Judge Declares Chimp Has Rights, Sets Her Free From Zoo In Historic Ruling

April 11, 2017

For several years, the Association of Animal Rights Officials (AFADA) in collaboration with the Great Simian Project of Spain and Brazil have fought for the freedom of Cecilia the chimp who remained alone after the death of her two companions at the Mendocino Zoo in Argentina.

Cecilia was displaying little to no energy living in a small space and forced to tread only on concrete.

cecelia chimp freed from zoo

In a statement that was released by the Great Ape Project, Judge Maria Alejandra of the Third Court of Guarantees of the Judiciary in the Argentinean State of Mendoza ruled that Cecilia was subject to non-human rights of health and happiness.

Cecilia is currently undergoing quarantine for transportation to an ape sanctuary in Brazil.

cecelia chimp freed from zoo

"It is not a question here of granting them the rights that human beings possess, but of accepting and understanding, once and for all, that these beings are sentient beings, who are subject to rights and who, among other things, assist them with the fundamental right to be born, live, grow, and die in the environment that is their own according to their species," says Judge Maria Alejandra.

cecelia chimp freed from zoo

"Cecilia has become the first chimpanzee as a representative of the Great Apes in which she is released thanks to a human legal instrument, achieving in this way the objective that from our international organization we work for all the great apes that are in captivity. This ruling and its arguments therein will serve as a precedent when filing new lawsuits and Habeas Corpus submissions. Argentine justice has advanced to the rest of the countries and has given them an important lesson in the protection and granting of rights to the great apes, considering them "nonhuman people" without anyone ripping their clothes for that reason, on the contrary, are proud of a sentence that implies a significant increase of human values ​​directed to species as close to ours as the great apes that belong to our own family. Today Cecilia leaves the filthy cave where she has been living for many years to live in a place in better conditions and with members of the same species," said Pedro Pozas Terrados, Executive Director and International President of the Great Ape Project.

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