Historical Verdict, Argentine Courts Give Legal Rights to Orangutans

BUENOS AIRES, KOMPAS.com – The court in Argentina made a historic decision and the first time it happened in the world when making a decision that orangutans have legal rights while in captivity. Thus, the orangutan named Sandra is legally guaranteed to be able to be moved to a habitat that is in accordance with the development needed.

The Association of Professional Lawyers in Argentina for Animal Rights has filed a warrant for habeas corpus, which urges the release of Sandra from detention and is carried out for the benefit of Sandra. After the release or transfer order is issued, the orangutan will be taken to an asylum in Brazil, where Sandra can have partial and controlled freedom.

Sandra is an orangutan who lived for 20 years in captivity at the Buenos Aires Zoo. Upon the verdict, Sandra was then considered a “non-human being” whose basic needs were still guaranteed, such as the right to life, freedom, and not be physically or psychologically tortured.

According to Sandra’s lawyer, Andres Gil Dominguez, the Argentine Federal Council for Criminal Cassation ruled that primates were the subject of law. “Non-human beings who have a number of rights and rights can be protected through legal procedures,” Gil said.

“This is an unprecedented decision. The first decision in the whole world,” he said.

Previously, Argentine law categorized animals as objects.

The Buenos Aires Zoo has not yet given a statement, but was given up to two weeks to appeal.

Although this case has become a global precedent, specialists in this case claim that this ruling can only be applied in a limited way to animals such as Sandra and primates belonging to great apes. The reason, this type of animal has a genetic similarity of up to 96 percent with humans.

Scientists do think chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans have an understanding and feeling that can be likened to that of humans.

“This has proven that Sandra and primates held in captivity not only lost their freedom, but also lost the ability to live in natural habitats,” Gil said.

“This also proves that they are affected (confinement). They suffer from their detention, and this causes deep and serious damage,” Gil continued.

Animal rights activists also interpreted this ruling as a new perspective on species in captivity.

According to Pia Pacheco of Project Gran Simio Argentina, this case is “a reflection of a number of changes that have taken place in our country in terms of the considerations that humans have about animals and their future.”

Editor : Bayu Galih
Sumber : CNN