Registration Now Open for Animal Welfare Act at 50 Conference at Harvard Law School

The Animal Law & Policy Program (ALPP) at Harvard Law School is pleased to announce that registration is now open for The Animal Welfare Act at Fifty.  The AWA was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. The most comprehensive federal animal protection law, the AWA regulates more than one million animals at more than 15,000 locations across the United States. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Act, this conference, to be held December 2-3, will convene scholars, government officials, representatives from non-governmental organizations, and others to assess the first fifty years of the AWA and consider recommendations for the future.

Space is limited, so please make sure to register early to ensure your spot. Registration includes plant-based meals.

REGISTER

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For a list of presenters and co-sponsors, please see the ALPP website conference page.

USDA facilitates animal suffering at Cricket Hollow Zoo

Delcianna J. Winders, Academic Fellow, Animal Law & Policy Program, Harvard Law School

This piece originally appeared in the Des Moines Register

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has again renewed the license that chronic animal welfare violator Cricket Hollow Zoo, in Manchester, needs to operate. The agency renewed this license despite recently documenting numerous violations and, indeed, documenting nearly 100 violations over the past three years. The agency renewed this license just months after a judge held that Cricket Hollow was likely to cause serious death or injury to animals. The agency renewed this license despite a pending enforcement action. The agency is complicit in Cricket Hollow’s abuse and neglect of dozens of animals.

CHZ primate
©Tracey Kuehl

To understand the conditions at Cricket Hollow that the Department of Agriculture allows to continue by its re-licensing, consider the following violations, documented by the agency on one day:

  • Various species were held with no ventilation and “a strong, foul odor of fecal waste and ammonia”;
  • No plan existed to address the distress of a baboon who paced incessantly and “repeatedly tossed his head back,” both “abnormal behaviors” indicative of distress;
  • Multiple animal enclosures “were severely muddy with large areas of standing water,” forcing numerous to stand in water and/or thick mud, some of whom had “mud/wet fur extending up the entire length of their legs”;
  • Numerous animals were confined with excessive flies and built-up waste.

Automatic license renewals also endanger humans. Without licenses, facilities couldn’t exhibit animals, and many of the violations put the public at risk. Cricket Hollow has repeatedly been cited for violations related to public endangerment, including holding dangerous animals like lions, bears and baboons in structurally unsound cages that could allow escape. One of Cricket Hollow’s owners was flown to a hospital after being attacked by a tiger and suffering lacerations to his head and torso.

Years ago, the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General flagged automatic license renewal as a serious problem causing increased animal suffering and undermining the Animal Welfare Act’s purposes. In response to the Inspector General’s plea that it reform its licensing practices, the agency claimed that it was legally required to automatically renew licenses.

Developments in the law leave no question that the Department of Agriculture is not required to automatically renew licenses, and that it can condition renewal on compliance. Numerous federal courts have held that the Animal Welfare Act can be read to require compliance with the law before renewal.

Still, the agency clings to an outmoded model of licensing. While many agencies have adopted efficient, informal procedures for licensing, the Department of Agriculture continues to give full, trial-type hearings for every licensing and other Animal Welfare Act decision. This slow, antiquated approach wastes resources and results in serious delays that prolong animal suffering.

In August the Animal Welfare Act will turn 50, and it’s past time for the agency to heed calls to stop facilitating violations of the law and animal suffering through automatic license renewal.

Animal Law Clinic at Michigan State

David Cassuto

From the email:

Animal Welfare Clinic

(for release 7 July, 2016)

 Michigan State University College of Law invites applications for the Director position in its newly created Animal Welfare Clinic.

 MSU’s Animal Welfare Clinic will provide opportunities for students to learn the practice of law in a well-supervised and academically rigorous program.  The direct representation of clients is the core of the students’ experience in the clinic, and the clinic seeks to maintain a diverse and challenging docket.  With a core focus on animal law content, the clinic will select cases with attention to pedagogical concerns, community need, and the need to provide students with opportunities to engage as attorneys in a variety of contexts. This clinic will service individual clients with a variety of individual animal legal issues as well as clients who raise public policy questions about the use of animals in our society. The Clinic will seek out cases which will use the courts to enhance the welfare of animals beyond present practices. The Director will be expected to be an active member of a major University with a diverse set of players with animal related interests. Additionally, it is expected that the individual will coordinate with national organizations and seek to provide leadership on a national level.

For all aspects of the Clinic, the Clinical Professor will work in coordination with Animal Law Program of the College, directed by Professor David Favre and the Associate Dean for Experiential Education, David Thronson, who will help create the program of the clinic.  The Clinic Director will receive an annual salary commensurate with their experience, together with generous benefits. This will be a clinical track appointment starting with the title of Assistant Clinical Professor.  Continue reading

Santa Cruz Biotech fine too little, too late

Delcianna J. Winders, Academic Fellow, Animal Law & Policy Program, Harvard Law School

This piece originally appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently levied the largest fine in the history of the Animal Welfare Act, which will turn 50 this summer. In an unprecedented settlement agreement, Santa Cruz Biotechnology agreed to $3.5 million in penalties and to surrender its Animal Welfare Act license.

