Friday, 03 December 2021 04:46 GMT

Pablo Escobar's Colombian Hippos Are Legally People: Court Ruling

(MENAFN- BreezyScroll)

Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s formerly owned over 80 hippos. They now have a unique distinction in US law. They are the first non-human creatures to be legally defined as people. These hippos have a lawyer and a very good one.

For the first time in the United States, the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio recognized the late Pablo Escobar’s infamous “Cocaine Hippos” as legal individuals. Three decades ago, a drug lord and narcoterrorist Pablo Escobar smuggled hundreds of animals into his private ranch zoo, including elephants, ostriches, zebras, camels, giraffes, and hippopotamuses. After the assassination of Escobar in 1993, they grabbed the vast estate, which included the zoo.

The October 15 decision came on the same day that the Animal Legal Defense Fund applied on behalf of the hippo plaintiffs in Colombia. It is to avoid slaughtering of the animals by the country’s authorities. On Wednesday, the ALDF issued a press release announcing the decision.

There's no precedent for animals having a legal standing to enforce their own rights

The hippos are from four that Pablo Escobar’ s illegal smuggled into the country. They were made public after his death in 1993. The hippos’ number has expanded to more than 80. They claim to be wreaking havoc on the surrounding ecology. Some scientists argue they may actually be“restoring ecological functions” lost for thousands of years due to“human-driven extinction.”

“It is obvious animals have legal rights. For example, the right not to be cruelly abused or killed. A legal right is only as valuable as one's right to enforce a legal right,” Christopher Berry, the attorney overseeing the U.S. case, informed Gizmodo. “The legal system doesn't … have precedent for animals' interests directly appearing in court. There's no precedent for animals having a legal standing to enforce their own rights.” 

Elizabeth Putsche informed HuffPost on Thursday, the Colombian government disclosed had already begun feeding the hippos a medicine called GonaCon. However, in the court case, the ALDF’s specialists suggest the contraceptive PZP as being more appropriate for hippos. 

Stephen Wells, in the press release, said “animals have the right to be free from cruelty and exploitation. The failure of U.S. courts to recognize their rights impedes the ability to enforce existing legislative protections.” He adds,“a critical milestone in the broader animal status fight to recognize animals have enforceable rights.”

Pablo Escobar

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