Dowd on Palin

David Cassuto

Maureen Dowd on Palin’s Reality (Show):

The doomed caribou gazed calmly across the Alaska tundra at Caribou Barbie.

The female caribou could easily have escaped, since it took the Wasilla huntress six shots, two rifles and some help from her dad to bag her prey. (Giving credence to Levi Johnston’s contention that she isn’t all that proficient with guns.)

But, inexplicably, the caribou just waited to get gunned down by Sarah Palin, who came across less like a pioneer woman than Private Benjamin with her camo, her French manicured nails, her cap that says (in pink) Girls And Guns, her 72-year-old father and her TLC reality show crew.

Sarah checked her freezer at home before she flew 600 miles to the Arctic, trying to justify her contention that she needs to hunt to eat. Wasn’t it already stocked with those halibuts she clubbed and gutted in an earlier show?

“My dad has taught me that if you want to have wild, organic, healthy food,” she pontificated, “you’re gonna go out there and hunt yourself and fish yourself and you’re gonna fill up your freezer.”

Does Palin really think the average housewife in Ohio who can’t pay her bills is going to load up on ammo, board two different planes, camp out for two nights with a film crew and shoot a caribou so she can feed her family organic food?

It’s amazing that Palin patronized Neiman Marcus during the campaign. Couldn’t she have spun cloth to sew her own clothes?

Hunting seems more sporting with birds — at least they have a better chance to get away. Unless the hunter is Dick Cheney, who would shoot pheasants that were pen-raised and released from a net to make slaughtering them easier.            Continue reading

Bob Barker Named Honorary Fellow of Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics

David Cassuto

From the email: A richly deserved honor for Bob Barker:

BOB BARKER RECEIVES ACADEMIC HONOUR

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics has selected multi Emmy award winning television personality, philanthropist, and educational pioneer, Bob Barker, as its sixth Honorary Fellow. The award is given to outstanding individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the protection of animals.

The Centre is an international academy of scholars pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through academic research, teaching, and publication. It is the first Centre of its kind in the world and has already established a new book series on animal ethics (with Palgrave Macmillan) and is shortly to launch a new Journal of Animal Ethics with the University of Illinois Press.

Barker has pioneered the teaching of animal law in the United States by generously endowing America’s top law schools including Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Northwestern, Duke, Georgetown, Virginia and Columbia. He endowed a chair in animal rights at Drury University (his own alma mater) in 2008. These endowments have enabled for the first time hundreds of university students to study animal law and ethics.        Continue reading

Animal Cruelty and the Courts: Recent Cases

Gillian Lyons

Being an all purpose animal law blog, it seems appropriate to give our readers a rundown of some recent key jurisprudence dealing with cruelty towards domestic animals.  These are a few cruelty related cases decided by state courts in the last three months.

Sullivan v. Commonwealth, 2010 WL 4352715 (Va. Nov. 4, 2010):  In a recent decision, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld a misdemeanor cruelty conviction against a president of a horse rescue organization.  The charge against defendant was based on her failure to provide necessary emergency veterinary treatment.  Defendant claimed she was unaware of the horse’s grave condition, but expert testimony led the court to believe the condition was not only obvious for at least 48 hours before the horse’s death, but readily observable for weeks prior.  The court thus affirmed the trial court which had found the Defendant guilty and sentenced her to twelve months in jail, with six months suspended on conditions of good behavior and “no possession of horses” for 24 months.

Eckhart v. Department of Agriculture, 2010 WL 4596316 (Pa. Cmwlth. Nov. 15, 2010):  The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently issued a decision upholding almost $170,000 in administrative penalties, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, against a former kennel operator.  Petitioner, former operator of “Almost Heaven Kennels,” had sought renewal permits from the Department’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement to operate kennels within the state. Both permits were rejected by the Department based on previous and pending animal cruelty conviction charges.  In response to Petitioner’s renewal request, the Department issued a Refusal Order demanding that Petitioner acquire no additional dogs, and that he cease and desist operating the kennel.  For Petitioner’s failure to abide by the order, he was charged almost 170,000 in penalties.  Petitioner appealed the penalties as excessive under the Eighth Amendment, but the Commonwealth Court disagreed with this argument and affirmed the penalties as reasonable.            Continue reading

Finding the Factory Farms

David Cassuto

We’re often told (because it’s true) that 10 billion animals are killed for food in this country every year.  The implications of that number for climate change, water and air pollution, and animal suffering are well-documented and appalling.  But most of us have never seen a factory farm.  Agribusiness counts on the “out of sight, out of mind” effect to keep the population quiescent and, for the most part, the strategy works.

So where are those 10 billion animals?  Continue reading