News: Ecuador recognizes wildlife rights!

A first! The Ecuadorian Constitutional Court has recognized the rights of all wildlife. The 30 Million Friends Foundation, which works for the inauguration of the legal personality of animals, welcomes this decision and hopes that it will encourage other jurisdictions to follow this path.

A historic decision. The Ecuadorian Constitutional Court has attributed biodiversity ” a right to exist, to flourish and to evolve (27/01/2022).

“This is the first time that a constitutional court has recognized the rights of wildlife as a wholeassures Professor of Private Law Jean-Pierre Marguénaud together with 30millionsdamis.fr. This good news makes me happy! »

Rights elevated to constitutional status …

For so far, only “environmental” rights have been enshrined at best by courts or legislators: Ganges in 2017 in Uttarakhand, but also the Whanganui River the same year in New Zealand, or some elements of nature in 2016 in New Caledonia . But what about the wildlife in these natural habitats?

In Ecuador, the rights of nature are enshrined in the Constitution [depuis 2008, NDLR]. But it was not clear before this decision that animals could be seen as rights holders as part of nature “, Specifies the Ecuadorian lawyer Hugo Echeverria, (Animal Law & Policy Program, press release, 23/03/2022). This judgment exalts the rights of animals to constitutional status A decision all the more important as constitutional protection is the strongest in the legal order.

… and recognized for all wildlife

This is the first time a constitutional court has recognized wildlife rights.

JP. Marguenaud – Professor

At the same time, some animals had already as individuals been granted subjective rights by certain constitutional courts, such as the female orangutan Sandra in Argentina in 2014, the chimpanzees Hercules and Leo in USA United in 2015 or the chimpanzee Cecilia in Argentina in 2017.

By its 2022 resolution, ” the Ecuadorian judge therefore recognizes for the first time the rights of an abstract entity – wild animals – to benefit a single individualadds Professor Marguénaud. That’s an interesting idea! In this case, the Ecuadorian court had been seized to rule on the case of Estrellita, a female woolly monkey who had died a few months earlier. Illegally trapped in the wild by a librarian, the primate lived, from the age of one month, with this new family, with whom she learned to communicate using movements and sounds. But 18 months later, Estrellita was seized by local authorities and then transferred to a zoo, where she died within a few weeks of a cardiac arrest. Shortly before her death, her previous owner had sued to get her back.

The right not to be caught in the wild

To better defend animals, the law must give them legal personality.

Reha Hutin

While the judges admitted that the local authorities had violated the rights of the female monkey, they also found the librarian guilty of having caught the animal. ” Domestication and humanization of wildlife are phenomena that have a major impact on the maintenance of ecosystems and the balance of nature.argues the court. They cause the gradual decline of animal populations “.

In other words, ” the first right that should follow from this decision is the right of wild animals not to be removed from their natural environment, summarizes Professor JP. Marguenaud. It is regrettable, however, that the judges did not recognize the sensitivity of animals, which would have made it possible to extend the scope of the decision to other animals, including domestic animals. “.

30 Million Friends Foundation for Animal Status

In France, the 30 Million Friends Foundation is seeking recognition of the status of “animal person” in the Civil Code. ” The change in the civil status of the animal was an important step that made it possible to unlock the democratic debate on improving the condition of the animals.emphasizes Reha Hutin, President of the 30 Million Friends Foundation. But far too many animals still suffer from the worst abuse. In order to better defend and protect them, the law must in future give them status as a legal entity. “A wish shared by public opinion, as 7 out of 10 French people are in favor of establishing an animal status in the Civil Code (Survey Foundation 30 Million Friends / Ifop, October 2019).

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