The Law Must See Animals As More than Just PropertyOpposing Views,
November 16, 2009
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has posted an article on Opposing Views arguing
that "one of the driving issues behind the field of animal law is the
disconnect between the law’s description of animals as 'property'" and
pet owners notion that pets are "members of the family." The article
draws on the ancient Egyptian's practice of mummifying pets to argue
view pets as family members is not a new notion. Click here to read the entire article.
U. Va. Offers First-Ever Animal Law Class This Fall UVA Today, October 29, 2009
After receiving a $1 million grant to establish the Bob Barker Animal Rights Program, U. Va. offered its first course in animal law this fall. The course, "Animal Law 9040," examines the "legal issues pertaining to animals, the laws that govern their treatment, as well as a number of topics that fall within the general headings 'animal law' and 'animal rights,'" said Margaret "Mimi" Riley, who teaches the three-credit seminar. "The class is a great way for students to explore legal principles in the context of a subject area that interests them," Riley said. "It's also an area of law that is evolving rapidly." To view the press release, click here.
Knesset: Animals don't have legal rights Haaretz, October 29, 2009 - The Knesset rejected a bill to change the name of the Animal Welfare Law to the Animal Rights Law. According to coalition members, the bill was rejected because Israeli law does not recognize animals as legal entities with rights. "The proposed law is based on the unacceptable premise that animals have rights," Religious Services Minister Yaakov Margi (Shas) told the Knesset. Margi said the government believes animals have the same legal status as inanimate entities such as corporations, ships, universities and cities. For the full story, click here. Bob Barker Donates Additional $1 Million to Drury to Establish Animal Rights Professorship USA Today, October 28, 2009
Bob Barker has donated an additional $1 million to his alma mater Drury University to establish a professorship that he hopes will lead to the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in animal rights. Patricia McEachern, currently a professor of French, received the new professorship. McEachern stated that she was unsure when the animal rights program would be started, but she hopes to add two more courses to the program in the next two years. Commenting on the program, Barker stated, "I think some students would become full-fledged animal rights activists…Some will become lawyers and doctors who will always be interested in animal rights. And some will have more respect for animals." If Drury establishes the new animal rights program, Barker said he expects other schools to duplicate it. This donation follows a similar donation last year where Barker donated $1 million to Drury to establish a Forum on Animal Rights, which led to an undergraduate course on animal ethics. Barker has also donated $1 million to eight laws schools, including Harvard and UCLA, to fund courses on animal law. To read the news article, click here.
Switzerland's Supreme Court Upholds Ban Prohibiting Neuroscience Research Projects Using Rhesus Macaques Swisster, October 15, 2009
The Swiss Supreme Court, Switzerland's highest court, has upheld a lower court decision against the Institute of Neuroinformatics, an institute jointly run by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich and the University of Zurich, that prohibited certain neuroscience experiments using rhesus macaques. According to Kevan Martin, deputy head of the Institute, the research conducted by the Institute “was peer-reviewed by international scientists and was funded at the highest level by the Swiss national fund.” Martin maintains a change in the membership of Zurich's animal protection commission - and the influence of animal rights groups - led to the initial ban by the Committee on Animal Experiments.
The case arose in 2006 after Zurich's cantonal commission for the protection of animals objected to the experiments, claiming the expected benefits to society were not sufficient to justify the burden to the animals. The Committee on Animal Experiments agreed and prohibited the neuroscientists from continuing their research. In 2008 a Zurich administrative court upheld the Committee's decision. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich and the University of Zurich appealed the decision to Switzerland's Supreme Court. To read the article, click here.
Animal Studies Tests the Boundary between Human and Animal—and Between Academic and Advocate
Chronicle of Higher Education, October 21, 2009
Academic researchers, "spurred on by a shift in consciousness that has been going on for several decades, beginning with the environmental and social-justice movements of the 1960s and 70s," are working to break down the categories and distinctions between humans and animals. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education,
At the curricular level, courses with some kind of animal-studies emphasis are popping up almost everywhere, in law schools and in literature departments. But students cannot yet get a Ph.D. in animal studies.
Michigan State University is edging closer. It has had an animal-studies graduate specialization for about a year now. Linda Kalof, a professor of sociology, founded and directs the program. "We are the first doctoral specialization in animal studies anywhere in the world," she says. "We focus primarily on the question of how animals figure in human lives and how humans figure in animal lives, from a social-science and humanities perspective." The program attracts faculty members and students from beyond those areas, too. Professors from the school of veterinary medicine and from the law school take part, as do students from zoology and animal science as well as sociology, anthropology, and American studies
...Taken far enough, animal studies ultimately points to "a revision of our most basic social institutions and our most fundamental intellectual assumptions," Calarco says. "There are no guideposts. You're on very experimental terrain."
To read the article, click here.
Excuse me, Mr. Squirrel. Would you mind leaving? -- Proposed D.C. legislation outlines humane treatment for dealing with critters Washington Post - October 21, 2009
According to the Washington Post "wild animals that roam city neighborhoods could soon have their own bill of rights." Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) has introduced a bill that allows "lethal control" of raccoons, rabbits, bats and other wild animals "only when public safety is immediately threatened" or non-lethal methods have proven unsuccessful. The bill exempts "commensal rodents," meaning homeowners and exterminators will still be able to use traps and poison to kill rats and mice and, as drafted, applies only to wildlife specialists and professional trappers. But, according to the Washington Post, Cheh plans to have it amended so that it also prevents homeowners from using inhumane tactics or traps. Click here to read the news article.
