Animal rights group pushing for elephants to be legally recognized as people

FLIE - In this photo taken on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, an elephant crosses the road in Hwange National Park, about 700 kilometers south west of Harare, Zimbabwe. Cyanide poisoning has killed 22 elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said on Monday Oct. 26, 2015. This brings to 62 the number of elephants poisoned by poachers in this southern Africa country in October. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – An animal rights organization has asked a court to legally recognize the personhood rights of three elephants at a Connecticut zoo and order them released.

The Nonhuman Rights Project announced Monday it has filed a lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court on behalf of elephants named Beulah, Karen and Minnie at Commerford Zoo, a traveling petting zoo based in Goshen.

The nonprofit wants the court to release the elephants to a natural habitat sanctuary. It has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which for people relates to whether someone is being unlawfully detained and should see a judge.

The organization argued unsuccessfully this year for two adult male chimps to be considered legal people.

Commerford Zoo hasn’t responded to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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