Eagles TAWK

Jessica Kordas

In 2007, Michael Vick, then quarterback for the NFL Atlanta Falcons, was convicted and sentences to 23 months in prison for dog fighting related offenses.  When Vick was arrested and charged, the NFL suspended him from the league indefinitely.  After Vick’s release earlier this year, the NFL commissioner reinstated him, allowing Vick to play in the NFL should a team choose to hire him.  Shortly after this announcement Vick signed a contract to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie thought that Vick was taking an active role to be a valuable member in society, as such he offered Vick a second chance.  In addition, Lurie promised disappointed fans that the Eagles organization would also actively participate in the animal welfare arena.  Lurie’s full statement can be read here.  Related blawg posts are here.

A few weeks into the 2009 season the Eagles announced they would keep their promise and set up a community outreach program called Eagles Tawk.  This program is designed to help educate people on a number of important issues including, spaying and neutering pets, eliminating dog fighting, and the benefits of pet adoption.  The sports world revolves around money and, while hiring Vick inevitably hurt Lurie’s pocket temporarily, fans will ultimately forget the harm that Michael Vick caused.  While this program doesn’t make up for the things that Vick, it may help a new demographic to become interested in animal welfare.  Continue reading

Euthanasia is NOT the Answer

Elisa D’Ortenzio

As the year 2009 comes to an end, over 4 million dogs and cats will have been euthanized in the United States alone due to over population in animal shelters. Dogs and cats that do not end up living in shelters often live as strays on the street. Television commercials such as those from the ASPCA which focus on promoting animal adoption and ending violent animal cruelty, often fail to educate the public as to the fate of the millions of animals that live in the shelters if they are not adopted.  Continue reading

Disgusting Animal Abuse Case in Lithuania Leads to the Potential for Stricter Punishments for Animal Abuse

Irina Knopp

Recently, the shocking video of a dog being thrown from a bridge has circulated the internet.  Svajunas Beniuk from Kaunas, Lithuania was the culprit.  Svajunas, who was joined by at least two other people who filmed the event, took a neighbor’s dog and threw it from a bridge.  The dog had allegedly killed some of his mother’s chickens in their home village. In an ironic showing of compassion, Svajunas waited until the traffic cleared before he threw the dog.

The dog, named Pipiras (Lithanian for Pepper), spent several days unable to move.  A man discovered him, took him to the police station, and the police sent Pepper for medical treatment. Earlier reports stated that Pepper avoided serious bone fractures but had multiple injuries to his internal organs from the 60+ foot fall. The local citizens, in a beautiful outpouring of compassion, offered assistance and wanted to take care of Pepper after he would recover. Sadly, the latest reports on the local Russian radio station in New York indicate that Pepper has passed.  Continue reading

The Utopian Suggestion of Natural Predator Reintroduction

Jonathan Vandina

The deer population in the Northeast has exploded. Some maintain that one of the reasons is due to the previous housing boom. During the boom, thousands of acres of land were cleared with the intentions of building homes that were never built.  This cleared land permitted sunlight to hit the ground, which facilitated grass growth leading to the population explosion.

There are more deer in the Northeast today than there were when the settlers first arrived. Although development and land clearing may be partially to blame, we cannot forget the fact that humans also extirpated the main predator, mountain lions (Puma concolor). Due to the over-explosion of deer, the lack of natural predators and the inability of the land to sustain them, many of these animals will die slow deaths of starvation. Sick deer may also spread disease which can adversely affect the rest of the population.  Although hunting may eliminate a small portion of this manmade suffering, some people claim there is a better way; that is to reintroduce their natural predators. Continue reading

Exotics Lose in Florida

Marjorie Levine

Last month, a red-bellied piranha was caught by a 15-year-old boy.  The next day, fish and wildlife officials caught two more in the same lake.  No, this didn’t take place in the Amazon; it happened in West Palm Beach, Florida, The Piranha is not a Florida native, but, like the New York Snowbirds, these animals like the heat!  From south of Florida’s borders, these non-native animals have invaded Florida due primarily to negligent pet owners. When pets becomes too large, people simply release them into the wild without thinking of any consequences. The pets survive and flourish in Florida because the conditions are so similar to that of their natural ecosystem.

Although Florida has laws about importing non-native species, pet stores are still able to obtain licenses to sell exotic animals cheaply, which in turn attracts people to buy these exotic pets without researching the specifics of their care.  Some released pets, such as the green iguana, are able to move on land, migrating to different parts of Florida where Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission finds them almost impossible to control.  However, these piranhas were confined to one lake in West Palm Beach.  They could not infest other areas of Florida, as land animals can.  Why, then, was the choice made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) to poison the entire lake to remove this one species? Continue reading

Where Have All The Rational People Gone?

[The following post is written by one my Animal Law students who prefers to remain anonymous --dnc]

I read an article recently that really offended me. The article was written on November 21, 2009 by Gary Steiner and was published in the New York Times Op-Ed section (Steiner’s piece has already been discussed  on this blog here).

The first line in this article that bothered me actually did not originate from him. He quotes Issac Bashevis Singer in his story “The Letter Writer” as saying that the killing of animals for food is the “eternal Treblinka.” For those of you who are not aware, Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp. In one year there were 850,000 people killed there. The problem I have with Singer’s comparison is that there was no benefit whatsoever to the Nazis by killing these people. Of course many Animal Rights activists do not think it is right to kill animals for human benefit, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who denies that the humans who do kill animals gain a benefit from them. In fact, I think the whole issue is whether it is right for humans to kill animals for their benefit. You may not feel the benefit is justified, but we are not talking about wanton slaughter like there was in Treblinka.

Please just read this short article about Treblinka at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treblinka_extermination_camp, and then I feel that you will agree that to even repeat this ridiculous comparison destroys any validity that could possibly have come out of this article. That is my problem with Steiner. What would possess him to read this ridiculous comparison and then quote it? Obviously he read it and said something to the effect of “hey, wait a second, that’s right. Slaughtering animals for a benefit to human’s is exactly the same as a mass extermination of humans for absolutely no reason.” And then he decided to quote it. All I can say to him is, well I think Abraham Lincoln said it best, sometimes it is “better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Continue reading

No Humane Slaughter? No Problem (because) No Standing

David Cassuto

The 9th Circuit recently decided Levine v. Vilsack, a case challenging the  ongoing failure of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to include birds under the auspices of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA).  The case was brought by a group of plaintiffs in 2005, claiming that “inhumane methods” of poultry slaughter increased their risks of food-borne illnesses and health and safety dangers and caused “aesthetic injury” to the plaintiff poultry workers.   They sought an order declaring that (1) “USDA’s decision to exclude chickens, turkeys, and other poultry species from the protections provided by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 . . . to be . . . not in accordance with the HMSA of 1958 and the APA;” (2) “declaring unlawful and setting aside USDA’s September 28, 2005 Federal Register Notice containing the agency’s policy statement . . . that the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 . . . does not require ‘humane handling and slaughter’ for poultry;” and (3) “enjoining USDA from excluding chickens, turkeys, and other poultry species from the protections provided by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 . . . .”

The district court granted summary judgment to the USDA.  On appeal, the 9th Circuit reversed.  That might seem like good news (Michael Markarian thinks so)  but to my mind … not so much.  The court reversed because of that age-old bugaboo of environmental and animal law: lack of standing.  The court found that of the 3 prong test for standing to sue in federal court (injury-in-fact, causation, & redressability), plaintiffs failed to meet the third prong.  Continue reading

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