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.

Equestrian Sports and Doping

Charles T. Jordan

Much like any competitive sport there is a risk of doping. Because competition in professional sports is so intense, there is always the temptation to take shortcuts to achieve success. Sports like cycling and baseball are generally most associated with doping scandals; however equestrian sports (such as show jumping, dressage, eventing, hunters, etc.) has needed to address doping. Equestrian sports are one of the only major competitive sports where one of the athletes competing is a non-human. This creates an important distinction, unlike in cycling and baseball where the “doper” is the competitor with the decision making power, in equestrian sports the “doper” is the horse (which is not who makes the decision to dope). This makes it difficult to determine who should be punished in doping scandals. Recently the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the governing body of equestrian sports in America, has clarified and extended the responsible parties in doping situations. Previously those responsible when the horse tested positive for performance enhancing drugs was just the trainer. Under the new rule those responsible would also include the rider, owner of the horse, and support personnel (including grooms, handlers, and veterinarians). Furthermore the presumption is that these individuals are responsible absent a showing of “substantial evidence to the contrary.”

Guerdat        The enforcement of these rules has been taken to court when one of the biggest names in the sport was involved in a doping scandal. Tori Colvin’s mother, Brigid, was suspended and fined by a USEF hearing committee as the trainer when the horse Tori rode tested positive for higher than usual levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Colvin challenged the suspension in New York Supreme Court, claiming that the punishment was Continue reading

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

End The Dog Meat Trade

Greg Salido Quimpo

To Pile of dead dogsa first-timer, or a non-Filipino, who discovers that dogs in the Philippines are slaughtered and sold for human consumption they probably think the country lacks regulations on animal welfare.  Although only small groups of Filipinos eat dogs, an estimated less than 1% of the 98.3 million of the whole population, there is already an existing law on the treatment of animals in 1998 (RA 8485). In fact, its capital city, Manila, prohibits the killing and selling of dog meat earlier than 1982 (MMC ORD 82-02).

There is an exemption in the Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 1998 that says dogs can be slaughtered over a ritual sanctioned by its local leaders, Section 6, Paragraph 1 of the act says,

 When it is done as part of the religious rituals of an established religion or sect or a ritual required by tribal or ethnic custom of indigenous cultural communities; however, leaders shall keep records in cooperation with the Committee on Animal Welfare.Rescued Dogs 1

In the Cordillera highlands, a family dog is viewed to have the purest spirit and once offered to the gods – slaughtered and eaten by each family member – will protect a family from further bad luck. As explained in an online article by Dr. Nestor Castro, cultural anthropologist and chairman of the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Department,

“It has become a market (dog meat eating), and has really transformed from its original roots,” he said, emphasizing that not all Filipinos eat dog meat and that it’s an inaccurate stereotype to say otherwise. Mr. Castro added that originally dog meat was used as food for certain type of rituals and special occasions. Locals in the Cordillera Region of Northern Luzon, he noted, slaughtered dogs only for ritual occasions. “Generally all animals there, not just limited dogs, are sacrificial animals. Chickens, pigs, or carabaos are butchered, whether for someone who died or for a celebration. The dog goes into that picture, as a special occasion food.” He added that the offering of one’s own could be the ultimate symbol sacrifice. “I would say, if you treat your dog as your best friend, therefore, to sacrifice your best friend must be really special.”
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

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