Nonhuman Personhood: Recognizing Liberty Interests for Highly Sentient Animals

By Mackenzie Holden. 

In 2003, relatives of a deceased elephant were seen pushing and pulling her body for nearly a week following her death. In 2016, footage captured a group of elephants standing over the dead body of an elephant they knew, seemingly mourning her. In fact, elephants, known for their complex social bonds and familial relationships, have been observed grieving their dead in numerous instances. For example, researchers have seen elephants scattering their family members’ bones, raising a foot over and lightly touching an elephant body with their trunks, and lingering near an elephant carcass for prolonged periods of time. Indeed, elephants, having the largest relative cerebellum size of all mammals, possess intelligence comparable to chimpanzees and have complex social behaviors. Full Article.