Cecilia the chimpanzee has been living in a concrete encolusre, all alone, in Mendoza zoo in Argentina. But, the Dodo reports, that is going to change.
In a court ruling this week that made history, Argentine Judge María Alejandra Mauricio ruled that the animal was not a thing and had rights.
Source: Proyecto Gran Simio
She declared that Cecilia was to be released from her prison and be sent to a sanctuary, which would be more like her natural habitat and where she could be surrounded by other monkeys.
The Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) launched this campaign two years ago alongside the Great Ape Project.The NGOs argued that containing the ape without a companion was unlawful and that she was suffering greatly as a result.
Source: Los Andes
The judge agreed, saying that nonhumans possess rights related to their 'animal essence'. She added that Cecilia should be transferred to the Great Ape Project's sanctuary, which is situated in Brazil. The judge told the newspaper Los Andes:
We're not talking about the civil rights enshrined in the Civil Code, but instead the species' own rights: to develop, to life in their natural habitat.
Source: Proyecto San Grimio
Thankfully, this zoo chimp got her own happy ending and will soon be spending her days in paradise. She will no longer be enclosed in a small cage with no-one for company and no place to hide from humans.
This historical judgement could be the first step towards a more understanding treatment of animals in the future, especially in the legal sphere. Judge Mauricio also demanded better treatment for all the animals staying behind at the zoo after Cecilia leaves.
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