Is the zoo elephant Happy a legal person? A judge will make the decision.

That was the primary point in a case heard by New York's top court on Wednesday in a dispute over Happy, an Asian elephant at the Bronx Zoo.

Happy is an autonomous and intellectually developed animal, according to the Nonhuman Rights Project

who contended that it had the same right to protection against unlawful detention as people. The zoo claims that the elephant is being taken care of and that her confinement is legal.

In an interview, Steven Wise, head of the Nonhuman Rights Project, said, "What we're claiming is that she has a right to bodily liberty and that that makes her no longer a thing.

The seven-member New York State Court of Appeals questioned attorneys for both sides on the definition of autonomy

how the elephant's bodily liberty could be achieved, and the possible consequences of a judgement to relocate Happy during a hearing.

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