Cap and Trade for Animals?

David Cassuto

A journey outside the box of animal welfare law brings us to this article, ” An Introduction to Cap and Trade for Animal Welfare,” by Alan Nemeth, in the Journal of Animal and Environmental Law.   The article is about just what the title says.  Nemeth is an adjunct professor  at the Washington College of Law and the founder and first chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Section on Animal Law.

Here’s a teaser from the introduction:

On June 26, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2454, which includes a straightforward concept and tool intended to reduce pollution, that of cap and trade.  Thinking outside of the proverbial box, could a market‐based approach such as cap and trade be successfully used to improve animal welfare throughout the United States and across the various industries that use animals? 

This article will explore that very question by focusing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) publication, Tools of the Trade: A Guide to Designing and Operating a Cap and Trade Program for Pollution Control (Tools of the Trade).  The stated purpose of Tools of the Trade is to serve “as a reference for policy‐makers and regulators considering cap and trade as a policy tool to control pollution.  It is intended to be sufficiently generic to apply to various pollutants and environmental concerns; however, it emphasizes cap and trade to control emissions produced from stationary source combustion.” This article will make use of the generic nature of this publication to explore whether the concern for animal welfare can legitimately be substituted for the concern for the environment.  Specifically, can the argument be made that cap and trade, when properly implemented, could serve to improve the lives of animals?

This article will not attempt to craft an animal welfare cap and trade bill. After all, H.R. 2454 is over 1400 pages long. What this article will do, however, is lay out the arguments and start the discussion as to whether animal welfare can be positively impacted by the implementation of an animal welfare cap and trade program.

Whatever your views, it’s worth a read.

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