A first ! The Constitutional Court of Ecuador recognized the rights of all wild animals. The 30 Million Friends Foundation, which works to establish 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 attributed to biodiversity “ a right to exist, flourish and evolve (01/27/2022).
“This is the first time that a constitutional court has recognized the rights of wild animals as a whole.assures the professor of Private Law Jean-Pierre Marguénaud accompanied by 30millionsdamis.fr. This good news makes me happy! »
Rights elevated to constitutional status…
Because until now, only “environmental” rights have at best been enshrined by courts or legislators: the Ganges in 2017 in Uttarakhand, but also the Whanganui River in the same year in New Zealand, or some elements of nature in 2016 in New Caledonia. But what about wild animals 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 the animals could be seen as holders of rights as part of nature “, specifies the Ecuadorian lawyer Hugo Echeverria, (Program of Animal Law and Policy, press release, 03/23/2022). This verdict elevates animal rights to constitutional status “. A decision all the more important as the constitutional protection is the strongest in the legal system.
… and recognized by all wildlife
This is the first time that a constitutional court has recognized the rights of wildlife.
JP Marguenaud – Professor
At the same time, some animals already had, as individuals, guaranteed subjective rights by certain constitutional courts, such as the female orangutan Sandra in Argentina in 2014, the chimpanzees Hercules and Leo in the United States. States in 2015, or the chimpanzee Cecilia in Argentina in 2017.
By its 2022 decision, “ the Ecuadorian judge therefore recognizes, for the first time, the rights of an abstract entity – wildlife – to extract consequences for the benefit of a single individualadds Professor Marguénaud. That’s an interesting idea! In this case, the Ecuadorian court was called to hear the case of Estrellita, a woolly macaque, who had died a few months earlier. Illegally captured in the wild by a librarian, the primate lived, since one month old, with this new family with whom she learned to communicate through gestures and sounds. But 18 months later, Estrellita was apprehended by local authorities and later transferred to a zoo, where she died a few weeks after cardiac arrest. Shortly before her death, her former owner had sued to get her back.
The right not to be captured in the wild
To better defend animals, the law must give them legal personality.
While the judges admitted that local authorities had flouted the macaque’s rights, they also found the librarian guilty of having captured the animal. ” The domestication and humanization of wild animals are phenomena that have a great 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 must flow from this decision is the right for wild animals not to be removed from their natural environment, summarizes Professor JP. Marguenaud. However, it is regrettable that the judges did not recognize the sensitivity of the animals, which would have allowed the scope of the decision to be extended to other animals, including domestic animals. “.
The 30 Million Friends Foundation for Animal Status
In France, the 30 Million Friends Foundation requests recognition of the status of “animal person” in the Civil Code. ” The modification of the animal’s marital status was an essential step that made it possible to unlock the democratic debate around improving the animal’s condition.emphasizes Reha Hutin, president of the 30 Million Friends Foundation. But many animals still suffer the worst abuse. In order to better defend and protect them, the law must henceforth give them legal personality. “A desire shared by public opinion, as 7 out of 10 French people are in favor of creating an animal person status in the civil code (Survey Foundation 30 Million Friends / Ifop, October 2019).
Sign our petition for the recognition of the legal personality of the animal