Monday, September 29, 2008

If a tree falls in the forest...

We've all heard that old line: "If a tree falls in the forest but nobody can hear it, does it still make a sound?"

Might be sort of amusing to think about, but I doubt anyone seriously believes that just because no one hears the tree fall, the noise doesn't happen. Even a 2-year-old comes to realize that just because mommy or daddy leaves the room it doesn't mean they cease to exist.

Unfortunately, and inexplicably really, until recently Oregon law required proof that an animal suffered "substantial pain" in order to convict an abuser on animal cruelty charges. We'll never know how many instances of cruelty went unprosecuted due to this subjective, and by its very definition pretty much insurmountable, standard.

Today's Oregonian offers a very thoughtful opinion piece by one of the nation's leading animal law attorneys, Pamela Frasch. Pam is the Executive Director of the Center for Animal Law Studies at Northwestern Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. As Pam writes, the sad story of one abused elephant, Rose-Tu, offers proof that just because animals can't testify to their own pain doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

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