Bob Barker Plans to Fund Additional Animal Law Programs
At the 8th annual West Hollywood Book Festival Bob Barker used his Q&A session to promote the animal law programs that he has helped fund at several colleges and universities. Since 2001, Bob Barker has donated up to $1 million to eight law schools including Columbia, Harvard, Stanford and UCLA and $1 million for an undergraduate program at his Alma Mater, Drury University. At the festival, Barker told the crowd that he plans to aid universities in the creation of more animal law programs throughout the nation and expressed his satisfaction with the animal law program at Drury. Barker explained that he “got the idea to fund animal law degrees at universities because so many law degree programs are impacted and the level of interest in animal law has increased greatly amongst students and the public.”
To read the news article, click here.
For more information about Bob Barker’s donations to law schools, click here.
Animal Rights Party Claims Extra EU SeatDutch News, October 12, 2009 - The Animal rights party, PvdD, is claiming the extra seat which the Netherlands will get in the European parliament when the Lisbon treaty comes into effect, the NRC reports on Monday. However, the cabinet is insisting the extra seat can only be given to a party which already has representatives in Brussels, and that is Geert Wilders' anti-immigration PVV. For more information, click here. Pets Aren't "Children" in Court's Eyes Herald Tribune, October 4, 2009
A Florida appellate court has ruled that a dog owner can pursue a lawsuit seeking damages for emotional distress against a veterinarian who prescribed an injectable heartworm treatment that led to the dogs death. After the dog died the dog owner signed a release. The Florida appellate court held that the release was valid as to all claims of damage resulting from use of the heartworm treatment but held that the release did not bar "any claims that did not result from the use and administration of [the heartworm treatment]." Read the article discussing the case and the issue of veterinary malpractice.
China Unveils First Ever Animal Cruelty Legislation Telegraph, UK, September 18, 2009 - On September 18, 2009 the first legislation designed to protect animals was introduced in China. The legislation includes provisions protecting pets and covering how farm animals should be raised, transported and slaughtered. It also contains provisions to protect captive wildlife and laboratory animals. Read the article Animal Ethics Course Kicks-Off Drury Mirror - September 10, 2009
Drury University has used a donation by Bob Barker to fund a Forum on Animal Rights, the centerpiece of which is an animal ethics course. The primary goal of the course is to raise moral consciousness about the most current conditions and uses of nonhuman animals and the ethical dimension of relationships between nonhuman animals and human beings. The course focuses on both ethical theory and applied ethics. In addition to the gift to Drury, Bob Barker has made similar donations to eight law schools, including Harvard and Stanford, to help fund the study of Animal Law and Animal Rights. Read the Article.
New Era Dawning for Animal Rights Atlantic Free Press, September 3, 2009
Changes in the emerging field of animal law can come in many areas including: strengthening animal cruelty laws, providing standing for animals or animal "guardians" to enforce animal cruelty laws, allowing damages for intentional harm to animals and passing legislation increasing the rights of animals. According to Diane Sullivan, the founder of an animal rights program at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, "Animal law is a rapidly expanding field that is becoming an important aspect of our social policy." http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/news/1/11345-new-era-dawning-for-animal-rights.html
Moving Beyond Animal Rights: A Legal/Contractualist Critique Law professor Richard Cupp has published an important law review article documenting the explosive rise of animal law in United States courts and law schools, and analyzing the increasingly volatile animal rights versus animal welfare debate. Professor Cupp concludes that the rights paradigm does not fit well in a legal context when addressing animals, and he supports biomedical research with an emphasis on human responsibility for the humane treatment of animals. The article, entitled "Moving Beyond Animal Rights: A Legal/Contractualist Critique," has been published by the San Diego Law Review. Read the article Virginia Case May Define Pet’s Worth Washington Post, August 17, 2009
An animal rights case seeking $15,000 in damages for “severe emotional distress” in relation to the death of a pet dog is scheduled to be heard by a Virginia court this week. Under current Virginia law, pet owners can only recover the replacement value of the animal, not sentimental or emotional (non-economic) damages. According to the Washington Post, the dog owner’s attorney, Lanny Davis, a former White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, “hopes to move the boundaries of Virginia law in asking a jury to award money for ‘Buster's actual value’ to [the dog owner], saying pets have ‘irreplaceable relationships’ with their owners.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/16/AR2009081601885.html
Animal Law Specialists Speak for Those Who Can't Fort Worth Business Press, August 10, 2009
Animal law is one of the fastest growing areas of the legal field and is now taught in over 100 U.S. law schools (click here for more information). Despite the explosive growth of animal law, some attorneys specializing in animal law complain that it is difficult to make a living practicing animal law because, in many states, it is impossible to win more than the animal’s market value. Animal law practitioners in Texas, Virginia, and other states are trying to change this by challenging legal precedents that only permit pet owners to recover the replacement value of the animal in cases of veterinary malpractice or wrongful death, not sentimental value or emotional damages. http://www.fwbusinesspress.com/display.php?id=10761
