Rivers, Agriculture & Climate Change

David Cassuto

I’ll be a visiting professor at  Williams College this coming semester, teaching climate change law & policy as well as environmental law at the Center for Environmental Studies.  So, climate change has very much been on my mind of late.  This is not a new thing, of course.  I’ve blogged frequently about the relationship between animal law & policy and climate change and written more extensively about it elsewhere as well.  In addition, I’ll be talking about CAFOS and climate change as part of the animal law panel  at the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) meeting this weekend.

However, I recently stumbled on a new (to me) aspect of the pernicious relationship between industrial agriculture and climate change: the denitrification of rivers.  Microbes in rivers convert nitrogen to nitrous oxide (as well as an inert gas called dinitrogen).  That nitrous oxide then makes its way into the atmosphere where it becomes a potent greenhouse gas as well as a destroyer of atmospheric ozone.  Continue reading

Going Mainstream

David Cassuto

The good news is it’s becoming less and less unusual and more and more mainstream to do what we do.  The bad news is that the need grows ever greater.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Sheriff’s deputies knocked on Roger and Sandra Jenkins’ front door in Taneytown early one Saturday in January to serve a court paper to the couple’s teenage son. Within minutes, a chaotic scene unfolded, and the family’s chocolate Labrador retriever was shot by one of the deputies and collapsed bleeding in the snow.

The dog survived, but its owners say it is permanently disabled. The couple sued, alleging reckless endangerment and infliction of emotional distress.

Their lawsuit, filed against the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department in October, is part of a growing body of case law dealing with animal issues. The rapidly evolving field of animal law is not only being shaped by court decisions and new legislation, but has become a subject for study in law school. The University of Baltimore and University of Maryland both offer seminars in animal law.

Full article available here.