United States: Pablo Escobar’s hippos have been recognized as legal persons

Web Desk BOL News

23rd Oct, 2021. 03:32 pm
United States: Pablo Escobar's hippos have been recognized as legal persons

United States: Pablo Escobar’s hippos have been recognized as legal persons

In the United States, a group of roughly 100 hippos once owned by late drug lord Pablo Escobar, have been recognized as legal persons.

This is the first time that animals have ever been officially classified as persons.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has recognized the hippos as legal people, a significant step in saving the creatures, as Colombian officials had considered killing them since 2009.

Until his murder in 1993, Escobar illegally imported animals to his property in Colombia. With the exception of four hippos that were too difficult to transfer, the animals were sent to other zoos. Over the years, the four have increased to the point where officials have labeled them as invasive species.

In July, Colombian attorney Luis Domingo Gómez Maldonado filed a lawsuit on behalf of the animals, claiming that sterilization would be a better alternative than killing them.

In Colombia, nonhuman animals have the right to file lawsuits to safeguard their rights. Interested parties in the country can receive documents or testimony from a federal court in the United States.

The Animal Defense League filed a petition on behalf of the hippos, requesting that two Ohio wildlife experts who study nonsurgical sterilization provide testimony.

Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director stated, “Animals have the right to be free from cruelty and exploitation, and the failure of U.S. courts to recognize their rights impedes the ability to enforce existing legislative protections.”

“The court’s order authorizing the hippos to exercise their legal right to obtain information in the United States is a critical milestone in the broader animal status fight to recognize that animals have enforceable rights,” he added.

 

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