GPSOLO Magazine Focuses on Animal Law The July/August 2009 issue of GPSOLO, a magazine produced by the American Bar Association for members of the General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Division, focused exclusively on animal law. The magazine contains articles on non-economic damages in pet litigation, animal cruelty cases and an overview of the growing field of animal law. To review the magazine and read the articles, visit: http://www.abanet.org/genpractice/magazine/2009/jul_aug/ Animal Law Topic of Recent Seminiar Times-Picayune, July 13, 2009
The Animal Law Section of the Louisiana Bar Association was founded last year, and recently held its first continuing legal education seminar at Tulane Law School in conjunction with the school's Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. Topics discussed at the seminar ranged from the history of animal status to practical advice for today. http://www.nola.com/picayunes/t-p/wbpicayunes/index.ssf?/base/news-17/1247376654104580.xml&coll=1
Settlement to Require Animal Labs to Post Data Associated Press, July 1, 2009
On July 1, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reached a settlement agreement regarding the online posting of annual research facility reports. The agreement came after a four-and-a-half-year legal battle, and will require the USDA to search for specified missing annual reports from 2003 and 2004. The USDA will also be required to search for missing “Column E” explanations from certain reports going back to 1999. The case was originally filed by the HSUS in January 2005 after the USDA failed to provide some annual reports in their entirety and redacted information related to unrelieved pain and distress in other reports that were released. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=7981762
Panel Says Groups Lack Standing To Sue Over Safety of Foie Gras American Lawyer, June 22, 2009
A New York state appeals court has decided that several animal rights groups lack standing to sue the state's agriculture commissioner in a case where the groups asking to court to order the commissioner to make a declaration about whether commercially produced duck liver is an adulterated food product that is dangerous to the public. The court found that appellants, which include the Humane Society of the United States, cannot prove an injury-in-fact that is different than the general public's, as it must to have standing to sue under Administrative Procedure Act §204. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202431648480
Animal Rights, Animal Welfare and the Law Regarding Animals Examiner, June 19, 2009
An article by the Examiner discusses the consequences of animals being considered property under the law. It explores the ethical and practical effects of maintaining the status quo when animals are often considered a part of the family and also explores consequences associated with changing the property status of animals to "property with feelings" or "companion constitutive chattel", both of which would raise the status of animals higher than mere property in the form of an inanimate object, such as a car or house. http://www.examiner.com/x-7468-Pet-Health-Examiner~y2009m6d19-Animal-rights-animal-welfare-and-the-law-regarding-animals
Ha-Ha! Ape Study Traces Evolution of Laughter Washington Post, June 4, 2009
Researchers have concluded that human laughter and the laughter of chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas originated from a common ancestor that lived some 10 million years ago. "After measuring 11 traits in the sound from each species, they mapped out how these sounds appeared to be related to each other. The result looked like a family tree. Significantly, that tree matched the way the species themselves are related, the scientists reported online Thursday in the journal Current Biology." Read the article
Animals 'Can Tell Right from Wrong': Scientists Suggest It's Not Just Humans That Have Morals Daily Mail UK, May 26, 2009
The Daily Mail UK reported that animals have a sense of morality and can tell right from wrong, according to new research. The research studied species ranging from mice to wolves and determined that animals are governed by codes of conduct similar to those that humans follow. Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1187047/Animals-tell-right-wrong-Scientists-suggest-just-humans-morals.html
Vermont Supreme Court Ruling Supports Animal Welfare in Turning Back Attempt to Expand Pet-Related Litigation Yahoo! News, May 8, 2009
The Vermont Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision not to introduce non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, into pet litigation joining a long line of state courts reaffirming the longstanding legal principle that emotional harm damages are not allowed in litigation over pets. In its ruling the Court stated, “Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate a compelling reason why, as a matter of public policy, the law should offer broader compensation for the loss of a pet than would be available for the loss of a friend, relative, work animal, heirloom or memento -- all of which can be prized beyond measure, but for which this state's law does not recognize recovery for sentimental loss." Read the article
Justices to Rule on Law Banning the Depiction of Cruelty to Animals New York Times, April 20, 2009
The Supreme Court has placed only a few kinds of speech beyond the protections of the First Amendment, among them obscenity, incitement, threats, fighting words and, in 1982, child pornography. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that would decide whether depictions of cruelty to animals should join the list. In the case of United States v. Stevens, No. 08-769, the Third Circuit said animals were not affected by videos showing cruelty to them in the same way minors were affected by child pornography and therefore found the law unconstitutional. In a supporting brief urging the court to hear the case, the Humane Society of the United States argues that the law banning the depiction of cruelty to animals should join the list because they “simply do not merit the dignity of First Amendment protections.” Read the article.
