PETA’s Use of Women

PETA takes a lot of grief from the animal advocacy community and from feminists for its use of naked or sparsely clad women in its public events.  This blogger offers a contrasting view.  For my part, though I find the controversy surrounding PETA’s methods interesting and worth having, I worry that the resulting schisms in the animal advocacy community undermine the movement.

–David Cassuto

Publishing Opportunity for Non-fiction Animal Prose

from the email…
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.
Essays must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with a significant element of research or information, and reach for some universal or deeper meaning in personal experiences. We’re looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice.
Creative Nonfiction editors will award one $1000 prize for Best Essay and one $500 prize for runner-up.
Guidelines: Essays must be: unpublished, 5,000 words or less, postmarked by November 13, 2009, and clearly marked “Animals” on both the essay and the outside of the envelope. There is a $20 reading fee (or send a reading fee of $25 to include a 4 issue CNF subscription); multiple entries are welcome ($20/essay) as are entries from outside the U.S. (though subscription shipping costs do apply). Please send manuscript, accompanied by a cover letter with complete contact information, SASE and payment to:
Creative Nonfiction
Attn: Animals
5501 Walnut Street, Suite 202
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Please share this announcement with anyone who might be interested in submitting work. Please email any questions to

Bestiality and the Sex Offender Registry

If you were wondering whether judges in Kansas were paid enough, the answer is “NO.”    Judges in Kansas have to sometimes decide whether a person caught en flagrante with his ex-girlfriend’s dog (after sneaking into her garage) should have to register as a sex offender.  (Apparently so.)  That type of work, in my humble opinion, defies a compensatory dollar figure.

For the full, unadulterated skinny on this, read State v. Coman, 2009 WL 2633688 (August 28, 2009).  For a great analysis of the opinion and the legal morass through which the court must wade, visit Leonard Link.

H/t to Bridget Crawford for the heads up.

–David Cassuto

Ted Kennedy & Animals

Ted Kennedy’s death is a great loss for all kinds of reasons but not much of the eulogizing has focused on his animal advocacy.  This piece does a nice job of summarizing the Senator’s long-time devotion to animal causes — from animal fighting, to factory farming, to seal hunting, he sometimes led, sometimes followed, but always fought the good fight.  Truly a public servant in the best and most honorable sense of the term.

–David Cassuto

Update on Westlaw Unfair Treatment Post – Victory for Puerto Rican Law Schools

After a conversation with University of Puerto Rico Law School Dean Aponte-Toro and Professor José Julián Alvarez, Thomson Reuters executives decided to reinstate printer services to Puerto Rican law schools. Thanks to all who helped!

Luis Chiesa

IUCN Study of Elephant Meat Trade — Consulting Opportunity

logo-iucnFrom the email — an opportunity to lead a study for the IUCN Species Survival Commission on the elephant bushmeat issue in Central Africa.   Note the looming application deadline.

