Settlement Provides Whales Protection from Naval Sonar Operations

Charles T. Jordan

A settlement has been reached that will provide whales and dolphins some peace and quiet in the waters around Hawaii and Southern California. The US Navy, on September 14, agreed to curb its use of sonar in these waters in order to prevent harming whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals.

Studies have shMap 1 Cali own that whales and dolphins use their ears to navigate and survive in their habitat. However, this has gotten more difficult due to the immense quantities of noise in our waters. One particularly devastating source of noise is sonar. Vessels use sonar to detect dangers in the water to prevent collision. Sonar systems send out a high pitched and far ranging sound waves which have been shown to be harmful to marine mammals. The Navy, in its own five year Pacific weapons testing and training plan, estimated that marine mammals would be effected nearly 9.6 million times during high-intensity sonar exercises and weapons detonations. Injuries to the animals include ruptured eardrums and temporary hearing loss which in turn affects the animal’s normal behavior patterns; resulting in stranding, habitat avoidance and abandonment, and even death.Map 2 Hawaii

For many years a number of environmental groups (including the NRDC, Earthjustice, and Greenpeace) have been fighting the Navy and National Marine Fisheries Service (NFMS) in order to protect marine mammals from sonar interferences. Most recently in Conservation Council for Hawaii v. National Marine Fisheries Service, the plaintiffs sued NFMS to enforce the Navy’s five year training and testing plan in Hawaii and Southern California. On September 14 a settlement was reached, in which the Navy agreed to limit the use of sonar in the waters. These limits include; maintaining safe distances from mammals, limited number of sonar and weapon training and testing within certain areas near southern California (map 1), and prohibiting sonar and weapon training and testing in areas near Hawaii (map 2).

While this settlement represents a significant win for these marine mammals, and will certain do a lot to insure their survival, Continue reading

Animal Law CLE Opportunity

David Cassuto

Some farm animal-related CLE from the good folks at the ABA.  Note the intriguing speaker lineup.

Farmed Animal Welfare and Consumer Labeling Issues

To Register:

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Increasingly, consumers concerned about the welfare of farm animals, and related health, food safety, and environmental issues, are seeking to purchase animal-derived foods that are labeled or advertised in a way that provides information regarding the treatment of the animals. Can this give rise to liability when those labels are out of sync with consumer perceptions?

Our panel of attorneys, professors and experts in the field will discuss:

Commercial speech and the role of liability for false advertising under Federal and State law in the labeling of food products.    Continue reading

ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee

David Cassuto

I leave for Brazil anon but did not want to depart without a plug for the ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee. It has done and continues to do an enormous amount to raise the profile and credibility of animal law within the larger legal community.  If you are a lawyer or law student, you should join.

The past chair, Joan Schaffner, is on the faculty at the George Washington Law School and did a bang-up job.  The incoming chair, Mariann Sullivan, is already having a significant impact and, among her other accomplishments (and they are many), she is one of the doyennes of the fabulous Our Hen House.

Last, the Shameless Self-Promotion Desk did not want me to leave without noting that our hero was recently appointed a Vice-Chair of the Committee.

ABA TIPS Animal Law Committee News

David Cassuto

Not a lot of blogging from our hero for the next week or so as I am hosting my Pace Law School comparative environmental law class and we are travelling a lot (including to the Amazon).  However, good work is being done and you can read about some of it in the ABA TIPS Animal Law Committee Newsletter here.  Kudos to Chair Joan Schaffner and all the other hard-working folk on the committee.

ABA-TIPS Event in Chicago

From the email:

ABA-TIPS Humane Education Project – Chicago

Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART), the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), and Northwestern Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter are pleased to invite you to a free training workshop for the Humane Education Project of the American Bar Association’s TIPS Animal Law Committee. The primary objective of the Humane Education Project is to cultivate compassion and empathy in our youth toward animals and foster respect for the environment. For additional information on the program, please see below.

Continue reading


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