Animal Studies at Harvard Harvard Crimson, April 14, 2009
Animal studies springs from the premise that animals are both integral to human history and are beings worthy of study in their own right. A recent tally found over 150 university animal studies courses in North America, covering everything from theories of animal rights to animals as symbols in ancient civilizations. Read the article, at http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=527662
Brothers of Man - European Commission May Ban the Use of Great Apes Economist, March 30, 2009 - No Great Apes have been used in Europe for scientific testing since 2002. However, the European Commission is considering banning the use of Great Apes for scientific research by legislation. This Economist article discusses the benefits of costs of banning Great Ape research. The article notes that chimpanzees are the only animals, other than humans that can be used to study Hepatitis C, points out that less than 0.1% of research involving animals is conducted using primates and notes that it may be hypocritical to ban great ape research and subsequently use drugs developed using great apes. The article balances this interest against the welfare of the Great Apes which it notes can be approximately as intelligent as a two and a half year old human child. Read the article. Only in Boulder: A Home for Pet 'Guardians' March 29, 2009: The Colorado Daily News published a story about a Boulder, CO ordinance that changed the term 'owner' to 'guardian' in city ordinances dealing with pet animals. Boulder was the first city to legally refer to pets' 'owners' as 'guardians' and in the wake of the change In Defense of Animals, an animal-rights group, started a campaign to convince other cities to follow suit. In the past nine years, 18 cities have made the change, ranging in temperament from Berkeley, Calif., to Bloomington, Ind. http://www.coloradodaily.com/news/2009/mar/29/only-boulder-pet-guardians-owners/ Chimp Attack Case Could Break New Legal Ground March 25, 2009: The Connecticut Law Tribune reported that after a 14-year-old chimpanzee mauled a woman in Stamford, Conn., a lawsuit seeking to hold the chimpanzee owner strictly liable is the first of its kind in Connecticut. Matthew Newman, an attorney representing the mauled woman stated, "there is no Connecticut case that addresses strict liability for a wild animal injuring someone." However, Newman is using a dog bite statute in Connecticut to argue for a strict liability standard. Read the article. Money is no measure of dog's worth Appeals court rules in custody battle: Pets have 'subjective value' March 12, 2009: The Star-Ledger reported that a three-judge panel ruled money was inadequate compensation for a woman whose former fiancé kept their dog after the breakup of their relationship, despite an oral agreement the pet would be hers. The Appeals court concluded a pet, like a family heirloom, has "special subjective value" that cannot be compensated by money alone. Read the article Animal Research Exposes Clash Between Safety, Disclosure Laws February 26, 2009: The Wall Street Journal reported that public universities and research institutions are limiting the information released under public records requests to protect the safety of scientific researchers. In response, animal rights groups are using lawsuits to force the institutions to release the records. "At issue is whether the spirit of laws that protect the identities of police officers and crime victims can be used to shield scientists at the expense of other laws mandating public disclosure. In other words, public safety is pitted against the public's right to know." Read the article. Cruelty Laws Apply to Livestock, Lawsuit Says February 20, 2009: Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that a Seattle-based animal rights group has filed a lawsuit arguing that existing laws give industry undue control over how animals are housed and slaughtered. Adam Karp, an animal rights lawyer, argues that current law gives the industry far too great a role in determining what is and isn't humane treatment. Karp alleges that many practices considered "customary" by meat, milk and egg producers are unduly and unnecessarily cruel. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/400950_slaughter21.html Petland Discounts: Pro Bono Work for Animal Rights Skyrockets February 19, 2009: AM Law Daily reported that statistics from 2008 show that American Law firms contributed a record number of pro bono hours to the "Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, two of the country's leading animal rights organizations--and those that pursue litigation most aggressively." The article concludes with quotes from animal lawyer Bruce Wagman, who states, "Animal law is flourishing...People are starting to discover that these groups bring really interesting cases." http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2009/02/is-it-the-economy-or-do-lawyers-love-animals-pro-bono-work-for-animal-rights-skyrockets.html Owner/Guardian Up For VoteFebruary 17, 2009: Ukiah Daily Journal reports that the Ukiah City Council is scheduled to vote on whether or not it wants to endorse a compromise position of changing city code to read "owner/guardian" instead of "owner" in reference to the city's dogs and cats or pass a resolution encouraging the use of "guardian." http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/ci_11722152 Animal rights? Some things shouldn't happen to a dog Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 2009 - Animal law is one of the fastest-growing fields in the legal profession. In 1993, just seven states had felony animal cruelty laws; today, all but four do. Lewis & Clark opened the first Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter in 1992. Today it has branches at more than 115 law schools in the United States and Canada. In 2000, nine law schools had animal law studies. Today about 100 do. http://www.sltrib.com/ci_11687743 Hampshire Scientists Reveal Chimpanzee Study Hampshire Chronicle, February 1, 2009 - Orphaned chimpanzee infants given special ''mothering'' by humans are more advanced than the average human child at nine months of age, Hampshire scientists said today. The study found that chimpanzees who were given extra emotionally-based care were more cognitively advanced than human infants. Read the article, at Read the article Who Gets Fido? Pet Custody Battles.September 19, 2008. MSNBC reported that custody battles for pets have increasingly become a major part of divorce litigation. According to a divorce attorney, “There has been an explosion in the court systems of people who want to litigate time sharing and legal ownership of family pets.” Some judges are working out joint custody agreements for couples, “treating the pet as if it were a child.” This has led to some judges considering the emotional attachment of the parties to the pet. However, other judges are taking the more traditional approach and determining that a pet’s owner is the person who purchased it. For more information, visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26771730/. Bellingham lawyer fights for animal rights. September 18, 2008. Animal lawyer Adam Karp began practicing animal law in 1999 and has been influential in setting case law in Washington. In addition to his animal law practice he is an adjunct professor of animal law at the University of Washington and founded the Washington State Bar Association's Animal Law Section. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/255/story/557485.html. US veterinary student sues St Kitts-based school for cruelty to animals. September 18, 2008. A student at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine is suing the school for failing to offer an alternative to performing certain procedures on animals. The student alleges that veterinary students were often required to operate repeatedly on healthy animals despite being assured before enrollment that harmful procedures would not be required. http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-10794--35-35--.html University of California Sued for Withholding Documents About Funders of Prop 2 Study and Illegal Lobbying by State Employees. September 8, 2008. