Happy has lived at the Bronx Zoo for most of her 48 years, and for more than a decade has remained largely isolated and lonely. Like all elephants, Happy has a complex mind and a deep social, intellectual, and emotional life; she desires to make choices and has a sense of self-recognition. But like all nonhuman animals, Happy is considered a thing in the eye of the law, with no fundamental rights. Due to a series of groundbreaking legal cases, however, this is beginning to change.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Sam Machado, author of the graphic novel Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood, which traces Happy’s story and makes the legal and scientific case for animal personhood.