The Impact of the Elephant Meat Trade in Central Africa
Call for Applications – Deadline 4 September 2009
1. Background
The IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group aims to undertake a study to improve
understanding of the elephant meat trade on elephant populations in Central Africa. The
study will elaborate on bushmeat research already undertaken throughout the region by a
number of institutions, but will focus on the African elephant. The study will examine the
dynamics, scale and impact of the elephant meat trade throughout the Central African subregion.
The study will examine the trade in elephant meat as a factor in illegal killing of
elephants, relative to the ivory trade. It will also study the linkages between multiple
resource extraction (timber, minerals) and the levels of elephant meat trade and consumption
at the site, city, and regional level. This will include a number of case studies for which new
data will be collected. Finally, the study will explore the policy implications for elephant
conservation of the elephant meat trade throughout the region and make recommendations for
further research and policy implementation.
2. Overall Objective
The objective of the study is to enhance knowledge of contemporary meat market dynamics,
patterns and trends in Central African countries by undertaking an elephant meat trade impact
3. Core Study Components
The study seeks to expose the linkages between the elephant meat trade and larger social and
economic dynamics at play, including, but not limited to: ivory trade; logging (legal and
illegal); mining; infrastructure development; global economic trends; law enforcement at the
national and international level; and community forest governance.
The study will consist of a summary study plus additional case studies identified as necessary
to contribute new data.
4. Geographical Coverage
African elephant range States of the Central African sub-region: Cameroon, Central African
Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and
5. Key Responsibilities of the Lead Consultant
 Take responsibility for the quality and timely delivery of the entire study as per the
above Terms of Reference.
 To supervise sub-contracted consultancies as regards their technical contribution to
the study and ensure high quality and timely contributions.
 Submit draft and final reports by agreed deadlines and according to the agreed
reporting format, with full bibliographic references, accreditation of all contributors,
and including appropriate validation of all the data and cases presented.
 Elicit analytical input from AfESG and other technical advisors throughout the
consultancy, and particularly prior to finalisation of the recommendations and
conclusions and ensure all the comments are incorporated in the final report
6. Deliverables
 A summary study on the impact and features of the elephant meat trade across the
Central African sub-region, integrating information from new case studies.
 A number of detailed case studies – fully edited and referenced – to be published
along with the summary study.
 An executive summary summarizing the main findings and recommendations in a
simple and communicative language.
7. Timeframe
The final study will be published in March 2011.
8. Qualifications
The lead consultant will have advanced university degrees and complementary skills in
biology, conservation or related fields and will also have considerable experience in the
Central African sub-region and with research on bushmeat. He/She will have a strong track
record of peer reviewed publication on relevant topics, and fluency in written and spoken
English and French.
9. Expressions of Interest
IUCN is asking interested persons or consultants to submit a short Letter of Interest for this
consultancy, identifying their experience in undertaking such research and his/her Curriculum
Vitae together with an indication of the daily fees. In addition, interested persons or
consultants are expected to include in the application a 2 page summary of how they will
conduct the study.
Expression of Interest should be addressed in English language to
Deadline: 4 September 2009.
The detailed Terms of Reference for this study are available on request

Westlaw Puerto Rico Unfair Treatment

Given that issues related to animal law are directly and indirectly referenced in various Thomson Reuters casebooks and hornbooks, I want to share with Animal Blawg readers a couple of e-mails that highlight a policy adopted by the legal publishing giant in charge of Westlaw and Foundation Press that seems to discriminate against students at Puerto Rico law schools.

It appears that Thomson Reuters has stopped making printers and supplies available for free to law students in Puerto Rico although it still makes these supplies available to students in mainland law schools. A University of Puerto Rico professor decided to stop assigning Thomson Reuters books as required reading materials until Thomson Reuters changes its policy. I will do the same thing and will inform Thomson Reuters of my decision. Probably some of you agree that something should be done but can’t stop making use of books and materials published by Thomson Reuters. In that case, I urge you to contact Thomson Reuters executives to share your concerns about this policy. You can contact them here:

Here’s the text of the e-mails explaining the matter in more detail:


Dear Thomson Reuters executives:

The enclosed e-mail by [a third year law student] to you is self-explanatory. In it, he objects to your discriminatory policy  to discontinue providing the printers’ service (complimentary printers and supplies), which were installed at the local Puerto Rico law school libraries. That policy, it seems, is only directed against Puerto Rican law schools. I am also informed that all efforts by our head librarian at the University of Puerto Rico Law School to have Thomson Reuters end that discriminatory policy have been rebuffed.

Since Thomson Reuters seems only to understand cost benefit analysis (in its own idiosyncratic way), let me complicate that analysis a bit. If Thomson Reuters does not immediately change its discriminatory policy to make it non discriminatory (for instance, a  cap on sheets of papers and ink, applicable to all law schools everywhere on a per student basis), I will cease using Thomson Reuters texts in my courses, and will urge all colleagues at the four Puerto Rican law schools to do likewise. I will also bring the matter up with as many colleagues as I can in United States law schools.

