A court case involving Sandra, a 29-year-old orangutan in Argentina may have ramifications for other apes, or even other non-primates. An animal rights group filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Sandra, alleging that her rights were being violated by her confinement at the Buenos Aires Zoo.
In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for more lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (Afada) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.
The court agreed Sandra, born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a “non-human person”.
The zoo has ten days to file an appeal. Otherwise, Sandra will be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Brazil. Sandra has been at the Buenos Aires Zoo for twenty years, and usually tries to avoid contact with the public. A similar case in New York involving a chimpanzee ended with a ruling that chimpanzees are not “persons” with human rights. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)