Ecuador Grants Legal Rights to Wild Animals to Prevent Animal Abuse

Just as cases of human exploitation and animal abuse are on the rise, the South American country, Ecuador, has taken a step to curb the growth of cases. It became the first country in the world to grant legal rights to wild animals. The decision comes from the highest court in the land 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 being transferred to the zoo.

Librarian Ana Beatriz Burbano Proaño cared for the monkey for 18 years. However, she was seized by authorities in 2019 because owning wild animals is illegal in the country. A month after the separation, the monkey died. It was then that Proaño filed a habeas corpus petition asking the court to declare that the monkey’s rights had been violated.

Harvard law professor Kristen Stilt, speaking to Inside Climate News on the significance of Ecuador’s decision, said: “What makes this decision so important is that now the rights of nature can be used for the benefit of small groups or individual animals. “It makes nature’s rights a much more powerful tool than what we may have seen before.”

Hugo Echeverria, an environmentalist, said in a press release: “This verdict elevates animal rights to the level of the constitution, Ecuador’s highest law. While the rights of nature were enshrined in the constitution, it was unclear prior to this ruling whether individual animals could benefit from the rights of nature and be considered rights holders as part of nature. »

The court emphasized that “wildlife species and their individuals have the right not to be hunted, fished, captured, collected, extracted, preserved, preserved, trafficked, traded or traded”.

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

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