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Ecuador Gives Legal Rights to Wild Animals to Prevent Animal Abuse

By: Buzz Staff

News18.com

Last Updated: March 31, 2022, 12:07 IST

Ecuador gives legal rights to wild animals. (Image: AFP)

Ecuador gives legal rights to wild animals. (Image: AFP)

The decision comes from the country’s highest court when it heard a case for Estrellita, a woolly monkey.

Just when cases of human exploitation and animal abuse are surging, the South American country Ecuador has taken a step to curb the growing cases. It has become the first country in the world to provide legal rights to wild animals. The decision comes from the country’s highest court when it heard a case for Estrellita, a woolly monkey. She was taken from the wild when she was one month old and kept as a pet. Later, the monkey died a month after it was moved to the zoo.

Librarian Ana Beatriz Burbano Proaño took care of the monkey for a period of 18 years. However, she was seized by authorities in 2019 because owning wild animals is illegal in the country. One month after separation, the monkey died. This is when Proaño filed a habeas corpus asking the court to rule that the monkey’s rights were violated.

Harvard law professor, Kristen Stilt while speaking to Inside Climate News about the importance of Ecuador’s ruling, said: “What makes this decision so important is that now the rights of nature can be used to benefit small groups or individual animals. “That makes rights of nature a far more powerful tool than perhaps we have seen before.”

Hugo Echeverria, an environmentalist, in a press release said, “This verdict raises animal rights to the level of the constitution, the highest law of Ecuador. While rights of nature were enshrined in the constitution, it was not clear prior to this decision whether individual animals could benefit from the rights of nature and be considered rights holders as a part of nature.”

The court highlighted how “wild species and their individuals have the right not to be hunted, fished, captured, collected, extracted, kept, retained, trafficked, traded or exchanged.”

In an unrelated incident, recently, a man in the United States was arrested after he was found to be smuggling more than 1,700 reptiles from Mexico. 60 of these reptiles were found in his clothes including four snakes and dozens of lizards hidden inside his jacket pockets and trousers. Jose Manuel Perez was apprehended by the US customs officials last month at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which is the largest land border crossing between San Diego in the US and Tijuana in Mexico.

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first published:March 31, 2022, 12:07 IST
last updated:March 31, 2022, 12:07 IST