Fits of Madness

Seth Victor

Some years it’s sick pigs.  Other years it’s food companies publicly recognizing the need for less antibiotics in meat, because that apparently isn’t good for anyone. At the moment, it’s another bout of mad cow disease sending ripples through the international markets. Most of us can remember the British outbreak in 1997, which forced many people to reconsider their dinners and actually think about what they were eating. So what happened? Well, regulations were adjusted just enough to quell the public outcry, officials swore to never let this sort of thing happen again, and the news went away as soon as the outbreak was under control. Back to business as (mostly) usual.

One species in this system is acting insanely, but I’m not convinced it’s the bovines. Anyone want to take the over/under on when and what the next outbreak in farmed animals will be?

Running in Place

Seth Victor

The more things change, the more they stay the same, so the saying goes. I’m not one to abide by that logic, especially when thinking about animal law; if everything stayed the same, all of the tireless advocacy would be for naught. The progress might  trickle at times, but it does happen.

Yet today I read two articles that, juxtaposed, forced the maxim to mind. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has announced that her office supports adding animal cruelty and dog fighting under state penal law, as opposed to the current agriculture law that houses these offenses. Long Island has been pushing for stronger law enforcement for animal abuse in recent years. Suffolk County created the nation’s first animal law abuse registry  in 2010. Moving century old laws into criminal enforcement would certainly be another step in demonstrating the seriousness of these offenses. Continue reading

U.S. v. Stevens Revisited

David Cassuto

The Shameless Self Promotion Desk is back!  The most recent issue of the Journal of Animal Ethics has a piece by me offering some thoughts about U.S. v. Stevens.  It’s titled: “United States v. Stevens: Win, Loss or Draw for Animals?”  You can download it here.  The abstract follows below:

Robert J. Stevens, proprietor of “Dogs of Velvet and Steel,” was indicted for marketing dog-fighting videos in violation of 18 U.S.C.§48, a law criminalizing visual or auditory depictions of animals being “intentionally mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed” if   Continue reading

Steven Wise to Deliver Pace Law School Dyson Lecture

David Cassuto

Oyez ya’ll!  This Thursday, April 26th, 2012 at 4 pm in the Moot Court Room at Pace Law School in White Plains, Steve Wise will speak on : “The Nonhuman Rights Project’s Struggle for Nonhuman Personhood.”

Reception to follow.

If you haven’t heard Steve speak, you should.  If you have heard him, you know you should again.

A fascinating and mind-opening time will be had by all.

Full skinny here.

Hope to see you there.

Meat by any other name would be as troubling

Seth Victor

Humans have been flirting with the idea of lab-grown, or in vitro meat for a while. We’ve commented about it previously here. PETA has a standing offer of a $1 million monetary incentive for the first successful synthetic meat that can find its way to supermarket shelves. Yesterday, FT Magazine ran a feature by William Little about a lab in the Netherlands that is poised to take the big step between the laboratory and the cash register, though that step is still years away.

As usual, many of the problems surrounding this concept have been revealed through humor. Thank you, Mr. Colbert. But it isn’t the public’s perception that I worried about as I read Mr. Little’s article. It’s the viability of this process. I’ve read articles touting the benefits of lab meat, including reduced pollution and less consumption of natural resources, if the process is profitable. I’m not arguing that replacing the CAFO system we currently employ for our meals isn’t admirable. I just question whether this is the way to do it, and if we aren’t just creating a new monster.

Continue reading

The Men Who Prune Goats

peta2.com-click on image

Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations

The Coast Guard motto is Sempre Paratus, “always ready.” We can rest assured that, when the need arises, they will indeed be ready to clip the legs off living goats using tree branch trimmers. They’ve apparently undergone rigorous training in Virginia to perform this very act.

A whistleblower caught the heinous deed on video and PETA released it. The Coast Guard is defending the use of live animals in combat medical training, saying,

“Animals used in trauma training are supported and monitored by well-trained, experienced veterinary staff to ensure that appropriate anesthesia and analgesia prevent them from experiencing pain or distress.” Continue reading

Titanic commemorations bring on sinking feeling for ducks and geese

Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations

Who’da thunk that commemorative events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic would cause an uptick in the demand for pate de foie gras, but that’s the sad truth. You just can’t escape cruelty, and the intervention of 100 years hasn’t brought on the evolution of enlightenment. Seems that every place from my blue-collar Hoosier hometown (pop. 32,400) to New York City’s St. Regis hotel to a Hong Kong establishment is recreating the last meal served on the doomed ship. “The idea is to recreate the ambience on the ship,” said the chef at Hong Kong’s Hullett House. “It’s for people who want to be somewhere else.” Continue reading

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