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

New Animal Law Database

David Cassuto


For lawyers, law students and the legally inclined…


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.


Lawsuit to Stop Kaporos Torture

David Cassuto

I could not be more proud of my former  student and research assistant, Jessica Astrof, for leading the legal battle on this!

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos along with 20 additional plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court New York to issue an injunction against Hasidic rabbis and synagogues in Brooklyn from participating in “Kaporos,” a highly controversial religious custom which involves the confinement, torture and barbaric slaughter of kaporosmore than 50,000 chickens on public streets every year during the week preceding the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. The case also names the NYPD, NYC Department of Health and the City of New York for failing to enforce city health laws and animal cruelty laws, among others. The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos was formed in New York City in 2010 as a project of, and under the umbrella of, United Poultry Concerns, founded by Karen Davis, Ph.D. Kaporos using live chickens is also practiced in other cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Los Angeles. See 2014 Brooklyn Kaporos video here: http://bit.ly/1gsvAmw.


The 21 plaintiffs are a group of individuals and residents of the subject locations who have endured the inconvenience, nuisance, filth, stench, public health risk and emotional trauma involved in Kaporos for years. Each plaintiff is gravely concerned about the health risks in their community, the contaminants on the streets and sidewalks and the emotional trauma caused by the bloody animal violence they are forced to witness. 


Kaporos is allegedly a ritual of atonement practiced by Hasidic Jews as part of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The ritual involves practitioners grasping live chickens by their wings and swinging them above the practitioners’ heads. The purpose of this act, followed by the slaughter, is allegedly to transfer the practitioners’ sins and punishment to the birds, allegedly absolving the participants of their sins. In order to conduct the slaughter of the birds, Kaporos involves the erection of make-shift slaughterhouses on the public streets and sidewalks of the City of New York.  Dead chickens, half dead chickens, chicken blood, chicken feathers, chicken urine, chicken feces, other toxins and garbage such as used latex gloves and filthy tarps consume the public streets.  There is no oversight and no remedy for cleanup.  Plaintiffs maintain that operating such illegal public slaughterhouses causes and creates a public nuisance, a public health risk, a public health hazard and a dangerous condition.   Continue reading

Keep Calm & Eat Less Meat


Carrie Scrufari

Every few years or so, a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (the Committee) reviews current scientific evidence related to diet, nutrition, and health.  The Committee then reports its findings to the Secretaries of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  This year, the 2015 Committee submitted its findings in the Scientific Report of the keep-calm-and-eat-less-meat-22015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (see Report).


The goal of the Report is to inform the Federal government with pertinent scientific information to serve as the basis for developing a national nutrition policy.  The Federal government reviews the Report and takes it under advisement as it develops new dietary guidelines for Americans.  Members of the public were invited to submit comments on the Report for 75-days, until May 8, 2015.  After reviewing the comments, HHS and USDA will release the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines later this year.


The Committee’s Report was revolutionary this year in two key respects.  First, the Report recommended – for the first time in history – that Americans consume more plants and less meat (see Report, Part B, Ch. 2, lines 43-48).  To date, the dietary recommendations have always been Continue reading

The Community Impact of CAFOs

Stop the Wysocki Factory-CAFO Farm

Seth Victor

Saratoga, WI is a small town in central Wisconsin. Set on the banks of the Wisconsin River, this community of a few thousand people is likely not a major destination for tourists roaming through the state, but by all appearances it seems a typical mid-western settlement from the 19th century that evolved into a small town befitting a Prairie Home Companion yarn. It is also the setting of an ongoing fight between the community and a proposed CAFO, one that has drawn intense public ire. Continue reading

50 Millions Deaths is an Acceptable Cost of Business

Seth Victor

I’ll keep this short and sweet, because we’ve made this point on the blawg several dozen times. NPR reports that the recent outbreak of H5N2, or Avian Flu, has caused economic hardship for American farmers, to the point that the USDA is importing eggs from the Netherlands to meet demand.

Although it is mentioned in the lead paragraph, the fact that nearly 50 million chickens and turkey have been slaughtered to stem the virus is played off like any other economic number. As you read the article, look at the wording: these animals have been “destroyed,” not “killed” or “slaughtered.” The rest of the article is about the business model and bottomline consequences. It might as well be about how many iPhones had to be recalled for defective touch screens. These aren’t living things, remember; they’re just animals, cogs in the machine. Nowhere in the article is any suggestion that this outbreak could be avoided by not housing birds in CAFOs in the first place, save for one link that claims humans might be spreading the virus by entering CAFOs. Instead, the US government has taken the position that this virus is the fault of wild birds. Any guesses as to which lobbying group might have had a hand in that statement?

We. Can. Stop. This. H5N2 is not some mystery beyond comprehension. It is a result of the way we raise farmed birds. Stop purchasing eggs and meat from CAFOs, and they cannot exist without your dollars. It really is that simple.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,477 other followers