Happy is an Asian elephant. But is she also a person?

Bronx Zoo Elephant Lawsuit

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2018 file photo, Bronx Zoo elephant “Happy” strolls inside the zoo’s Asia Habitat in New York. A legal fight to release Happy the elephant from the Bronx Zoo after 45 years will be argued Wednesday, May 18, 2022, before New York’s highest court in a closely watched case over whether a basic right for people can be extended to an animal. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — She has four limbs, expressive eyes and likes to stroll through greenery in New York City.

Happy, by species, is an Asian elephant. But is she also a person?

That’s the question before New York’s highest court Wednesday in a closely watched case over whether a basic human right can be extended to an animal.

Her advocates at the Nonhuman Rights Project say yes: Happy is an autonomous, cognitively complex elephant worthy of the right reserved in law for “a person.”

The Bronx Zoo, where Happy resides, says no. The zoo argues Happy is neither imprisoned nor a person, but a well-cared-for elephant “respected as the magnificent creature she is.”

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