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed suit against the University of California seeking to obtain documents “concerning potentially unlawful campaign activities by its staff regarding Proposition 2." The University of California Agricultural Issues Center recently published a report that predicted a myriad of economic outcomes for industry and consumers if Prop 2 passes in November. HSUS claims that the study and the accompanying press release raise serious questions about the university's compliance with California laws restricting political lobbying by state employees. http://www.politickerca.com/hsusheather/2166/university-california-sued-withholding-documents-about-funders-prop-2-study-and-ill. UCLA Profs and Scientists Sued Animal-Rights Radicals. Now They’re Breathing Slightly Easier. August 28, 2008. Legal actions by the University of California Regents, in response to recent attacks by animal rights activists against medical researchers, have led to “a reduction in the demonstrations outside the homes of faculty members.” In April, the lawsuit filed by the University of California Regents resulted in a preliminary injunction against three animal rights groups requiring them to stay 50 feet away from researcher’s homes during the day and 150 feet at night. The injunction also prohibits the groups from posting the home addresses, telephone numbers and other personal information of UCLA researchers on their Web sites. http://www.laweekly.com/2008-08-28/news/a-small-win-against-extremism/. U of I Lets Employees Hold Back Numbers, Addresses August 24, 2008. Employees at the University of Iowa are now able to keep their home addresses and phone numbers private after the university reversed its policy on providing the information to the public through an online directory. The decision resulted from fears that University of Iowa employees could be targets of harassment or identity theft when their information is easily available on the internet. Some University of Iowa animal researchers may have been victims when they were sent unsolicited magazine subscriptions at their home addresses after a break-in at an animal research lab in November 2003. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080824/NEWS02/808240343/-1/ENT06. Vermont Edition Interview: Court case tests animal negligence responsibility. August 18, 2008. Next session, the Vermont Supreme court will decide whether or not pet owners can collect non-economic damages when their animal dies from a veterinarian’s negligence. The case began in 2002, when Vermont residents Robert and Susan Goodby lost their two cats because of a toxic medication. Veterinarians say they will face an undue burden if pet owners can sue them for their emotional loss when an animal dies. http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/81749/. My View: Now We Can Provide for a Pet’s Future. August 17, 2008. The Sacramento Bee published an article by Richard Cupp discussing the recent California legislation allowing the establishment of legally enforceable pet trusts. Prior to this legislation only “honorary trusts” that were not legally enforceable could be created. Cupp recognizes that while this may be “a step down the slippery slope toward legal rights for animals” it is a step that does not necessarily lead to acceptance of animal rights because humans have a responsibility to provide care for a dependant animal. http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/1161284.html. When Beloved Pet Dies, Law Should Stay Out of It. August 14, 2008. The Indianapolis Star published an opinion piece written by Richard Cupp, who writes: “Pet distress claims have become one of the focal points of a rising phenomenon known as ‘animal law.’ Animal law is likely the fastest-growing subject in American law schools.” He also states that lawsuits seeking compensation for emotional distress were relatively unheard of ten years ago. http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080814/OPINION01/808140425/1002/OPINION. Holladay Protest Ban Stirs Backlash. August 7, 2008. Recent protests targeting researchers from the University of Utah have prompted the Holladay city council to pass an ordinance banning protests less than 100 feet away from scientists’ homes. Critics of the law believe it violates first amendment rights to protest, while city and university officials believe the new ordinance is necessary to protect researcher’s rights to privacy. http://www.sltrib.com/ci_10057586. Court Denies Humane Society's Standing in Foie Gras Fight. August 6, 2008. A New York appeals court has dismissed the bulk of the U.S. Humane Society's challenge to a New York state grant to Hudson Valley Foie Gras by concluding that the plaintiffs lacked standing, except in one narrow instance. The Humane Society has filed several lawsuits against Hudson Valley Foie Gras in an attempt to put the farm out of business. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202423550088 Animal rights protesters torment scientists July 8, 2008. Over the past couple of years, more and more researchers who experiment on animals have been harassed and terrorized in their own homes, with weapons that include firebombs, flooding and acid. These attacks led some researchers to quit their work with animals. Read the article Helmsley, Dogs’ Best Friend, Left Them Billions July 2, 2008. The New York Times reported that Leona Helmsley has left $12 million to her dog trouble and an estimated $5 to $8 billion in a charitable trust for the care and welfare of dogs. The money could be used to benefit animal welfare organizations, veterinary schools, or research on canine diseases. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/us/02gift.html?_r=2&oref=slogin_&oref=slogin. Swiss Primate Legislation Could End Some Brain Research Scientific American - September 2008. An order by the Committee on Animal Experiments, requiring 2 Swiss neuroscientists to cease their experiments on rhesus macaques, was upheld by a Zurich administrative court. The study was denied by the committee because the expected benefits to society were not sufficient to justify the burden to the animals. The administrative court also cited in part the macaque’s evolutionary proximity to humans and its cognitive abilities. Read the Article. All Swiss animals are equal - but some more so than others AFP - September 1, 2008. Want to get rid of your goldfish? Swiss owners who have been flushing them down the toilet -- still alive -- must now find other methods since strict, new animal protection laws went into effect Monday. Instead, a fish must be first knocked out and then killed before its body can be disposed of, the law stipulates. The new legislation spells out in exhaustive detail how all domestic animals are to be treated, whether they be pets, farm animals or destined for scientific experiments. Read the Article. Animal protection groups to seek tighter animal cruelty Animal protection groups plan to ask the Legislature to tighten New Mexico's animal cruelty laws by modifying a veterinary exclusion. The move comes after the New Mexico court dismissed animal cruelty charges against Charles River Laboratories and veterinarian Rick Lee because of the exclusion. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Animal lawyers share passion to protect helpless For a young, overworked lawyer practicing in a big Manhattan firm, it was a "transformative experience."Eighteen years ago, James Gesualdi took a week off from his job to swim with pediatric cancer patients and dolphins.(Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Potential Loss of Companion Lawsuits in New Jersey The American Veterinary Medical Association Journal, July 15, 2007 – The New Jersey legislature is considering legislation granting owners of pets harmed by contaminated pet food the right to sue for the loss of companionship and claim damages of up to $15,000. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Wisconsin Legislation Would Govern Pet Custody Disputes ABC News, July 11, 2007 – Everyone knows that a messy divorce can be tough on the kids. But what happens to Fido and Sparky when mom and dad split up? A Wisconsin state representative wants to make sure judges think about the family pet when deciding divorces and annulments. Read the article
More Protection for Animals
The Ventura County Star (CA), July 10, 2007 - Animals continue to receive more legal protections as there are more lawyers and legislators voicing their concerns about taking proper care of animals. According to Bruce Wagman, a private animal law practitioner in San Francisco, "more and more people are appreciating the value of their animals, so they're willing to spend more money protecting them in private cases." Eleven years ago, Wagman's animal law course was one of seven and now there over more than 80 animal law courses offered around the country. There has also been an increase in animal legislation on both state and local levels.
