Landmark Court Rulings Upheld, Animals have Rights!

A 10-year court battle over a chimpanzee trafficked to a private zoo came to an end as a landmark ruling establishing welfare and rights of animals is upheld despite legal opposition from Animal City Zoo.

Nearly two years ago when we worked with the courts, Ministry of Agriculture and police to confiscate Charlie from Animal City Zoo, the zoo posted this on their Facebook page -

The Lebanese justice department has now had a final say - that battle has now been won - and we will celebrate once more!

Charlie was trafficked into Lebanon as a baby in 2005 and kept alone at Animal City Zoo north of Beirut for the next eight years.

A complaint was made to the public prosecutor in 2006 but no effective steps were taken.

Animals Lebanon took up the case in 2013 and two separate rulings in March and April 2014 allowed Charlie to be confiscated from the zoo and moved into the organizations care.

Criminal judge Dina Daaboul and urgent matters judge Antoine Tohme issued rulings that establish animals have both mental and physical welfare, and that the intrinsic rights of animals can come before the claims of owners.

The rulings allowed for Charlie to be confiscated from the zoo and placed in Animals Lebanon care. A further ruling by judge Tohme allowed Animals Lebanon to fly Charlie to a specialized sanctuary in Brazil in July 2014.

As oppositions from Animal City Zoo were rejected and time for further appeals had run out, a $10,000 court guarantee was returned to Animals Lebanon putting an end to the case.

“We can never give Charlie back his family or the years lost at the zoo, but we are extremely pleased that he is in a much better place and the rulings stand,” said Animals Lebanon director Jason Mier.

“The last year was spent fighting oppositions from the zoo, now its time to use those court rulings and the guarantee to fight for other animals.”

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