Tag Archives: personhood

Court Rules Bengal Tiger Is Not An “Individual” Under FOIA

by John M. Simpson

In Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, 2018 WL 23987812 (N.D. Cal. May 25, 2018), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted summary judgment to the government in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in which the plaintiff challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “policy and practice of interpreting the statute to exclude nonhuman animals.”  The case arose out of a FOIA request by an animal rights organization for inspection records of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concerning Tony the Tiger — a Bengal tiger maintained at a truck stop in Louisiana. Continue reading Court Rules Bengal Tiger Is Not An “Individual” Under FOIA

Court Denies Habeas Petition Filed on Behalf of Elephants

By John M. Simpson

A Connecticut Superior Court Judge recently issued an opinion further elaborating on his prior decision to deny a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of three elephants (two Asian and one African) owned by a zoo in Connecticut.  Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. ex rel. Beulah, Minnie and Karen v. R.W. Commerford & Sons, Inc., No. LLICV175009822S, 2018 WL 3014069 (Conn. Super Ct. May 23, 2018).  The action had been brought on behalf of the elephants “Beulah,” “Minnie” and “Karen” by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NHRP), arguing that the animals possessed emotional, social and intellectual attributes sufficient for common law personhood and for the common law right to the bodily liberty protected by the writ.  The May 23 decision expanded upon the reasons why the court previously had found the habeas petition to be “wholly frivolous on its face.” Continue reading Court Denies Habeas Petition Filed on Behalf of Elephants