A Goat in Sheep’s Clothing

Kate Blacker

The city of Euless, Texas outlaws killing four-legged animals.  Santeria priest Jose Merced was personally informed about this rule back in 2006 when police knocked on his door and prohibited him from ritually sacrificing a goat.

Speaking as an animal lover and as a vegan, I think this story sounds pretty good.  But there’s more.

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“Vegetarian” & “Vegan”: How to Define A Cause

Katie Hance

How would you define a “vegetarian”?  A “vegan”?  Animal rights scholars have not collectively provided clear definitions for these terms.  I believe that it hurts the vegetarian and vegan advocacy efforts that these causes are not clearly defined.

For example, Peter Singer who advocates for vegetarianism describes avoiding eating meat or fish.  Tom Regan describes vegetarianism embodying the belief that it is wrong to eat meat.  Yet, Gary Francione, a vegan advocate, describes a “vegetarian” as basically one who does “not eat the flesh of cows, pigs, and birds, but who eats some other animal products, such as fish, dairy products and eggs” (see “The Abolition of the Property Status of Animals”).  Combining these definitions vegetarians believe it is wrong to eat meat or fish but still eat fish.  Not exactly a strong (or even logical) slogan for vegetarianism.   While there are other terms defining different degrees to which people do not consume animal products, such as pescatarian (those who do not eat meat but eat fish), lacto-ovo vegetarian (vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy) lacto-vegetarian (vegetarians who eat dairy but not eggs) and ovo-vegetarian (vegetarians who eat eggs but not dairy) none of these additional terms lead to a simple definition of “vegetarian.”

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Survey Says … You’re Being Deceived

By Delci Winders

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Meat that comes from animals who spent their entire lives in conditions like this can be labeled as “natural.”

When you see the word “natural” on a meat or poultry product, what does that mean to you? If you’re like approximately half of the likely voters surveyed by Zogby on behalf of Farm Sanctuary, you believe that meat labeled as “natural” comes from animals who were raised with free access to outdoor areas where they were able exercise and move about. And if you’re like nearly three-quarters of those surveyed, you believe that it is inappropriate for meat from animals who are kept indoors, crowded into cages and forced to stand on metal or concrete floors to be labeled as “natural.”

Based on their beliefs about what “natural” signifies, many consumers are forking over lots of money for products with this label. According to market researchers, “natural” is the leading labeling claim on new products, and according to this Chicago Tribune article, between 2007 and 2008, the natural foods market grew by 10 percent, reaching 12.9 billion dollars.

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Animal Advocacy in Bogotá, Colombia

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” (these words were made famous by Mahatma Ghandi)

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” (Mahatma Gandhi)

"Animals are My Friends and That's Why I Don't Eat Them"

Posing in Front of Message that Reads "Animals are My Friends and That's Why I Don't Eat Them"

I just got back from a criminal procedure conference held in Bogotá, Colombia. It was hosted by the Sergio Arboleda University and proved to be a huge success.  Before the conference, a couple of students of the Arboleda university showed us around town. One of the obvious stops was Bogotá’s historical district, especially the “plaza”, which is surrounded by an impressive cathedral and the buildings that host Colombia’s legislature and Supreme and Constitutional Courts.

It turns out that we arrived at the plaza a couple of hours after a big pro animal welfare demonstration had taken place. The demonstrators wrote  messages on the “plaza” floor. I’m including a couple of pictures. If you want to learn more about the demonstration, you can read about it here (in Spanish).

Luis Chiesa

Conservation Groups Sue EPA Over Prairie Dog Poison

Jessica Morowitz           

On September 23, Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon Kansas filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., against the EPA for its decision to register pesticides that kill prairie dogs.  The pesticides at issue are chlorophacinone and diphacinone, found in the products Rozol and Kaput-D.  The lawsuit alleges that by registering the use of these pesticides, the EPA is violating several federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act.  The full complaint can be found here.  The suit also alleges that the EPA failed to heed warnings from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which recommended that registrations of the chemicals be disapproved or rescinded due to their known and potential impacts to wildlife. 

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You Would Never Raise Your Voice to Your Mother…

 Sandra Mekita

            Walking along a crowded Boston street, you can see people stopping abruptly in front of you – if you did not run into them first – glaring at the spectacle across the street in front of a McDonalds. There are five people with signs and bullhorns surrounding a person in a beakless chicken suit and another in a bloody cow suit. PETA was staging a demonstration in front of a McDonalds protesting their animal farming practices. Although this scene draw attention for a brief moment while people we passing buy, I never heard anything about it the next day, or any day following. There was no staying power in their message, in fact, I went into a McDonalds just days later…

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on U.S. v. Stevens

David Cassuto

The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in U.S. v. Stevens, wherein the the federal law banning trafficking in illegal depictions of animal cruelty has been ruled unconstitutional by the Third Circuit.  The issues underlying this First Amendment case are complex and multi-layered (see posts here ) and there is much more to say.  Among the issues the Court faces are whether the law unconstitutionally constrains protected speech solely on a content-based basis and also whether animal cruelty rises to the level of a compelling state interest that justifies overriding the presumption in favor of free speech.

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