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.”

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.

Ukiah Council Drops Pet ‘Guardian’ Label

February 18, 2009

The Press Democrat reports that the Ukiah City Council dumped a controversial proposal to change the term pet “owner” to “owner/guardian” in its Animal Control ordinance.  The council, on a 4-1 vote, instead adopted a non-binding resolution that simply encourages residents to use the term “caretaker” when referring to pet owners, an effort to promote kindness to animals.

Owner/Guardian Up For Vote

February 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.”

Austria: Activists Ask European Human Rights Court To Declare Chimpanzee A ‘Person.’

May 21, 2008

Animal rights activists, trying to get a chimpanzee declared to be a person, have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, after the highest court in Austria rejected the activists’ request to have a trustee appointed for the chimp. The court declared that only a human is entitled to have a guardian and refused to recognize the chimp as a person.

Second Primate Legal Guardian Case

May 4, 2007

The Scotsman (UK) reports that a second legal guardian case for a chimpanzee has been filed in Austria. Jane Goodall, who is known for her work with chimps, has agreed to testify that apes should be treated like humans.

Austrian Court Denies Chimp Legal Guardian

April 26, 2007

According to Nature, an Austrian judge denied the request to appoint a legal guardian to a chimpanzee. In a court hearing on April 24, the judge denying this request said that “ if she appointed a legal guardian for a chimp, then this might increase the public perceptions that humans with court-appointed legal guardians are at the same level as animals.”

Should Apes Have Rights?

March 29, 2007

BBC News (UK) reports on the growing international movement to provide 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 from torture, and Spanish MPs considering support for a similar proposal.

Austria Court to Rule if Chimp has Legal Rights

The Observer (UK), April 01, 2007

Judges in Austria are considering whether to grant a chimpanzee human status by allowing a human to become the chimpanzee’s legal guardian. Under existing law, only humans have a right to legal guardians. Read the article

Debatable — Should pet owners be made pet guardians?

The Journal Times

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