Salvador in Hindsight

David Cassuto

The Brazilian tour has been and continues to be a whirlwind.  Here’s a first installment of updates, live from Brasilia but a few days behind in terms of news.  More soon.

As Liz & Gloribelle’s posts make clear, the Salvador Conference was fab-o.  I felt and feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to hear and exchange ideas with such terrific scholars and activists.  Furthermore, I am delighted to report that animal advocacy is a real and growing movement in Brazil.  The area outside the auditorium where we gathered was filled daily with activists involved in outreach as well as people selling vegan food and wares.  In addition, several of us were interviewed by a Brazilian filmmaker for a documentary she is making about animal rights. Continue reading

Powerful Final Day at the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights

Elizabeth Bennett

The last day of the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights began with a heartfelt lecture by conference organizer Heron Santana on climate change and animal rights. Professor Santana spoke about the fact that citizens of Brazil are beginning to eat more meat and the country exports an increasing amount of live animals, as they used to do with slaves.

He also discussed the health risks associated with eating meat and our ability to decrease meat production by decreasing consumption.  He explained that there is a wall of prejudice against other species that we must break down in order to abolish animal slavery.  Professor Santana concluded by stressing the importance of speaking out for animals and making changes in our daily lives to work toward an end to these violations against nonhuman animals.    Continue reading

Fresh Faced Student at Animal Law Conference in Brazil

Gloribelle Perez

Wednesday night (8.25.10), I had the honor of attending the opening reception of the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights, which was held in the first capital of Brazil—Salvador, Bahia.  From a live band to Bahia’s movers and shakers of the political arena, the opening reception was superb.  Professor Cassuto, a Pace Law School professor, spoke at the opening reception, along with numerous scholars, all of which got the conference started on a wonderful note!

Hosted by the Federal University of Bahia, yesterday (8.26.10) was the first full day of the conference.  I had a jam-packed day of speaker after brilliant speaker.  As a rising law school 3L, I have not yet found an opportunity to take an Animal Law course.  However, after just one full day at this conference, I feel like I’ve gone to the academic edge and back.  By no means am I now an animal law expert, but I’m happy to have learned a little bit about a lot of different animal law issues.  I have always been concerned about the protection of animals (and other beings that can’t speak for themselves), and I am excited to hear from the world-renowned speakers that each seem to approach the same concern from different angles.        Continue reading

Live From the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights in Brazil

Elizabeth Bennett

DAY 1 Ola from the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights.  First, I would like to say that I am very thankful that Pace Law School and the Center for Environmental Legal Studies provided me with the opportunity to attend this prestigious and world-renowned conference and for all of the conference organizers’ hard work and hospitality.  As the presentations I have attended thus far have been informative and thought-provoking for me, I will do my best to share my experience with you.

Upon arrival, a symphony was playing.  After introductions and honorariums, Professor David Cassuto of Pace Law School and Director of the Brazil-American Institute for Law and Environment (BAILE) spoke about current trends in environmental law and the animal world.  He discussed the intersection of animal and environmental law and how they often clash, despite the many common grounds upon which they merge.  He went on to discuss the legal framework for protecting animals, distinguishing between animal welfarists and animal rights activists, stating that animal welfarists wish for stronger laws, while animal rights activists believe that humans should not use animals at all.  He also pointed out that in the United States legal system, animals are property and the laws concerning animals regulate relationships between humans about animals.  He made an interesting comparison between the appropriateness of humans making laws on behalf of nonhuman animals and politicians enacting laws on our behalf without truly knowing us, what we desire, or how we would like to be protected.  This comparison comes as an interesting response to doubts about human ability and right to make laws about non-human animals when they do not completely understand what animals want or need.

Professor Cassuto also discussed whether animals can be considered “persons” under the law and how this would change the way we protect them.  This served as a great opening to the Conference, as many of the presentations that followed addressed these questions and dealt with similar issues. Continue reading