Money Talks When Animals and (Some) People Cannot

Bridget Crawford

 The New York Times reported earlier this week  (here) on state legislation under consideration in three jurisdictions.  The proposed laws would allow courts to prohibit animal abusers from having pets in the future.  According to the NYT, 27 states now have similar laws. 

 Animal lawyers and law scholars long have acknowledged the connection between animal abuse and violence against women.  For recent scholarship, see, e.g., Caroline Anne Forell, Using a Jury of Her Peers to Teach About the Connection between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse, 15 Animal L. Rev. 53 (2008).  The NYT article leads with a statement claiming that proposed legislation is “[r]esponding to growing evidence that people who abuse animals often go on to attack humans.”  But the article makes more of the cost to state and local governments of caring for abused animals that are rescued.  The article cites $1.2 million in expenses by Franklin County, Ohio officials caring for 170 rescued dogs.  A Michigan county paid $37,000 in clean-up costs when dead animals were found in a hoarders home.

 This leaves one with the impression that the least vulnerable among us get legal protection only when its absence becomes too expensive for the state. A society or government that listens only when money talks does not adequately respond to those with the greatest needs.

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Never Say Never: Bikers and Puppies, a good mix.

Gillian Lyons

bio_batsoThe other day I received an email from a family friend who had recently discovered a new National Geographic show that focuses itself around the rescue group Rescue Ink. Rescue Ink is, according to its website, “a rescue group unlike any you’ve seen before: a bunch of tattooed, motorcycle-riding tough guys who have joined together to fight animal cruelty.” My family friend wanted to know how I felt about the show- she thought it was a hilarious new idea.

New idea? I was perplexed by this statement at first- what’s so new about a Rescue Group? But as I thought about it, I realized what she meant. Any practicing vegetarian, vegan or animal welfarist will tell you that they’ve come across people who have teased them about their beliefs and practices. Why is this? Perhaps it’s because, in a lot of ways, the general public has a picture of people who place animal rights high on their list of priorities as emotional, wimpy and quite frankly- silly.

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