A New Animal Rights Treaty Regime is Needed that Mirrors Human Rights Treaties: Animals aren’t Commodities, They Have Inherent Rights

Liz Holmes
A fundamental shift is needed in global law protecting animals. Existing systems protect animals mainly as commodities for human benefit and trade. There is a need to enshrine in international law the inherent rights of animals and have protection regimes that mirror those of human rights treaties.
Humans make up only 36 percent of all mammals, but our species provides only minimally for the other 64 percent – that is when humans are not driving animals into extinction. A few international treaty systems provide some restrictions on the treatment of migratory species and endangered species.

This includes the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
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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

International Animal Law News

David Cassuto

From the email:

[T]his email is being sent to you to update you with some of the key news and events of the last few months that have been posted on the website of International Animal Law.

ANIMALS, WELFARE AND THE LAW

Animals, welfare and the law is an essential book for all those that have direct and indirect dealings/interests with animals. It’s now the course book for a couple of online courses including Vet Scholar and the Global Animal Welfare Authority.

Remember, the format of the book is intentionally designed to be thought provoking and interactive. For example, there are questions at the front of the book, and at the end of each chapter, that assist readers in examining their own knowledge (and attitudes) concerning animal welfare and the rules that currently govern it. Additionally, all proceeds from the sale of the book go to the registered charity Animal Welfare Law Matters.

NEWS PICKS

I am always grateful to those who continue to contribute to the array of topics, articles and news of interest on the website of International Animal Law (“IAL”). A few picks shown on IAL over the last few months include:

  1. A new International Research Consortium for Animal Health (IRC) has been created to coordinate global research and ultimately lead to new methods of controlling animal diseases. Given the competing attitudes, agendas and interests between different stakeholders on many of the issues involving animals and the welfare of animals and people, it is encouraging to see continued efforts towards harmonisation in the international market place.
  2. On the subject of initiatives which seek to implement consistency on issues of animal welfare internationally, a proposed model of animal welfare has been published. Its authors propose that can be used as a guide and information source for countries seeking to introduce or improve their animal welfare legislation.
  3. Do you know how enforcement actually works? For example, what are the criteria for determining whether or not a prosecution proceeds. These considerations were raised following notification of a complaint against the SPCA.
  4. And do you recall seeing the public response and outcry at the shooting of a lion organised by trophy hunting safari operations in South Africa last year? Change is fostered when public opinion is supported by commercial decisions that have an economic impact, so the cancellation of a hunting expo by the Holiday Inn is interesting to note. It also raises questions about how many of the other voices that criticised the slaying of the lion and wider trophy hunting safari operations, have implemented similar initiatives for change?
  5. Opinions regarding the use of animals for human use obviously vary. The Greyhound racing industry is one of the animal use activities that has come under the spotlight in recent times, and the imprisonment of Greyhound trainers in Australia is a reminder of how far the law has progressed in that people can and to go to prison for animal welfare offences.

Continue reading

Animal Law: A World Phenomenon!

Joyce Tischler (x-post from ALDF Founder’s Blog)

The Second Global Animal Law Conference has just concluded in Barcelona, Spain, and I was honored to represent the Animal Legal Defense Fund (“ALDF”), one of the main sponsors of this historic event. I spoke to the audience about how successful social movements use three interdependent approaches: litigation, legislation and public outreach (education), and how animal protection litigation is creating broad-based changes in the U.S., as well as in other countries.

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This was a truly international gathering, bringing together participants from China, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Finland, Switzerland, Portugal, England, Spain, France, Germany, U.S., Canada, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Dubai, Italy, Austria, Argentina, and several other nations.

The major themes rising to the surface were that almost every country’s laws are based on the concept that animals are “things” and resources to be used at-will by humans. This fosters the mass amount of suffering that the law does little or nothing to stop. No jurisdiction anywhere in the world currently deals adequately with the basic problems faced by animals. Not surprisingly, the industries that exploit animals are in control of the laws, the codes, the regulations—or lack thereof—and they are always looking for ways to silence their critics. Interestingly, ag-gag, addressed by law professor and ALDF board member, David Cassuto, was a topic of great interest to this international audience. Continue reading

Global Animal Law Conference in Barcelona, Spain

David Cassuto

Pardon the partial self-interest, but the below-mentioned conference (at which I will be speaking) has all the makings of a faboo event.  I spoke at the First Global Animal Law Conference back in 2002 (I believe) and it was great.  The field has grown enormously in the intervening decade and this conference reflects that growth.

The 2nd Global Animal Law Conference will be held in Barcelona, Spain on July 10-11, 2014. Our goal is to bring together some the best legal minds from around the world to discuss the many and varied animal law issues and challenges that so many of us face.

Over the two-day Conference we expect to have more than 25 speakers from over 15 countries, most of whom are internationally known law professors who have taught and written on animal issues. The Conference is limited to 180 attendees, and will be conducted entirely in in English. 

The history of the 1st Global Conference, ten years ago, suggests that this will be an important event for all attendees who seek to expand their own network of personal connections, develop global strategies to improve animal welfare and increase their understanding of our diverse cultures and legal systems around the world. Continue reading

International Animal Crime

Ellen Zhang

On the 7th and 8th of November, 500 of the leading law enforcement and environmental experts came together at the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)- United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference (ECEC) in Nairobi, Kenya. They discussed recent trends in environmental crime and the impacts of those violations. “This is a global phenomenon. This is a global market place. It’s globally active syndicates, criminals who are engaging in this trade who are causing damage to national economies and communities,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director, and “[there is] a rapidly escalating environmental crime wave.”

