Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program Legislative Policy Fellowship

David Cassuto

An exciting opportunity.  Note the tight deadline:

Applications currently being accepted for the 2017-18 Legislative Policy Fellowship through November 15, 2017.

The deadline to submit applications is November 15, 2017. To apply for a Farmed Animal Law & Policy Fellowship for 2017–2018, please submit the following materials via the online application form:

  • a curriculum vitae
  • a recent publication or a writing sample (approximately 25 pages in length). All publications or writing samples should be in English.

You also will be asked to arrange for two letters of recommendation to be sent directly from your referees to the Program via our online application system by November 15, 2017.

Additional Information

Funding and Facilities

Fellows will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 per month. The Animal Law & Policy Program will pay the monthly Law School appointment fee for the duration of a Fellow’s stay at the Program, which will ensure, among other things, library access to all Harvard University libraries, access to University recreational facilities (for an additional fee), an email account at the Law School, membership in the Faculty Club, and free admission to University museums. Visiting Fellows will receive an office at the Animal Law & Policy Program or in the Harvard Law Library.

Terms of Appointment

Policy Fellowship terms are variable, from a minimum of three months to a maximum of one year. Academic Fellowship appointments typically last for two years.

Residence Requirements

With exceptions for a limited amount of personal and professional travel, Visiting Fellows are expected to be in residence at the Animal Law & Policy Program throughout the term of their appointment in order to foster an intellectual community, share ideas, and contribute to Program projects and events.

Housing

The Animal Law & Policy Program does not provide housing. No housing should be expected in University apartments or dormitory rooms, for which Harvard faculty and students have priority. Accepted fellows are encouraged to seek outside housing several months before arriving in Cambridge, preferably in person. There is information on housing on the Harvard International Office website.

Health Insurance

All visiting fellows must show proof of having adequate health insurance. Those who do not already possess such insurance can access information on obtaining Harvard Affiliate Health Insurance at the Harvard University Health Services website. A less expensive plan, available by the month, has been negotiated by Harvard’s International Office for international scholars.

Courses

Visiting Fellows may audit one course in any unit at Harvard University on a non-credit basis per semester, with permission of the instructor. There is no tuition charge for auditing courses. Visiting Fellows do not have faculty status. Appointment as a Visiting Fellow does not entitle the individual to participation in any Harvard degree program.

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“Envisioning an Animal Anti-Cruelty Agency

David Cassuto

The Shameless Self-Promotion Desk is back in business:  Herewith an article about an article by me and a former student of mine calling for the creation of federal animal protection agencies in the United States and Brazil.  You can find the original piece here.

A New & Worthy Member of the Animal Blog Community

David Cassuto

From the email:

Friends of Animals of Animals, in partnership with Professor Martha C. Nussbaum, has launched a new project: Establishing the Legal, Scientific and Philosophical Basis for A Right to Ethical Consideration for Animals. The project blog can be found here: https://friendsofanimals.org/wildlife-law-program/wildlife-law-program-blog/

About the project: Currently, the law only seeks to minimize the physical suffering or death of an animal, or loss of an animal’s habitat, when sanctioning human activity. Increasingly, however, we understand both scientifically and philosophically that our impact on animals can be more than just physical. As Martha C. Nussbaum would explain it, our current legal system fails to respect one or more of the species-specific, central capabilities: life, bodily integrity, bodily health, play, sense/imagination/thought, emotion, practical reason, affiliation, and control over one’s environment.

The right to ethical consideration we seek is a legal obligation on our governmental decision-makers to fully examine how human actions degrade the types of lives animals are trying to lead. Such a right is not based solely on our compassion or empathy for an animal, but on moral and scientific principles that we can justify by argument. Our decision-making processes must embrace our ever-expanding knowledge of how human involvement or interference with an animal diminishes one or more of that animal’s central capabilities. In other words, the reason to focus on the ethical treatment of animals is because of them, not because of us.  What we feel is neither here nor there. What matters is the suffering of the animals, and whether we feel compassion or not we are morally obligated to relieve it.

Finally, the right to ethical consideration we seek is not the granting of specific substantive rights for animals, like the right to life, freedom, etc. It is, however, a pathway to strengthening legal protections for animals, and future substantive rights. By requiring decision-makers and the public to engage in active deliberation about the human impact on an animal’s ability to live a meaningful life, societal and legal beliefs regarding the rights of non-human animals can change for the better.

Cool Job Opening! Policy Director, Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program

David Cassuto

From the email:

Policy Director – Job Description

Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program

Overview

The Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program is inviting applications for a Policy Director to develop and oversee a broad range of federal, state, and local policy projects to improve the treatment of animals by the legal system. The Animal Law & Policy Program engages with academics, students, practitioners, and decision makers to foster discourse, facilitate scholarship, develop strategic solutions, and build innovative Continue reading

Will Feds Permit Ringling to Send Endangered Cats to German Circus?

