Voiceless’ Animal Law Toolkit

David Cassuto

Voiceless, the fabulous Australian Animal Law NGO, has published its Animal Law Toolkit, a highly readable, very useful publication for anyone practicing or interested in animal law.  Get it; read it; tell your friends.

Personhood, Robots, Animals, etc.

David Cassuto

Michael Dorf, Steve Wise and I are featured extensively in this WaPo article discussing personhood in the context of artificial intelligence and the U.S. political system.

Are Lab Animals Necessary?

Raghav Patel

For centuries animals have been used for experiments in the name of science. Scientists have urged the general public that these experiments are necessary, for the advancement of medical and scientific discovery. These scientists believe that without using nonhumans, there wouldLab Animal - Monkey be no way for us to know if the drugs or research discovered, would work or be safe for human use. This argument is flawed in many respects, but none more than the fact that nonhumans simply are not humans. Many of the experiments that bring desired results on animals does not necessarily bring the same results for humans. Actually this is the case way more often than not, with a vast majority of experiments that bring desired results in animals, but resulting in either adverse or no effect on humans. This then bears the question; why do we still use animals in scientific experiments and medical research? There really isn’t a good reason based on the facts. Researches and certain companies want us to believe that these experiments are necessary for our safety, but in reality these experiments are used by companies and researchers to hedge their liability, so that if anything does actually go wrong on the humans that use their products, they can show the results from the animal Continue reading

Humane Slaughterhouses: Fact or Fiction

Jeshica Patel

A couple  of days ago, a member of Compassion Over Killing, revealed footage that he recorded during the time he worked undercover at a Quality Pork Processors Inc. plant in Minnesota. The video depicted graphic and disturbing images of how pigs are treated during the slaughter process. While the video is not for the fainted hearted, it does shed220px-Pig_in_a_bucket.jpg light on a very real issue in factory farming, and serves as a way to educate the public about what really goes on behind closed doors.

The current Federal Meat Inspection Act regulates a broad range of activities at slaughterhouses to ensure both the safety of meat and the Continue reading

To Ride Or Not To Ride

Tyson-Lord Gray

In a few months I will be celebrating my birthday and as has become the custom, this means an international trip inclusive of life changing experiences. Last year I went bungee jumping in Costa Rica, the year before that skydiving in South Africa, and the year before that hang-gliding in Brazil. This year I decided to check elephant riding in Thailand off my list however, recent discussions in my Animal Law class prompted me to reconsider my decision.

Although elephant riding appears seemingly harmless, many of these animals are tortured into submission through a process known as phajaan. Phajaan, which also means to crush, involves ripping baby elephants from their mothers and confining them in a very small space where they are unable to move. The baby elephants are then beaten into submission with clubs pierced with sharp bull-hooks.

12107750_10156244079620235_5201342773955071613_nAs a result, an animal welfare bill was introduced in Thailand in 2014 to Continue reading

Torture is (not) culture: An overview of Spanish popular festivities that include animal abuse.

Jaime Rubio Alfaro

Since the Middle Ages, in Spain there have been many popular celebrations held to mark the Day of the Virgin, of some saint or some other patron. Some of them are very known as la Tomatina and Las Fallas which don’t include any animal mistreatment, and some of them do, as the also internationally known, San Fermines.

Tortura no es culturaHowever, the Feast of San Fermin is included in a much broad concept of celebration called encierro (bull’s confination), which is widely celebrated all around the country in almost all the villages of Spain. While in the encierro there is not any physical harm to the bulls, later those bulls can be used in the corridas (Bullfighting event) of that village or, as some of the bravest (and most dangerous) bulls, can be used in other encierros of other villages, where the owners can be paid up to $20,000 per appearance.  Nevertheless, there are many Spanish festivities that include animal abuse and are not so known to people outside of Spain. And many of them are much more harrowing to animals, such as El Toro de la Vega.

So the purpose of this post is to explain why are socially and legally permitted such festivities in Spain.

First of all, it is important to understand that many of these festivals have been held for hundreds of years, so for people that Continue reading

How Hurricane Katrina Turned Pets into People

Credit: Best Friends Animal Society

Credit: Best Friends Animal Society

Nearly half the people who stayed behind during Hurricane Katrina stayed because of their pets. Helicopters and boats would come, but the rescuers largely refused to take cats and dogs. So many owners, unwilling to abandon a family member, refused to go — and many of them died. Others did leave their pets, convinced they would be able to retrieve them in a few days. But officials kept them out for weeks, leaving the animals to fend for themselves. Dogs waited on rooftops, cats clung to debris in toxic waters, and pets starved to death in barricaded homes. Even for a nation grappling with the human tragedy of Katrina, the plight of dogs and cats struck a nerve. The public flooded Congress with letters, and in 2006 the legislature — despite being bitterly divided over war, immigration, and seemingly every Continue reading

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