ABA TIPS Animal Law Committee News

David Cassuto

Not a lot of blogging from our hero for the next week or so as I am hosting my Pace Law School comparative environmental law class and we are travelling a lot (including to the Amazon).  However, good work is being done and you can read about some of it in the ABA TIPS Animal Law Committee Newsletter here.  Kudos to Chair Joan Schaffner and all the other hard-working folk on the committee.

CITES Folderol Continued

David Cassuto

The banner times at the CITES Meeting continue.  No protection for sharks either.  Earlier in the week, delegates declined to protect several key species of coral.  And, of course, let’s not forget last week´s debacle with the bluefin tuna and the polar bear.   Continue reading

Nonfiction Animal Writing Opportunity

David Cassuto
 
For all you writers and writers-soon to be:
 
Call for Submissions: Animals 
For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about the bonds—emotional, ethical, biological, physical, or otherwise—between humans and animals. We’re looking for stories that illustrate ways animals (wild and/or domestic) affect, enrich, or otherwise have an impact on our daily lives.    Continue reading

Pondering Michael Vick & Grandma´s Turkey

David Cassuto

From the Recommended Readings Desk:  This from Sherry Colb over at Dorf on Law — a very thoughtful essay furthering a discussion begun when Gary Francione lectured at Cornell Law School.  Among other queries, the piece explores the relative morality of dog-fighting vs. cooking a Thanksgiving turkey.  The name of the essay is ´Animal Rights, Violent Interventions and Affirmative Obligations´ and is well worth the peruse.

Injustice, Texas Style

Bridget Crawford 

 NPR reports here on the shooting of 51 buffaloes who wandered from one Texas ranch onto another.  NPR reporter Wade Goodwyn missed the irony in a statement by the owner of the ranch whence the buffaloes roamed: “Slaughtering animals, to me, and I think the state feels the same way — in fact I know the governor’s office does — is a terrible injustice,” according to the ranch owner Wayne Kirk.  But in NPR’s own words, Kirk’s ranch “is primarily a hunting property, and even when they’re on the right side of their fence, buffaloes are there to be killed.” 

 Ummmm…so slaughtering animals is okay as long as someone pays Mr. Kirk for the privilege of doing so?

Dangerous Dog Ordinances Can Be Vicious and Dangerous – Like People

Bruce Wagman

Over the years I have been practicing I have probably handled a dozen cases in which I was hired by the owner-guardians of a dog who had bitten someone, whether that someone was a person or another dog or cat.  These cases seem to be getting more common these days, but that is just an anecdotal observation and it may simply be that I am seeing more of them because I have done some and people look for someone who has experience with them. 

For whatever reason I am seeing them, I can say that I like working for the dangerous dogs.  There are a number of aspects of these matters that make this so.  First, the cases always start off with my putative client (the dog) being designated as either “dangerous” or “vicious” under the applicable local ordinance, and being sentenced to death.  The part I like is the immediate challenge of starting with an adverse and unjust ruling and having the strong motivation to try to overturn it; and as a lawyer fighting for animal protection, I am accustomed to being the underhuman and taking on those types of conflicts.  Second, and maybe most exciting, is the potential payoff for all involved.  That is, if we win, a life is truly saved – and one I can meet and pet.  The dog is always loved, or the humans would not be paying a lawyer to try to save her.  And in most cases, the dog is not guilty of anything but a single transgression; in other words, these cases do not usually involve multiple offenders, but dogs who have had one or two incidents that have led them to be determined fit to die by our society’s summary dismissal of animal life.  The cases involve innocents and (usually) errors or aberrations that certainly do not deserve death.  Third, the cases are “fun” from a litigator’s point of view because they are quick mini-trials without the restrictions of the rules of evidence or formalized procedure.  (This has its downside too, of course.)  So they are good practice for young lawyers, and a pleasant exercise for seasoned litigators.  Fourth, the cases are usually relatively self-contained and time-limited.  In most situations, the hearing resolves the issue to the extent that the human clients are satisfied.  The time between the designation of the dog and the hearing is usually less than a month, and the decision is usually delivered shortly thereafter.  It is true that these cases have the potential to last for years, if they leave the administrative process and go through the courts, but that is the rare one.    Continue reading

RIP: Stewart Udall

David Cassuto

Stewart Udall has died.  Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Kennedy & Johnson, congressman from Arizona, and architect of many the nation’s most powerful environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, Wilderness Act, and others, Udall was a visionary and a politician — a combination rarely seen then or since. 

Udall’s 1963 book, The Quiet Crisis, helped launch and continues to inspire the environmental movement.  In his later years, he sued the government on behalf of those exposed to radiation from nuclear testing and uranium mining.  Udall’s efforts led to the passage of the Radiation Exposure Safety Act.  Many of his family, including his son Tom and brother Mo, serve or have served the nation in Congress. 

Read a full obit of this extraordinary man here.

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