The Constitutional Court of Ecuador has recognized the human rights of animals

Recently, this right was exercised for the first time

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However, humanity is slowly, reluctantly, but moving towards a good attitude towards living beings. At least in relation to animals. In some countries, laws protecting animal rights were enacted a few years ago. For example, in 2008, Spain recognized the rights of great apes to life and liberty, which could not be used in scientific experiments, television shows and circuses. In Switzerland, there is a law on genetic technologies, which prohibits experiments that violate the rights not only of animals, but also of … plants. Costa Rica became the first country in the world to ban the captivity of dolphins and whales. And in 2008, Ecuador, for the first time in the world, enshrined in the Constitution of the country the right of nature and its various ecosystems to exist and prosper. Articles in this South American country’s constitution give people the right to report on behalf of nature (or on behalf of Pachamame – Inca mythology, a goddess like Mother Earth) and urge the government to respect its rights .

Recently, this right was exercised for the first time. The story began in 2019, when the country’s environmental authorities seized the pet of librarian Ana Beatriz Burbano Proagno, a hairy monkey named Estrellita. The possession of wild animals in Ecuador is officially prohibited. But the fact is that Estrellita came to Ana’s house at the age of one month and spent 18 years here. During this period, he became a full member of the family, learned to communicate with household members using gestures and sounds, and, according to local journalists, learned family traditions. Estrellita, after being removed from the family, was placed in a local zoo. However, a week later he died of a heart attack, which he could not bear the stress and the change of scenery. The inconsolable mistress (at that time she did not yet know about the death of her pet) filed a lawsuit against the authorities, trying to return the monkey home. When it became known that Estrellita was no more, Ana exercised her constitutional right and filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court of Ecuador. Ms. Burbano believed that the authorities had violated the principle of the inviolability of the animal’s face.

A difficult legal conflict arose. On the Estrellita side, Professor Kristen Stilt and researcher Macarena Montes, animal rights experts at Harvard Law School, were involved in the case.

The legal dispute lasted for several years, the court examined scientific evidence in the field of intelligence and the complex social behavior of woolly monkeys. As a result, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador ruled by seven votes to two that the authorities violated Estrellita’s rights and did not take into account that by placing the animal in the zoo, they tore the monkey from what was valuable. her for 18 years. However, Ms Burbano was also found guilty of removing Estrellita from nature, her native habitat, 18 years ago.

“Although the rights of nature were enshrined in the Constitution, before this decision was made it was not clear whether individual animals (and not whole species) could enjoy the protection of the state’s supreme law,” Ecuadorian environmental lawyer Hugo Echeverria explained. – This verdict raises the rights of individual animals to the level of the Ecuadorian constitution.

This is an important precedent, because if humanity takes some steps on the scale of survival of one or another species of animal, then the life of individual representatives of the wild world is not worth a penny. Take, for example, the innocent slaughtered elk Valery Rashkin.

In addition, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador affirmed the right of animals to freedom and a dignified life, the right to live in an environment suitable for their species and much more…

One would say that nowadays even human life is worth a little, but before protecting animals, you must take care of children and the elderly. However, these things seem to be directly related. Both animals, young children, and helpless old men are in danger when people become cattle, and their hearts are deaf at mercy. It is difficult to imagine a society that at the same time destroys stray dogs and surrounds the care and love of the elderly in a nursing home. Hardness is not a selective weapon. And if they took care of the animals somewhere, there is a chance that life will become a little easier for humans.


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