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

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.

Totally Excellent Conference in Australia: Center for Compassionate Conservation, November 2017

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

BU Law Review Symposium on “Beating Hearts”

David Cassuto

Sherry Colb & Michael Dorf’s book, Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights is the subject of an online symposium by the Boston University Law Review.  You can find it here.  Full disclosure: I was one of the respondents.

Habeas News

David Cassuto

This is an important, potentially historic oral argument.  Go if you can:

 

 

Appellate Division, First Department, County Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument in Two Chimpanzee Rights Cases Filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project

The Nonhuman Rights Project will argue its appeal of the failure of the New York County Supreme Court to issue writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two captive chimpanzees, Tommy and Kiko, in a hearing at the Appellate Division, First Department, Supreme Court in Manhattan at or after 2 p.m. on March 16th.

The ruling that results from the hearing may determine whether Tommy and Kiko—both featured in the new HBO documentary Unlocking the Cage—will be recognized as legal persons with the fundamental right to bodily liberty or remain “things” deprived of even a single right. Continue reading

New Animal Law Database

David Cassuto

 

For lawyers, law students and the legally inclined…

HeinOnline – COMING SOON | ANIMAL STUDIES: LAW, WELFARE, AND RIGHTS

Now Taught in More than 100 Law Schools!

Animal Studies: Law, Welfare, and Rights consists of more than 650 titles and nearly 300,000 pages of material related to the background and evolution of the basic rights of animals. Animal Law is a growing area of study in universitities and HeinOnline’s Animal Studies: Law, Welfare, and Rights is an essential addition to your curriculum!

This Collection is an Essential Source of Information on Animal Law

The collection aims to establish the foundational laws pertaining to animals and follow the evolution of these rights throughout the years.

 Read more about: COMING SOON | ANIMAL STUDIES: LAW, WELFARE, AND RIGHTS  »