Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippos’ are legally people, U.S. court rules

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Some 100 hippos, descended from a herd smuggled into Colombia by the notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, are now recognized by a U.S. court as “interested persons” following a decision this month that is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, which sought the interested persons designation for the “cocaine hippos,” called the ruling by a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio a “critical milestone” in its larger effort to have the American legal system recognize “enforceable rights” for animals.

Legal analysts say the U.S. court order has no direct effect in Colombia. It remains to be seen what influence the ruling might have on a lawsuit there seeking to safeguard the hippos’ well-being.

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