The Growing Field of Animal Law The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 29, 2007: Animal law advocates are becoming greater in number and more influential. Through legal education, students at Lewis & Clark College of Law are learning to change social practices that involve animals. Topics covered in law school animal courses include animal cruelty, the legal status of animals, and federal status like the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Animal Protection Amendment Act of 2007 The Washington Post, June 21, 2007: DC council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) worked with students at the George Washington University School of Law, to create a piece of legislation to replace the existing animal welfare laws in the District of Columbia. This bill covers a wide variety of issues pertaining to animal law including penalties for cruelty, euthanasia, and spaying and neutering. Read the article. US Attorneys Flock to Animal Law The National Law Journal, June 07, 2007 – The practice of animal law continues to expand in the US. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has quadrupled its litigation department to 12 in the last 2 years. HSUS claims to have 50 pending cases and has been involved in 100 cases since 2005. Bob Barker monetary support is cited as contributing to the growth of animal law. Read the article. More Attorneys Practice Animal Law The National Law Journal, June 4, 2007: The practice of animal law is expanding in the United States as animal rights advocates building up law school studies in the area and ramp up litigation. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) NJ Considering Measure to Allow Pet Owner to Sue for Emotional Suffering The Associated Press State & Local Wire, May 21, 2007 - The New Jersey legislature will consider a measure to expand the rights of pet owners. This bill, if passed, would provide pet owners with the right to sue for emotional suffering if their dog or cat either gets sick or dies from eating contaminated food. It comes in response to the recent nationwide recall of contaminated pet food. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) NJ Considering Measure to Allow Pet Owner to Sue for Emotional Suffering The Associated Press State & Local Wire, May 21, 2007 - The New Jersey legislature will consider a measure to expand the rights of pet owners. This bill, if passed, would provide pet owners with the right to sue for emotional suffering if their dog or cat either gets sick or dies from eating contaminated food. It comes in response to the recent nationwide recall of contaminated pet food. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Perspective of an Animal Rights Lawyer The New Zealand Herald, May 12, 2007 – During a lecture at Auckland University, animal rights lawyer Steven Wise emphasizes that animals should be granted rights based not on emotional evidence, but rather on existing scientific evidence. “His point is that there is not much difference between the cognitive abilities of a child and an ape. But you wouldn’t lock a child in a cage…” Read the article. NY State Democratic Party Supports Animal Protection Legislation May 10, 2007 - A press release from The League of Humane Voters of New York City has praised the New York State Democratic Party for adopting a “historic” resolution in support of animal protection legislation. The NY State Democratic Party sets out five specific bills that the organization will support to uphold the humane treatment of animals including the opportunity for students to opt out of dissection courses. Read the article. Recovery for Emotional Distress from Loss of a Pet The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 26, 2007 – Only 33 percent of Americans think pet owners should be able to sue for emotional-distress damages when their animals are wrongfully killed, according to a Gallup poll conducted this month. Courts should share this skepticism. Treating pets to much like children may be hazardous to their health – at least when lawsuits are involved. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) NY State Bar Association Animal Law Writing Competition The New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Animals and the Law has announced its first annual writing competition. New York law students are encouraged to submit an article pertaining to any area of animal law which can be no more than 25 pages in length including footnotes. Articles will be reviewed by a panel of attorneys and other professional knowledgeable in the field of animal law. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) What is the Value of a Dog’s Life? The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2007 – Most people consider their pet priceless. But in civil law, at least, pets are usually seen as property, akin to a toaster or TV set – worth only their market value. Now, amid the incidences of tainted pet food tied to animal death and the subsequent rash of lawsuits against pet-food makers, there’s a push to put a higher value on a pet’s life. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) HSUS and Georgetown Law Join Forces On April 25, The Human Society of the United States (HSUS) and Georgetown University Law Center announced a joint project to promote awareness of animal law with three new initiatives beginning in the fall: an animal protection litigation seminar, an animal law fellowship, and an animal law conference emphasizing development and enforcement of animal law. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Seeking Justice in Pet Food Lawsuits The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 2007 – As Goliath lay dying, Michelle Nocito told him she was sorry. Twice a day, she had fed the 9-year old Italian mastiff a heaping bowl of Nutro Max chow. One hundred twenty pounds of heart appetite, he always wolfed it down. Only after his kidneys failed did she learn that the brand was suspected of chemical contamination. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Changes in Animal Law Dayton Daily News (OH), April 22, 2007 – Changes in animal law are more likely to result from the recent pet contamination episodes rather than instances of animal cruelty. When an animal is injured or dies, most courts only permit recovery for the value of the lost property. However, animal owners consider their pets to be worth more than property. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Most Courts Treat Pets as Property Pensacola News Journal (FL), April 11, 2007- While animal owners consider their pets to be family members, in the eyes of the law, pets are viewed as merely “personal property” or “chattel.” There are some jurisdictions that recognize the loss of companionship and the infliction of emotional distress as damages. Most, however, value animals based on the fair market rate. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Should Apes Have Rights? BBC News (UK), March 29, 2007 – There is a growing international movement to prove apes with “personhood rights.” Examples of this movement include the question of legal guardianship for a chimp before the Austrian court, the Balearic Parliament support for apes having the right to life, freedom, and protection form torture, and Spanish MPs considering support for a similar proposal. Read the article Arkansas House Refuses to Make Animal Cruelty a Felony The Associated Press, March 27, 2007 – The Arkansas House Agriculture Committee voted down legislation that would have made cruelty to a either a dog or cat a Class D felony. Class D felonies are punishable by a maximum of 6 years in prison and $10,000 fine. Cruelty to animals is currently a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Supporters in Utah Urge Governor to Pass Law to Increase Penalties for Acts of Cruelty to Animals Deseret Morning News (Utah), March 25, 2007 - Supporters of "Henry's Law" protested in front of the Governor's Mansion in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon, urging Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to call a special session to pass the failed legislation, which died in the final minutes of the Legislature. Read the article
PeTA Offering Scholarship to College Students
The PeTA2 Street Team is offering a scholarship to college students interested in pursuing a career in the animal field. Two students will be chosen to receive $500 towards their college tuition for explaining how their college education will help to further the cause of animals. The PETA2 Street Team promotes animal issues at a grassroots level.
