When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

CLARIN

Do Elephants Have The Right To File A Lawsuit Against Their Zoo?

Animal rights activists in Argentina are testing the limits of democratic rights on behalf of elephants they say are being mistreated at the Buenos Aires Zoo.

At the Buenos Aires Zoo
At the Buenos Aires Zoo

BUENOS AIRES — Ever heard the one about the elephant and his lawyer? In a landmark lawsuit that aims to "grant rights' to animals, an Argentine NGO is taking the capital's zoo to court for the cruel treatment it says it has inflicted on three of its elephants. The action followed a groundbreaking 2014 ruling by a city court that recognized Sandra, an orangutan that had spent 20 years in the city's zoo in deplorable conditions, as a "non human subject" with rights that included not being mistreated.

This time, the city's environmental court has accepted that the Association of Civil Servants and Attorneys for the Rights of Animals (AFADA) can represent the elephants, identifying the animals as potential victims of abuse that are "incapable of exercizing their rights alone, which makes action by an attorney necessary." This would be the first such ruling in Argentina recognizing people — in this current case, an NGO — as legal representatives of animals.

In the absence of specific legislation on animal rights, the court would adjudicate using laws protecting handicapped individuals subjected to abuse. The capital's chief environmental judge Blas Matías Michienzi was cited as declaring that "animals have rights and these must be respected by man," who, he stated, will inevitably have to defend those rights.

The Buenos Aires municipality recently turned the zoo into an "ecopark" that reopened in July 2016 with limits on public visits and a more didactic focus.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Photo of someone holding a phone

Screenshot from BBC documentary "how the police and gangs hunt LGBT people in Egypt"

Laura Valentina Cortés, Inès Mermat, Renate Mattar et Hugo Perrin

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest