Judge Orders Chimp to be Freed From Zoo Enclosure in Historic Ruling

Judge Orders Chimp to be Freed From Zoo Enclosure in Historic Ruling

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Animal rights advocates have long fought for the freedom of Cecilia the chimp – and now, she may finally be granted access to a better life.

Since two of Cecilia’s mates died, the chimp has lived all alone in a concrete cell at the Mendocino Zoo in Argentina, showing little energy or happiness. In light of the sordid living conditions, officials from the Great Ape Project and the Association of Officials and Lawyers for the Rights of Animals have collaborated to move Cecilia to an ape sanctuary in Brazil.

In a statement that was released by the Great Ape Project on Tuesday,  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.

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The ruling is historic since Cecilia is one of the first apes to be given the same judicial rights as humans on the grounds that she is also a sentient being who is deserving of the same treatment.

Cecilia is currently undergoing quarantine for transportation to Brazil. Since she has been considered one of the most beloved residents of the zoo, there have been multiple claims of fraud over the ruling in order to prevent her transfer. She is, however, receiving constant police protection until she is ready to be moved.

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“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.

“They are not animals or great apes to be exhibited as a work of art created by man.”

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(Photo by the Great Ape Project)

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