According to UNEP, environmental crime is associated with international criminal syndicates. UNEP and Interpol are working together to provide a global system of communication for information sharing to prevent environmental Zhang piccrimes.

“People from around the world are outraged that organized criminal networks are robbing the world of our elephants, rhinos, tigers and other wildlife, purely for the profit of a very few outlaws,” said Azzedine Downes, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), who presented at the conference. He called for countries to commit to developing security task forces to battle environmental crime and highlighted the importance of cross-boundary cooperation. Continue reading

Animal Law in Barcelona

David Cassuto

The Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) has an  exciting animal law curriculum, which includes a masters degree in Animal Law & Society, the only one of its kind in the world.  On October 17th, the university will host a roundtable where the first alumni of the masters program will reunite to discuss their experiences and the world of animal law in Spain, Argentina, and Romania.  Should be a fascinating discussion.

See more about tomorrow’s program here.  Read more about the UAB Master’s Program here.  And if you’re lucky enough to be in Barcelona, go check it out.

Animal Law Lecture at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Santa Catarina, Brazil

David Cassuto

Our hero is lecturing on Animal Law next week at the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Publico), Florianopolis, Brazil.   See you there?

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Myths, More than Traditional Medicine, Driving Rhino Slaughter

 Andrew C. Revkin

x-post from Dot Earth

Rhino horns seized by Customs in Hong Kong

Rhinoceros populations from Asia through Africa are plummeting in the face of burgeoning illicit trade in their horns, much of it driven by myths promoted by criminal smuggling syndicates and targeting the new wealthy in China and Vietnam. The Green blog and Dot Earth have explored these issues, but it’s worth a slightly deeper dive, here provided in a “Your Dot” contribution from Matthew Wilkinson, the founder and editor of the informative Safaritalk blog.

Here’s an excerpt and link to the full essay by Wilkinson, which I’ve posted via Slideshare.net:

Matt Wilkinson: As someone who devotes his days to highlighting wildlife conservation in Africa, when I’m asked to name my greatest concern, without hesitation I say the poaching onslaught devastating rhinoceros populations. With so many pressing problems besetting wildlife and the environment, why this one issue over and above everything else? The answer is shaped by the shocking way in which the rhinos are killed and their horns removed, the widespread myths fueling the recent poaching escalation and the apparent inability of governments to tackle this massive problem with anything approaching competence. Continue reading

A Companion Animal for Your Pet

Sarah Kelland 

            Have you ever questioned the emotional state of your pet? Perhaps you have thought your pet was happy or sad at one time or another. According to the money column in the New York Times Magazine, guinea pigs are predisposed to loneliness. To solve this animal welfare issue, Switzerland passed a law making it illegal to own only one guinea pig. This might force a pet owner to buy a new guinea pig every time one passes away. Fortunately, guinea pigs are now available to rent in a town outside of Zurich for the small one time fee of $30. This is clearly an economic opportunity that was seized. Continue reading

Striking the Balance Between Public Health and Wildlife Conservation Policy Concerns in Africa: Why Sustaining Wildlife is a Crucial Element

Jessica Witmer

          Bushmeat hunting is a growing and immediate threat to the future of endangered species in Africa.  While bushmeat may be crucial to the diet of indigenous people in rural areas where other food may not be easily available or affordable, the continuation of bushmeat hunting will ultimately lead to the species extinction.  Bushmeat hunting has already caused the ecological extinction of multiple large animals and it continues to reduce the biological diversity of forest ecosystems.  Decreasing the population of these species at increasing rates is neither beneficial for the ecosystem or for the people whose livelihood depends on the species sustainability.  A recent study from the University of California found that consumption of bushmeat is beneficial to children’s nutrition.  The researchers predicted that “loss of access to wildlife as a source of food – either through stricter enforcement of conservation laws or depletion of resources – would lead to a 29 percent jump in the number of children suffering from anemia.”  The study also revealed that 20 percent of meat consumed by locals was made up of bushmeat, even though the hunting is illegal.  Continue reading

Odd Animal Laws, Odd Culture

This is a guest post by Kenji Crosland, a writer for TeachStreet.  Teachstreet is a website that provides online and local classes, including classes on law and pet training classes.

In the effort to preserve a certain semblance of order certain laws (don’t steal, don’t kill) have been universal since Hammurabi, although the punishments for disobeying these laws have varied greatly. Laws concerning animal cruelty, however, are unique in that they are not necessarily “required,” to keep the peace.  For a society to establish animal cruelty laws it needs to reach a certain level of moral development.  These laws, just like the humans who created them, however, aren’t perfect, and those imperfections can give us insights into a particular culture.

These days, India and countries in Europe seem to be the most progressive, while others like China are slowly adding laws to the books.  The US is a study in contrasts: while some states are on the progressive side, there are others that are far from it.          Continue reading

International Animal Law — A Website

David Cassuto

Here (with a hat tip to the Animal Law Blog) is an interesting and useful site focusing on International Animal Law.

CITES Folderol Continued

David Cassuto

The banner times at the CITES Meeting continue.  No protection for sharks either.  Earlier in the week, delegates declined to protect several key species of coral.  And, of course, let’s not forget last week´s debacle with the bluefin tuna and the polar bear.   Continue reading