This piece originally appeared on Salon under the title “Ringling’s big cats need new homes — and they could be headed for a circus overseas”

http://www.salon.com/2017/06/11/ringlings-big-cats-need-new-homes-and-they-could-be-headed-for-a-circus-overseas/

Lacey cats

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has closed, but it still needs to find new homes for some of its animals. Ringling’s recent bid to export protected lions, tigers, and a leopard to a German circus reveals deep flaws in the way the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is being enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). All of these animals are imperiled in the wild and, as such, are supposed to be protected by the ESA. The ESA applies equally to captive and wild animals for good reason. When it was enacted, Congress recognized the connections between the exploitation of captive animals and species survival. Every day we learn more about how deep these links run, including how exhibits featuring endangered species in close contact with humans can undermine legitimate conservation efforts.

One of the primary ways the ESA aims to protect species is through strict prohibitions, including a ban on exports. As such, it is illegal for Ringling to just ship these cats off to Germany. There is a narrow exception to this prohibition, though: If an export would “enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species,” a permit can be issued. When Congress enacted this exception, it put in place myriad safeguards, underscoring that it intended to “limit substantially the number of exemptions.” The Supreme Court has likewise recognized that permits are only to be granted “in extremely narrow circumstances.”

 

 And yet, if experience is any indication, FWS will rubber-stamp Ringling’s permit to export these protected big cats. Indeed, the agency has repeatedly granted Ringling similar permits.

There’s no colorable argument to be made that exporting big cats so that they can be featured in a circus somehow “enhance[s] the[ir] propagation or survival” in the wild. While Ringling claims that such exhibits somehow raise awareness and benefit survival of the species, and even asserts that “lengthy and convincing evidence” supports this claim, no such evidence is anywhere to be found in its application, because it doesn’t exist.

To the contrary, FWS has determined that purported educational activities cannot form the basis of an ESA permit and that “no one has come forward with examples of how exhibition of living wildlife has any specific affirmative effect on survival of non-native species in the wild.” Indeed, as noted above, recent evidence indicates that such exhibits can in fact have a harmful impact on conservation. As tiger expert Dr. Ronald Tilson has written, “forcing tigers to perform in circuses has been detrimental to species conservation efforts because it gives the impression that tigers should be trained through brute strength and physical punishment. It also misleads the public into believing that tigers in the wild can’t really be so endangered if circuses are allowed to display them. . . . This exploitation . . . has actually lessened the general public’s appreciation for tigers in general and most specifically for wild tiger conservation.” Other experts have made similar observations.

Exporting these cats for circus performances not only fails to meet the threshold requirement for an ESA permit — that it help the species — it actually undermines the purposes of the ESA. Because of this, FWS shouldn’t be able to lawfully issue the permit.

Yet in recent years it has issued many permits to Ringling and others to export endangered animals for circuses under a scheme that critics have dubbed “pay-to-play.” FWS essentially allows anyone to make a donation to buy themselves out of complying with the law. This absurd policy makes the ESA’s exceptions — which, again, Congress intended only to be granted in the narrowest of circumstances — virtually meaningless, and lets the exception swallow the rule. In fact, last year the Congressional Research Service determined that “ESA permits are rarely given for their intended purpose of direct benefits to at-risk species, and instead virtually every one of the more than 1,300 ESA permits given out in the last five years involves this pay-to-play scheme.”

Ringling’s application is even worse than most, which at least propose to make a donation in exchange for the permit. Ringling brazenly tries to stretch the loophole FWS has created without authorization even further. It doesn’t even offer to make a new contribution. Instead, it seeks to justify the permit based on money that it already donated, much of it years ago — contributions that have no nexus whatsoever to the export.

Let’s hope that for once FWS won’t bend over backwards for Ringling and will instead put the interests of imperiled animals first and deny the application, as the law requires.

 

Delcianna Winders is a Harvard Animal Law & Policy Fellow and has worked on legal issues pertaining to captive wildlife for more than a decade. Follow her on Twitter at @DelciannaW

Animal Law Grants!

David Cassuto

From the email (with a huge hats off to Prof. Taimie Bryant at UCLA):

Thanks to generous funding from Mr. Bob Barker, UCLA Law School is pleased to offer the Animal Law and Policy Small Grants Program (“UCLA ALP Program”). http://law.ucla.edu/centers/social-policy/animal-law-grants-program The UCLA ALP Program exists to encourage new academic empirical research, with the goal of developing better empirical bases from which to understand, evaluate, and pursue animal law reform. Applicants from a variety of academic disciplinary backgrounds, including economics, sociology, demography, social psychology, moral psychology, medicine, plant-based nutritional science, cognitive science, law, public health, and public policy are encouraged to apply. Please note that the UCLA ALP Program does not support animal research. The UCLA ALP Program has two goals: Continue reading

Webinar on Animals as Sentient Beings

David Cassuto

From the email:

The law has recognised animals as “sentient” beings, so …

… this is how that change affects how you can use animals for
food, ​​entertainment, companionship, service animals, and research

This is your invitation to join in the ONLINE SEMINAR which shows how law’s “sentient animal” is set to change everything for society and you – again. Continue reading