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26Jan
2016
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Trapped Between Zoo and Sanctuary

Do Orangutans have any rights under human law? This is a very sad story of Sandra, who is going through a very complicated legal process to find out if she will go to a zoo, or go to a sanctuary.

Argentina Justice Elena Amanda Liberatori has the difficult and unprecedented task in the next few months of 2015 of deciding the basic question of whether the orangutan Sandra would be better in a zoo or a sanctuary.The legal decision is complicated enough; it grows even more complicated if Justice Liberatori, a liberal-minded judge working to expand rights, considers Sandra as an autonomous, thinking, sentient being, or, in other words, not an object, not a kind of biological automaton, but essentially a legal “person.”One way to define a person is a being who is autonomous, able to think independently and able to make independent choices

And that is the concept for the orangutan Sandra proposed to Justice Liberatori in a report submitted to the court that I wrote with two experienced orangutan experts, the Australian Leif Cocks, president of The Orangutan Project, and the American Gary Shapiro, president of the Orang Utan Republik.

Source: Trapped between zoo and sanctuary: the dilemma of the institutionalized ape named Sandra (commentary)