentient and intelligent animal with capacity to reason and feel emotions, should be afforded the basic rights of a non-human person, and ordered the Zoo to release Sandra to a sanctuary in Brazil.

This is a great development in animal rights law, and a prime example of how dedicated legal advocacy can directly improve the welfare of animals.

Few details are yet available, and Lawyers for Animals will be keeping an eye out for English translations of the judgement, and whether the Buenos Aires Zoo appeals the decision.

For more details, see the news articles published by the ABC, Reuters, and The Independent.

 

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Kangaroo Culling

Around 30 million Australian kangaroos have been killed over the last decade, and at least three million young left orphaned.

Joeys remain dependent on their mothers for survival for between 18 months and about 3 years. If orphaned joeys are not killed, they die of starvation, exposure, dehydration or predation.

Under the applicable Code of Practice, small, furred pouch young (that are easily held with little struggle) must be euthanased by a forceful blow which destroys the functional capacity of the brain. According to the new Draft Code of Practice, this “may be achieved by forcefully swinging the head of the young against a solid metal object (e.g. tow bar of a vehicle).”


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