I teach Constitutional Law, Federal Jurisdiction and Comparative Law. In Constitutional Law I have used Foundation Press  casebooks for 28 years, usually Gunther´s (now Sullivan & Gunther), but some years I also used Cohen’s. During those 28 years I also used some version of Nowak & Rotunda’s hornbook as an additional text. My sections usually have between 60-80 students. In Federal Jurisdiction I have always used Wright’s casebook, and many times I have also assigned Wright’s hornbook as an additional text to the 30-40 students in that course. In Comparative Law, which I have taught for some seven years,  I have used Schlesinger’s casebook and Glendon’s nutshell.  I usually have some 10-15 students in that course. Also, I have taught that course four times in January at the University of Ottawa Law School, and will be teaching it again this January, Those courses usually have 15-20 students. I had already informed Ottawa that I would be using the new edition of Schlesinger (Mattei et al.) next  January, but there is ample time to change that. And, as you well know, and Aspen and  Lexis-Nexis  representatives keep reminding me, there are many satisfactory susbtitutes for all of these texts.

I am sending a copy of this e-mail to Professors Kathleen Sullivan, John Oakley and Ugo Mattei, whose casebooks I would be forced to discontinue using, if you discriminatory policy remains in effect, and to Professors Owen Fiss and Carol Rose, of the editorial board of your University Casebook Series (Foundation Press). I will also forward it to as many stateside professors of Puerto Rican descent as I can identify. Professors Angel Oquendo (Connecticut), Pedro Malavet (Florida), Ediberto Román (Florida International) and Alberto Bernabe (John Marshall) immediately come to mind. All professors at Puerto Rico law schools will also receive a copy of this e-mail.

Since moral arguments have not been enough to make Thomson Reuters reconsider its discriminatory policy, I hope that math does the trick.


Professor of Law
University of Puerto Rico School of Law


Dear All:

First let me introduce myself:  I am a CPA with 30 years of experience, 22 of these with Andersen.  I am also your client (XXXXXXX) for audit, accounting and tax solutions. In addition, I am also a third year law student at the University of Puerto Rico Law School evening program.

I am writing to you because I became aware that Westlaw made a decision at the end of the 2008-2009 school year to discontinue providing the printers’ service (complimentary printers and supplies), which were installed at the local Puerto Rico law school libraries.  As you may imagine, Westlaw, as well as Lexis-Nexis printers at the local law school libraries are mostly used by full time students who spend most of their day and night at the schools, but more importantly, by underprivileged students with limited resources who do not have at their disposal computers, printers and other technological equipment.  Although we may take for granted that nowadays everybody has a computer and a printer, our local reality in Puerto Rico is still much different than the one for US law school students.  Based on a local law school census made, it seems that the canceling of this service was limited to the Puerto Rico law schools, as contacts have been made with US law schools and so far Westlaw has not limited the printers’ service at their libraries.

I was informed that the printers and related supplies use at the Puerto Rico law schools is proportionately much higher than the one at US law schools.  Should this be the case, it would be totally consistent with the fact that Puerto Rico law school students, as opposed to US law school students, have less resources at their disposal, as mentioned before, forcing them to use your research and printers’ services at the local law school libraries.

I am fortunate enough to have at my disposal the necessary equipment and supplies at my office and home, allowing me to perform research and print any documents therefore I am not affected by your decision to discontinue the printers’ service at the Puerto Rico law school libraries.  However, it is really sad for me to be witness to many of my fellow students’ hardships trying to come up with means to pay law school and sacrificing themselves and many times their families, which for many of us would be difficult enough; now having to add another obstacle forcing them to stay even longer hours at the law school libraries to be able to perform research only through Lexis-Nexis in order to be able to print through their printers after making long waits for their few printers.

As a CPA I know that many budget cut decisions are made on a cold-blooded cost/benefit basis.  I must assume that his was the case on the decision to discontinue the printers’ service at the Puerto Rico law school libraries.  Someone must have received the budget cost pressures down the line and may have made a quick analysis arriving at the conclusion that Puerto Rico law schools were a good and inoffensive start.  However, I have been related to Thomson Reuters as a client for many years and know that there is a commitment to the markets you serve and to the human realities that may escape unnoticed behind the cold blooded budget cut figures.  This is why I am giving you notice of an unfair treatment to Puerto Rico law schools and more specifically to the many underprivileged law students who really need your support.

Please make it happen; now they are just underprivileged students, some day they might be your clients as I am!!!

Best regards.



Posted by Luis Chiesa