22.12.2014 - Press Release: Argentina grants habeas corpus, the right to freedom, to an orang-utan

Argentinian Justice recently declared an orang-utan living in captivity in the Buenos Aires zoo a « non-human person », acknowledging her right to freedom. Fondation Franz Weber asks that the zoo refrain from appealing against this historical step forward for the recognition of animal rights.

Argentinian Justice granted habeas corpus to an orang-utan living in the Buenos Aires zoo, thus acknowledging her right to freedom as a “non-human person”. This decision of the Criminal Court of Appeal was called for by the Public officials and Lawyers in favour of Animal Rights Association (POLARA), based on the work of the judge Eugenio Zafarroni, ex-member of the Supreme Court.

Thanks to this recognition, the orang-utan Sandra could be transferred to a sanctuary in Brazil, where she would enjoy her freedom and the company of other members of her species, after more than 20 years of captivity. However, the Buenos Aires zoo announced its intention to appeal against the Chamber’s decision.

For this reason, Fondation Franz Weber urges the authorities of Buenos Aires to require that the zoo refrain from appealing, because it is a great step forward on an international level for the recognition of the rights of non-human animals. Indeed, for the first time, a non-human animal is granted this right and such a step forward must not be slowed down by a public organism like the zoo.

We hold any appeal from the zoo against this decision in contempt and call upon the Argentinian network of animal rights activists to prevent said appeal and request that political responsibility be taken in case of such a measure by the zoo. We could be witnessing the beginnings of a Declaration on animal rights, which would be an honour for all Argentinians – an event that will surely appear in the History books of tomorrow’s generation.

Fondation Franz Weber