New Book: THE ANIMAL, WITHIN THE SPHERE OF HUMANS’ NEEDS

David Cassuto

Cool new book (including a piece by our hero) coming out of the cool international animal law conference held in Montreal last year.

THE ANIMAL, WITHIN THE SPHERE OF HUMANS’ NEEDS

edited by Martine Lachance, International Research Group in Animal Law (GRIDA)

More than one year after the Montreal’s first international animal law conference, it is with great pleasure that the International Research Group in Animal Law (GRIDA) informs you of the recent publication of the conference proceedings The Animal Within the Sphere of Human’s Needs.

The bilingual book, which includes texts from the conference, can now be ordered.

5 ways to order
1. Phone: 1-800-363-3047
2. Fax: 450-263-9256
3. Orders by mail: P.O. Box 180, Cowansville (Québec) J2K 3H6
4. Email: editionsyvonblais.commandes@thomsonreuters.com
5. Web: www.editionsyvonblais.com

The table of contents follows below:

Continue reading

GRIDA in Rearview — A Most Excellent Event

Only time for a brief word about the GRIDA conference b/c I’m now at a different conference, this time of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.  The GRIDA event was outstanding.  Lecture topics ranged from animal behavior to AETA.  Among the highlights: David Favre advanced his vision of animals as living property; Steve Wise sketched out a continuum for legal recognition for nonhumans that seemed simultaneously revolutionary and inevitable; Kathy Hessler lucidly described the inanities of vivisection (for example, just eliminating the redundancies in animal research would decrease the number of animals killed by over two thirds);  Maneesha Deckha offered a feminist critique of Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach; Luc-Alain Giraldeau’s description of the history and science of animal behaviorism made clear how much most of us don’t know and probably should about the beings for whom we advocate; and Carol Morgan described her doctoral fieldwork (for her degree in ethics) among  her fellow veterinarians.  The disconnect between veterinarians’ duties to their patients and their duties to their clients brings the incompatibility of economics and ethics into stark relief.  There were many more excellent presentations and a welcome interdisciplinary and international collegiality.  Professor Martine Lachance and her colleagues at UQAM deserve a rousing cheer and congratulations.

–David Cassuto

The Otter Hunt Reborn

yawningEn route to Montreal for the GRIDA Animal Law Conference (see post here), I picked up some Canadian newspapers.  From the NationalPost, I learn that aboriginals on Vancouver Island hope to kill 1% of the region’s sea otters per year for “ceremonial reasons.”

Sea otters, like so many other fur-bearing animals, were hunted to near extinction in Canada during the heyday of the European fur trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  They were reintroduced into British Columbia from Alaska in the early 1970s and have made progress, repopulating approximately 30% of their original range.  In 2007, the Canadian government downlisted otters from “threatened” to “special concern.”  Now, the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe and federal fisheries officials have crafted a sea otter “management plan” that will permit tribe members to shoot them.  Related story here.

This has strong parallels to the wolf scenario in the United States (some irony: the wolf-bloodthirsty governor of Idaho is named Otter…).  I appreciate the need for sensitivity to native people and traditions — an issue that does not pertain to the U.S. wolf situation.  And the discussion over when and how concern for animals should defer to native traditions must be ongoing and vigorous (it will likely surprise no one that I believe human rituals, whatever their provenance, are less important than animal lives).  But here the issue should not yet be ripe.  The otter has not even fully recovered its numbers and remains at risk.  Why the hurry to kill them?

–David Cassuto

Conference: The Animal Within the Sphere of Human Needs

Canada’s first International Conference on Animal Law will take place on May 21-22, 2009.   The International Research Group in Animal Law (French acronym GRIDA),  based out of the Department of Juridical Sciences at the University of Quebec at Montréal (UQAM) will host and it looks like a fantastic event.  It is titled “The Animal Within the Sphere of Human Needs” and features an array of speakers with interesting and diverse perspectives (and I would say that even if I were not one of the speakers…).

David Cassuto