Some Preliminary Steps Toward Regulating Nonpoint Source Pollution

David Cassuto

At long last, EPA is taking steps (or beginning to take them) toward addressing nonpoint source pollution of the nation’s waters.  Nonpoint sources are pretty much all those pollution sources that cannot be traced to the end of a pipe.  The Clean Water Act is far less concerned with nonpoint sources than with point sources, a historical exclusion that has much to do with the fact that when the Clean Water Act was enacted, point sources were low-hanging fruit from a regulatory perspective, and were also the primary polluter of the nation’s waters.  The CWA has done a great deal to decrease point source pollution and the nation’s waters fare much the better for it.  However, over the last 4 decades, nonpoint source pollution has greatly increased in the absence of meaningful regulatory oversight.              Continue reading

Powerful Final Day at the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights

Elizabeth Bennett

The last day of the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights began with a heartfelt lecture by conference organizer Heron Santana on climate change and animal rights. Professor Santana spoke about the fact that citizens of Brazil are beginning to eat more meat and the country exports an increasing amount of live animals, as they used to do with slaves.

He also discussed the health risks associated with eating meat and our ability to decrease meat production by decreasing consumption.  He explained that there is a wall of prejudice against other species that we must break down in order to abolish animal slavery.  Professor Santana concluded by stressing the importance of speaking out for animals and making changes in our daily lives to work toward an end to these violations against nonhuman animals.    Continue reading

Fresh Faced Student at Animal Law Conference in Brazil

Gloribelle Perez

Wednesday night (8.25.10), I had the honor of attending the opening reception of the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights, which was held in the first capital of Brazil—Salvador, Bahia.  From a live band to Bahia’s movers and shakers of the political arena, the opening reception was superb.  Professor Cassuto, a Pace Law School professor, spoke at the opening reception, along with numerous scholars, all of which got the conference started on a wonderful note!

Hosted by the Federal University of Bahia, yesterday (8.26.10) was the first full day of the conference.  I had a jam-packed day of speaker after brilliant speaker.  As a rising law school 3L, I have not yet found an opportunity to take an Animal Law course.  However, after just one full day at this conference, I feel like I’ve gone to the academic edge and back.  By no means am I now an animal law expert, but I’m happy to have learned a little bit about a lot of different animal law issues.  I have always been concerned about the protection of animals (and other beings that can’t speak for themselves), and I am excited to hear from the world-renowned speakers that each seem to approach the same concern from different angles.        Continue reading

Live From the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights in Brazil

Elizabeth Bennett

DAY 1 Ola from the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights.  First, I would like to say that I am very thankful that Pace Law School and the Center for Environmental Legal Studies provided me with the opportunity to attend this prestigious and world-renowned conference and for all of the conference organizers’ hard work and hospitality.  As the presentations I have attended thus far have been informative and thought-provoking for me, I will do my best to share my experience with you.

Upon arrival, a symphony was playing.  After introductions and honorariums, Professor David Cassuto of Pace Law School and Director of the Brazil-American Institute for Law and Environment (BAILE) spoke about current trends in environmental law and the animal world.  He discussed the intersection of animal and environmental law and how they often clash, despite the many common grounds upon which they merge.  He went on to discuss the legal framework for protecting animals, distinguishing between animal welfarists and animal rights activists, stating that animal welfarists wish for stronger laws, while animal rights activists believe that humans should not use animals at all.  He also pointed out that in the United States legal system, animals are property and the laws concerning animals regulate relationships between humans about animals.  He made an interesting comparison between the appropriateness of humans making laws on behalf of nonhuman animals and politicians enacting laws on our behalf without truly knowing us, what we desire, or how we would like to be protected.  This comparison comes as an interesting response to doubts about human ability and right to make laws about non-human animals when they do not completely understand what animals want or need.

Professor Cassuto also discussed whether animals can be considered “persons” under the law and how this would change the way we protect them.  This served as a great opening to the Conference, as many of the presentations that followed addressed these questions and dealt with similar issues. Continue reading

The Nuge is a Poacher

David Cassuto

Ted Nugent gets a real charge out of senseless violence against animals.  This is not news.  One need only tune in to his TV show to learn about his love of killing.  What is news is that Nugent broke the law while filming said show.  He killed underage deer using bait, both of which are illegal in California, where the show is filmed.  He was brought up on 11 charges and pled no contest to 2 in a plea deal.    Continue reading

ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee

David Cassuto

I leave for Brazil anon but did not want to depart without a plug for the ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee. It has done and continues to do an enormous amount to raise the profile and credibility of animal law within the larger legal community.  If you are a lawyer or law student, you should join.

The past chair, Joan Schaffner, is on the faculty at the George Washington Law School and did a bang-up job.  The incoming chair, Mariann Sullivan, is already having a significant impact and, among her other accomplishments (and they are many), she is one of the doyennes of the fabulous Our Hen House.

Last, the Shameless Self-Promotion Desk did not want me to leave without noting that our hero was recently appointed a Vice-Chair of the Committee.

Captive Animals, Dead People, Bad Reporting

David Cassuto

How many times have we heard the story of a captive wild animal killing someone?  This would be just another replay of the same sad and avoidable story except for a few details.  In this instance, which took place outside Cleveland, the guy who kept the unfortunate bear was not the person killed.  The victim, Brent Kandra, is a guy the WaPo refers to as the bear’s “caretaker” — someone who frequently helped the owner, Sam Mazzola, with his animals.  What animals?  A whole lot of animals — lions, tigers, bears, wolves, coyotes.  Mazzola, who had been convicted of illegally selling and transporting animals and who was also cited for illegally staging wrestling matches between bears and people, recently filed for bankruptcy.             Continue reading

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