I blog from Cambridge, MA, where tomorrow the National Animal Law Moot Court Competition begins. I have the honor of participating as a judge – something I have done for each of the last 5 years. This year’s competition is sponsored by Lewis & Clark Law School’s Center for Animal Law Studies in collaboration with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). It is hosted (as it has been since its inception) by Harvard Law School’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF). Law schools from all over the country will participate – a testament to the growing recognition of animal law as a legal discipline as well as to student interest in the field. For the final round, Judges D. Brooks Smith of the 3rd Circuit, Susan P. Graber of the 9th Circuit and Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas will preside.
I’m delighted to report that Pace Law School will field teams in both the moot court and the closing argument competition for the second consecutive year. Go teams! My rooting interest aside (and, of course, I will not judge any rounds in which Pace is involved), this competition routinely features some of the best student advocacy it has ever been my privilege to witness. This year will no doubt produce more of the same.
The moot problem involves the applicability of the federal 28 Hour Law (requiring that no animal be transported for more than 28 hours without food, water or rest) to chickens. This is a live issue; a number of federal laws, including the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Animal Welfare Act exclude birds from their coverage and the legislative history of the 28 Hour Law offers little clarity on the matter. Another issue centers on whether the 28 Hour Law preempts state anti-cruelty statutes for animals involved in interstate transport. It’s an interesting set of issues that require advocates to grapple both with the stark, unlovely reality of the animal transport industry and with the law’s apparent indifference to same.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, factory farms | Tagged: 28 Hour Law, ALDF, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, Animal Moot, animal suffering, animal welfare, Center for Animal Law Studies, Harvard Law School, hens, industrial farming, Lewis and Clark Law School, National Animal Law Moot Court Competition, Pace Law School, SALDF |