Animal protection groups have lauded the settlement, and, to be sure, getting this chronic animal welfare violator out of the business is huge. But it is also too little, too late.

While $3.5 million is nothing to scoff at, it is less than 1 percent of the more than $20 billion in potential fines Santa Cruz Biotech faced. And the Department of Agriculture made itself complicit in untold animal suffering when, year after year, it renewed the company’s Animal Welfare Act license despite knowing of chronic egregious violations.

As one of the world’s largest suppliers of antibodies — an industry valued at more than $80 billion — Santa Cruz Biotech is big business. The company has profited immensely from the suffering it has illegally inflicted on animals including routinely failing to provide minimally sufficient veterinary care to sick and injured animals. Continue reading

Will new tiger protections go far enough?

Delcianna J. Winders, Academic Fellow, Animal Law & Policy Program, Harvard Law School

[This piece originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle.]

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With more tigers in American backyards, basements and bathrooms than the wild, it’s worth pausing on Endangered Species Day to consider whether new federal protections for tigers are enough.

On May 6, just days after a tiger that had apparently been used for photo-ops in Florida was found roaming the streets of Conroe following last month’s floods, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed a loophole in its Endangered Species Act regulations. After nearly two decades of looking the other way while hundreds of captive tigers are trafficked in the United States every year, the agency began treating tigers the same as other endangered wildlife.

But the agency’s permitting policies may critically limit the impact of this change.

To protect imperiled species like tigers, the Endangered Species Act prohibits a host of activities, including importing, exporting, selling, killing, harming, harassing and wounding protected wildlife, whether captive or wild. Continue reading

Wolverines: Quest to protect magnificent mustelids continues

www.usnews

Photo: Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposures.com via AP

Kathleen Stachowski   Other Nations

News flash: Climate change imperils wolverines and Feds must act! That’s the recent headline from ABC news, reporting on court proceedings in Missoula, Montana. On Monday, April 4th, “U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ordered wildlife officials to act as quickly as possible to protect the species as it becomes vulnerable to a warming planet.”

Cue the climate change deniers and those who don’t know much of anything about wolverines: “Wolverines are tough animals. I really don’t think ‘climate change’ is anything they can’t handle,” said one commenter at the Missoulian Facebook page.“There is no evidence suggesting that wolverines will not adapt sufficiently to diminished late spring snow pack (assuming there is any) to maintain viability,” wrote Wyoming governor Matt Mead back in May of 2013 (in the Northern Rockies, Montana and Idaho also opposed listing). But snow joke–snow matters. Wolverines are obligate snow denners who require remote, deep, and usually high elevations snow fields that persist well into spring. This is where natal and maternal dens enable them to birth and raise their young–in other words, enable them to surviveContinue reading

International Animal Law News

David Cassuto

From the email:

[T]his email is being sent to you to update you with some of the key news and events of the last few months that have been posted on the website of International Animal Law.

ANIMALS, WELFARE AND THE LAW

Animals, welfare and the law is an essential book for all those that have direct and indirect dealings/interests with animals. It’s now the course book for a couple of online courses including Vet Scholar and the Global Animal Welfare Authority.

Remember, the format of the book is intentionally designed to be thought provoking and interactive. For example, there are questions at the front of the book, and at the end of each chapter, that assist readers in examining their own knowledge (and attitudes) concerning animal welfare and the rules that currently govern it. Additionally, all proceeds from the sale of the book go to the registered charity Animal Welfare Law Matters.

NEWS PICKS

I am always grateful to those who continue to contribute to the array of topics, articles and news of interest on the website of International Animal Law (“IAL”). A few picks shown on IAL over the last few months include:

  1. A new International Research Consortium for Animal Health (IRC) has been created to coordinate global research and ultimately lead to new methods of controlling animal diseases. Given the competing attitudes, agendas and interests between different stakeholders on many of the issues involving animals and the welfare of animals and people, it is encouraging to see continued efforts towards harmonisation in the international market place.
  2. On the subject of initiatives which seek to implement consistency on issues of animal welfare internationally, a proposed model of animal welfare has been published. Its authors propose that can be used as a guide and information source for countries seeking to introduce or improve their animal welfare legislation.
  3. Do you know how enforcement actually works? For example, what are the criteria for determining whether or not a prosecution proceeds. These considerations were raised following notification of a complaint against the SPCA.
  4. And do you recall seeing the public response and outcry at the shooting of a lion organised by trophy hunting safari operations in South Africa last year? Change is fostered when public opinion is supported by commercial decisions that have an economic impact, so the cancellation of a hunting expo by the Holiday Inn is interesting to note. It also raises questions about how many of the other voices that criticised the slaying of the lion and wider trophy hunting safari operations, have implemented similar initiatives for change?
  5. Opinions regarding the use of animals for human use obviously vary. The Greyhound racing industry is one of the animal use activities that has come under the spotlight in recent times, and the imprisonment of Greyhound trainers in Australia is a reminder of how far the law has progressed in that people can and to go to prison for animal welfare offences.

Continue reading

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