Simon B. Smith on “Constance May Bienvenue: Animal Welfare Activist to Vexatious Litigant”

Simon B. Smith (Monash – Australia) has posted to SSRN his 2007 article, “Constance May Bienvenue: Animal Welfare Activist to Vexatious Litigant.”  Here is the abstract:

Constance May Bienvenu (1912-1995) was a passionate animal welfare activist. She was also the fifth person declared as a vexatious litigant by the Victorian Supreme Court (1969) and the first woman declared by the High Court (1971). In the 1960s Bienvenu led a reform group that challenged for control of a conservative RSPCA (Victoria). Though unsuccessful, there were significant consequences from the legal challenges. This article explores the passion and extraordinary determination of Bienvenu and her supporters. It traces the responses of a conservative RSPCA and its legal advisers struggling to maintain the status quo and notes the unintentional consequences of involving the legal system in community disputes. Finally, by tracing Bienvenu’s determination to secure substantive reform, this article demonstrates the challenge self represented activism presents to a legal system more comfortable with arcane procedures and legal form.

The full article is available here. Animal welfare activist and “vexatious litigant”? I look forward to reading learning about her by reading this piece.

-Bridget Crawford

One Response

  1. If we treated our pets the way factory farmed animals are treated you would be breaking the law. In other words one law for pets. Another for farm animals.

    You might be interested in my book ON THE MENU:ANIMAL WELFARE (website ame name!) – which tells, for the most part, a horror story, NOT imagined, but something that is happening every moment of every day. It draws attention to the animals on factory farms that never see natural light; or the seasons change; or feel the earth beneath their feet. Incarcerated in vast barns their lives are automated, unnatural, controlled as they are treated as nothing more than any other farm product and become grotesque parodies of their natural selves.

    This book describes the whole production process – from before conception to the way the animals we use for food are presented on the supermarket shelves: the chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese; the laying hens, quail and the pheasants reared for sport; the pigs and lambs; the dairy cattle, beef cattle and veal calves; and also the rabbits as well as the fish and shellfish.

    Published by Pen Press and available from Amazon at £8.99; from public libraries in the UK and Ireland; and also Ingrams (in the USA).

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