A Win For Free Speech Is Not A Win For Animals

Calli Norman

On January 9th, 2019 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa held the State’s ag-gag law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. Iowa’s “Agricultural Production Facility Fraud”prohibits obtaining access to agricultural facilities under “false pretenses”. This includes making false statements or misrepresentations in employment agreements with agricultural facilities. The law was fueled by the agricultural industry’s concern for its security and reputation. According to The Associated Press, “no undercover investigations had taken place in Iowa since the law was approved”.

Animal activists, such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund, view this ruling as a “win for free speech and animal protection”. The State has since filed an appeal, seeking to protect the existing privacy and property rights. I think both parties miss the mark. How does this ruling actually further animal interests? To what extent is a judgment that protects lying a victory?

There are four Federal statutes that protect animal interests: the Animal Welfare Act, the Continue reading

How the 2018 Midterm Election Resulted in Animal Law Victories

Caitlin Ens

The U.S. 2018 midterm election did more than just change the majority party in the House of Representatives. Some local voters brought about significant changes in their state’s animal welfare laws. In California and Florida, two animal rights amendments were passed that, respectively, prohibit dog racing and establish minimum space requirements for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens. These laws create standards for other states to follow in future elections.

Florida passed Amendment 13 and became the 41st state to ban commercial dog racing. Amendment 13 states that by the end of 2020, commercial dog racing will be completely outlawed. In states that still allow dog racing, thousands of greyhounds are bred annually to
Continue reading

Grants for Empirical Animal Work

David Cassuto

From the email:

Dear All,

This is to let you know that the UCLA Animal Law and Policy Small Grants Program is accepting applications from now until December 1. If you would like more information and to see the projects funded during the first cycle, please go to https://law.ucla.edu/centers/social-policy/animal-law-grants-program/about/. You will see a tab at the top for “Funded Projects.” There are other tabs with information for those interested in applying for a small grant.

Proposals about any type of empirical research projects that advance animal law and policy are welcome, but missing so far have been topics about animal research, pest control, and other arguably under-prioritized animals. Of greatest importance in the proposal review, however, is the strength of the proposed empirical research methodology for generating reliable answers to the research questions posed in the proposal. Accordingly, applicants’ description of their proposed methodology is particularly valuable to those of us reviewing the proposals.

I hope that you will consider applying for funds to conduct empirical research and that you will pass on the information about the UCLA Animal Law and Policy Small Grants Program to anyone who might be interested. Please note that we do not fund any type of research that involves living animals, and the research must be based at an American institution of higher education.

Sincerely,
Taimie Bryant

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.

“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