Pet Protection from Domestic Violence The Recorder, March 02, 2007 – California lawmaker, State Senator Shelia Kuehl, introduced legislation (SB 353) to permit judges to include pets in protective orders typically sought by battered women in domestic violence cases. There is research that links animal abuse to domestic violence. Kuehl stated, “as an aspect of control over their victim, a batterer will often threaten to hurt or kill their pet.” Read the article NJ Lawsuit Seeking Non-Economic Damages for Killing of Pet Dog The Baltimore Sun, Feb. 28, 2007 – A New Jersey family is seeking compensation for witnessing the killing of their pet dog. Joyce Tischler, founding director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), described the case as “part of a growing trend across the country testing how the law relates to pets.” Tischler referred to it as “cutting edge” and “pushing the envelope.” (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.)
Courts Ponder Value of Man's Best Friend
Associated Press, December 4, 2006
When Denis and Sarah Scheele's dog was fatally shot after wandering onto a man's property, they sued and not just for damages. The couple also wanted compensation for their emotional distress and loss of companionship.
Counselor for defenseless Arizona Daily Star, February 28, 2006 - Chris Wencker loves his critters — two dogs, five cats and three rats — yet Arizona law makes little distinction between animal companions and other property, such as a bicycle or a coffee table. Still, Wencker, a Tucson attorney with the Benavidez Law Group, envisions a future where animals have increased rights under the law. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Lawyer breaking new legal ground on animal issues Seattle Times, February 7, 2006 - In a Seattle University law classroom, attorney Adam Karp plunks his feet on a bench, next to his chalkboard sketch of a three-legged dog. His shoes are not leather. His tie, the one with a picture of a giraffe, isn't silk. He wears no wool. His belt is plastic. And, he practices only animal law. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Tort Watch for Animal Lovers Washington Post, December 29, 2005
Distraught pet owners are not marching on Washington -- yet -- to win the right to sue for the loss of companionship if their dogs and cats are injured or killed. But that's not stopping lobbyists for pet-medicine manufacturers from keeping an eye on the Hill.
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CVMA Applauds Court Decision on West Hollywood Lawsuit California Veterinary Medical Association, December 1, 2005 - The CVMA sued the city of West Hollywood in March 2005 to overturn the city's ordinance banning animal declawing, except for defined "therapeutic" purposes, within city limits. The November 30 ruling upheld the CVMA's assertion that local ordinances may not infringe on licensed professionals' state-granted rights to practice within the scope of their licenses. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Pet custody can be an issue for some divorcing couples Shreveport Times, September 19, 2005 - A burgeoning national trend is giving family pets a new legal standing as pet owners argue for the emotional ties that bind them to their dogs, cats and other animals, animal law experts say. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Animal law is a growing area The Minnesota Lawyer, August 29, 2005 - The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) two years ago approved the creation of an Animal Law Committee, granting it section status a year later. Last year, the American Bar Association (ABA) followed suit, establishing an Animal Law Committee as part of its Tort Trial and Insurance Practice (TIPS) Section. Four dozen law schools across the country are now offering courses in animal law - and at least 41 states have passed animal-related criminal felony bills, compared to less than a dozen a decade ago. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Pets, owners get their day in court Newhouse News Service , July 24, 2005 - The legal community is starting to pay serious attention to cases involving pets: pet trusts, veterinarian malpractice cases and suits that push to expand emotional damages so they cover a pet's death or injury. "There is more happening since the year 2000 than in the previous century. … A whole convergence of different energies are creating this fantastic, really, volcano of change," said Carolyn Matlack, president of Animal Legal Reports, which tracks lawsuits and legislation. Read the article (free registration required) EU Plans Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics Deutche Welle, January 16, 2003 - Starting in 2009, the majority of the tests conducted on animals to ensure the safety of cosmetic products -- ranging from deodorant to hand cream and lip sticks -- will be outlawed, with companies forced to use the alternative methods. For those remaining tests where no alternative has been developed yet, companies will be given a grace period until 2013.
