And an Argentine court agreed, for the most part. As the Buenos Aires Herald reported over the weekend, judges from the nation's second-highest court unanimously agreed that animals, like Sandra, have rights as "non-humans."
"From a dynamic, not a static, legal interpretation, it is necessary to recognize that [Sandra] has rights, as non-human subjects (animals) are holders of rights," the court ruled, ordering that the orangutan be released.
If the zoo does not appeal the ruling to Argentina's Supreme Court, Sandra will be relocated to a primate sanctuary in Brazil where she will live out her days in a setting more befitting of her nature.
Paul Buompadre, an attorney with AFADA, hailed the ruling as a major shift in policy toward animals across the country, telling newspaper La Nacion:
"This is a historic step. It is a blow to the spine of the Argentine legal system, whose civil rules consider animals as things and opens the way not only for the great apes, but also for the rest of those sentient beings who are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and experimentation."