ISLAMABAD: In her dissenting note, a judge on New York’s highest court cited Chief Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court (IHClandmark )’s Kaavan judgment, which stated that an elephant held in captivity at the Bronx Zoo for decades had the legal right to live in the wild and was protected under the law.
The judge was considering a petition from the Nonhuman Rights Project, an animal rights organization.
The State of New York Court of Appeals, in a ruling dated June 14, referred to the IHC chief justice’s landmark decision on May 20, 2020, ordering the relocation of the lone elephant in Marghazar Zoo, Kaavan, and other animals to their respective sanctuaries.
“An animal is unquestionably a sentient being,” says one of the phrases excerpted from CJ Minallah’s judgement, which has been included in the US court’s decision. It has feelings and can experience pain and delight. Each species has its own natural habitat in the wild. Their behavioural, social, and physiological demands necessitate separate facilities and situations. This is how they came into being.
Nature did not intend for an elephant to be separated from the rest of the herd and kept in isolation. Animals, like humans, have natural rights that should be respected.”
The IHC judgement continued, “It is a right of each animal, a living being, to exist in an environment that fits the latter’s behavioural and physiological demands.”
The petitioners, who were seeking legal protection for the elephant, were defeated by a 5-2 majority.
While animals deserve “appropriate care and compassion,” they are fully outside the scope of human rights law, according to the New York court’s opinion.