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Divorced, they're divvying up the dog Visitation ruling is new here, but a growing trend Poughkeepsie Journal, July 1, 2005 - A burgeoning trend is giving family pets a new legal standing as pet owners argue for the emotional ties that bind them to their dogs, cats and other animals, animal law experts said. "We're seeing it a lot," said lawyer Ron Blumberg, whose California firm handles pet custody cases. The California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed numerous court briefs in such cases asking judges to consider the animals in question as more than property. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.) Growing trend of pet law gives animals their day in court Chicago Tribune, June 29, 2005 - The veterinarian botches routine surgery, and now the family cat resembles something out of Stephen King's "Pet Sematary." Or that "miniature poodle" puppy you got from a breeder has grown to 90 pounds and looks more like a dingo-bulldog mix.
Pet owners traditionally had little legal recourse in situations such as these. In every court system, animals have been considered property. But animal advocates and attorneys along with their clients are making headway in getting the legal system to recognize what society increasingly believes:
Animals are more than just property. They're like family. (Please contact NABR for more information on this article.)
Former Mount Vernon resident helps PETA reach out to scientists
Skagit Valley Herald (WA), June 12, 2005 - Durham, 35, received a Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis in 2003. Working from her home in Kirkland, she will be a liaison between PETA and scientists who use primates in their biomedical research.
Man's best friends and their owners getting day in court Seattle Times, June 12, 2005 - Around the country, the legal community is starting to pay serious attention to cases involving pets: pet trusts, veterinarian-malpractice cases and suits that push to expand emotional damages so they cover a pet's death or injury.
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Barker has to bite his lip before giving NU $1 million
Chicago Sun Times, March 23, 2005 - In making a $1 million gift to Northwestern to fund a course on animal rights, Bob Barker said he had to bite his lip and turn a blind eye to the animal research that goes on at the school.
Game show host endows animal rights law course
Chicago Sun Times, March 22, 2005 - Game show host Bob Barker has donated $1 million to Northwestern University's School of Law to endow a course on animal rights law, the school announced Tuesday.
Law Schools Make Room For Animals CBS News, March 18, 2005 - It's called animal law and Taimie Bryant, an animal law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, says it goes far beyond custody battles over Bowser. The concern is less about pound animals or the nations 280 million domestic pets than the 10 billion animals that are raised for food and research; creatures largely unprotected by cruelty and welfare laws.
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When pets die at the vet, grieving owners call lawyers USA Today, March 14, 2005 - The patient had dental surgery, there were complications, and he died. Now his family members are accusing the doctor of negligence and claiming that the episode caused them emotional distress. It's a typical medical malpractice case — except in this 3-year-old dispute, the patient was a sheepdog named Lucky.
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Primal Rights Boston Globe, March 3, 2005 - Standing behind a lectern in a first-floor classroom at Hauser Hall in the somber center of Harvard Law School Saturday afternoon, Robin Bernstein ducked and parried as three black-robed judges fired question after question at her about the definition of the word cruelty.
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Animal Rights Advocacy Is a Growing Field LA Times, February 25 - Marissa Nuncio is passionate about your pet. "Fighting for animal rights is as important as fighting for other social justice issues," said Nuncio, a second-year student at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "It's literally fighting for the underdog."
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Law site takes up case for creatures great and small The Sydney Morning Herald, February 22, 2005 - Australian lawyers are being urged to follow the path of their United States counterparts and take up the cause of domestic and farm animals.
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Now It's the Lawyers' Turn - Animal Rights Moves Into Courts, Legislatures AVMA News, March 1, 2005 - Over a crisp New England weekend in November 2004, some 200 people convened in the hallowed halls of Yale Law School with a singular purpose: identifying ways of strengthening animal protection laws through the legislatures and courts.
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Animals Win Big in the Courts in 2004 as HSUS Launches New Litigation Section
Humane Society of the United States, December 30, 2004 - As 2004 comes to a close, animal advocates are celebrating a historic year for animals in the courts. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Fund for Animals, which plan to combine forces on January 1st and launch a new Animal Protection Litigation section, have just published an in-depth article about this year's numerous legal victories for animals.
Enlisting Law Schools in Campaign for Animals New York Times, November 27, 2004 - Bob Barker has a new mission, which he is bankrolling with his own fortune. He has established endowments of $1 million each at several law schools - including those at Stanford, Columbia, Duke and the University of California, Los Angeles - for the study of animal law. Other law schools, among them Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, are in the running for similar gifts.
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Rights from Wrongs: A Movement to Grant Legal Protection to Animals is Gathering Force E Magazine, March-April 2004 - Does a pig packed in a tiny factory cage waiting to be killed have any rights in America? Should it have? And what about the chimpanzee, which shares 99 percent of its active DNA with humans?
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Activists seek personhood for animals JAVMA, September 15, 2003 - Dr. B. Taylor Bennett's presentation on the animal rights movement July 21 at the AVMA Annual Convention in Denver could not have been timelier. As a biomedical researcher at the University of Illinois and alternate delegate for the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners in the AVMA House of Delegates, Dr. Bennett is well versed in the philosophies, goals, and tactics of animal rights activists.
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'Personhood' Redefined: Animal Rights Strategy Gets at the Essence of Being Human AAMC Reporter, October, 2003 - Philosophers have grappled with these questions for millennia: What is the essence of a human being? What is the difference between a person with comparatively underdeveloped cognitive abilities and a primate? Now, relying on the difficulties posed by such inquiries, some animal rights activists have embarked on a crusade to define animals as worthy of certain "personhood" rights.
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"Peaceable Kingdom" PBS Uncommon Knowledge, Filmed on April 28, 2003 - Although many of the specific goals of the Animal Rights movement have to do with promoting the humane treatment of animals, the underlying argument is that certain basic legal rights should be extended to animals as well. Should we recognize that animals have legal rights, or should we continue to regard animals as property, as resources to use as humans see fit? Learn More