Chimpanzees have rights too, according to a judge in Argentina that just ordered for Cecilia’s release from the zoo. Cecilia is a chimpanzee currently residing in the Mendoza Zoo. For years animal rights activists have fought for Cecilia’s freedom and an opportunity for a better life.
After two of Cecilia’s cellmates died, she has lived completely isolated in a concrete cell at the Zoo in Argentina. The Mendoza Zoo also received criticism prior to Cecilia’s ruling after a video of “the world’s saddest polar bear” went viral. The viral clip showed the polar bear suffering alone in terrible living conditions.
Since the death of her chimp mates, Cecilia’s energy has completely dropped. She often appears sad and listless. Ever since the decline in Cecilia’s living conditions, officials from the Great Ape Project and the Association of Officials and Lawyers for the Rights of Animals have banded together to help move the chimp to a better home. The goal is to move Cecilia to an ape sanctuary in Brazil.
The Great Ape Project released a statement on Tuesday made by Judge Maria Alejandra of the Third Court of Guarantees of the Judiciary in the Argentinean State of Mendoza. The statement explained his ruling that Cecilia deserved to be treated to non-human rights of health and happiness.
Judge Maria Alejandra’s statement said, “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.”
The Judge’s ruling is one of the first times that an ape was granted judicial rights similar to humans on the ground that the chimp is cognizant of her treatment and is deserving of better conditions. Alejandra continued, “They are not animals or great apes to be exhibited as a work of art created by man.”
Since the ruling, Cecelia has been placed in quarantine before she will be transported to Brazil. Because Cecilia is one of the most popular attractions at the zoo, some people have made claims of fraud to stop her transfer to Brazil. Fortunately, Cecilia has been granted police protection until her transfer to the ape sanctuary.