Thursday, May 29, 2008

Are totalitarian measures like mass sterilization and even genocide justified in the name of conservation?

Slate Magazine poses this troubling question in a thoughtful analysis of the recurring tension between animal rights and conservationism. It's good to see these issues getting more and more exposure in mainstream publications. Read the article here...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Settlement reached in tainted pet food cases

Manufacturers have agreed to settle with the thousands of owners whose companion animals became sick or died as a result of eating tainted pet food. The settlement provides a fund of $24 million dollars for reimbursement of veterinary and associated costs, or the fair market value of the animal, but does not provide any monies for non-economic value. Read more about the pending agreement here...

Monday, May 19, 2008

The long leash of the law
By Daniel Jack Chasan

Domestic violence, custody, malpractice, wrongful death: Today's animal legal issues and challenges are not unlike those of humans.

Read the rest of the article - profiling the recent seminar by the Washington State Bar Association's Animal Law Section - here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Historic ruling in California reminiscent of civil rights battles

As you've probably heard by now, on Thursday California became the second state - following Massachusett's lead - to legalize same-sex marriage. So while it was one step back for Chicago (see post below), the past week was definitely two steps forward for the Golden State.

While this blog is generally devoted to animal law, well, no social movement exists in a vacuum. Kudos to those working to expand rights and protections to the gay and lesbian community; those trying to expand rights in any area of law can - and do - learn from the battles that precede us.

Click here to read a thoughtful Sunday interview piece featuring California's chief justice, who authored the historic ruling.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shame on Chicago

For readers who don't know, I live in Chicago. I've lived here for more than ten years now. Overall, I like it.

But I have also had the opportunity to observe Chicago politics firsthand. And you know what? It really is corrupt. Not just "was" corrupt, as in the old jokes about voting early and often. It is corrupt currently. Everyone who lives here knows it and most of us accept it as the basic way of life here. For the most part, it doesn't even negatively impact our lives - unless you cross the Mayor or his political machine. And then it just smacks you upside the head. Hard.

That's what happened to Alderman Joe Moore today. Chicago politics hit an embarrassing new low when the Mayor railroaded through a repeal of the ban on foie gras that Alderman Moore championed two years ago. I've never been ashamed of this City before, but I am today.

You can read about Mayor Daley's heavy-handed tactics in this Chicago Sun-Times article here...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Founder of Attorneys for Animals Passes

It is with great sadness that I note the passing of Michigan animal law attorney Wanda A. Nash, a friend to many of us in the animal law community and a true advocate for the cause. Over the course of some four decades, Wanda was involved in many welfare groups, taught legal courses, maintained a practice, was active in the animal law section of the Michigan State Bar and helped found Attorneys for Animals. A local newspaper wrote a very nice obituary in her memory. Here's to Wanda.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chicago alderman hopes to force vote to repeal foie-gras ban

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Loving v. Virginia Plaintiff Passes

Blogger's note: Loving v. Virginia was one of the most important civil rights cases in U.S. history. And since many of us in animal law have been inspired by, learned from, and continue to attempt to build upon the struggles and achievements of the civil rights movement in this country, I wanted to take a moment to note the passing of one of plaintiffs in this landmark decision.

Mildred Loving Followed Her Heart and Made History

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 6, 2008; Page C01

Sometimes people just do things because they think they are the right things to do. Or, because they just want bothersome people to leave them alone. Not everyone wants to be on "Oprah" and write their memoirs, not even when they change history.

Consider Oliver L. Brown, a black pastor and railroad worker who joined a lawsuit in Kansas for his daughter to be able to go to a white school. Thus he became part of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the 1954 case that ended legalized segregation in America. When he died in 1961, the local paper mentioned his church, that he became ill during a trip to his in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary, that he was 42 -- and not a word about perhaps the most famous court case in the 20th century.

So we don't really know what to say about the passing on Friday of Mildred Loving (nee Jeter), she of Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia fame...

Click here to

Monday, May 05, 2008

'Holy Grail' of Animal Rights Law Tantalizes a New Breed of Lawyer

Staff Reporter of the New York Sun
May 6, 2008

A few years back, a lawyer sued President Bush in Hawaii on behalf of all the world's whales, porpoises, and dolphins. Although the case was dismissed, the outcome gave animal rights lawyers a glimmer of hope. At the time, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that it saw "no reason" why the Constitution prevents federal courts from hearing cases brought in the name of animals. All that was needed, the 9th Circuit suggested, was an act of Congress.

Congress hasn't been forthcoming with such a law.

Still, there are animal rights lawyers who haven't given up the search for their holy grail: a court decision allowing lawyers to bring suits directly on behalf of one or more animals....

Click here to read the rest of the article...

AVMA (once again) opposes recognizing any worth of animals beyond market value

This article from the upcoming issue of JAVMA News:

May 15, 2008
Vermont's high court considers pets' special value

Suit seeks compensation for emotional pain and loss of companionship

Vermont's Supreme Court will hear a case about whether a pet owner has the right to compensation for the emotional pain and loss of companionship when the animal dies as a result of negligence.

Sensing the importance of the case, veterinary associations—including the AVMA—animal rights groups, and other interested parties are weighing in....

Click here to read more about the suit, as well as why the AVMA and the American Kennel Club (both multi-million dollar entities that are able to exist only because people are willing to spend more on their animals than simply their "market value"), among others, are nonetheless opposed to compensating owners for their emotional distress or loss of companionship over the death of a companion animal.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Court Orders Tyson to Suspend Ads For Antibiotic-Free Chicken

(Again, not exactly animal law (let's be realistic here... as much as this is a growing field there just isn't going to be a true "animal law" story every day yet), but it does involve courts and animals and... well, anything that sticks it to factory farming is worth a mention as far as I'm concerned...)

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 2, 2008; Page D01

Poultry giant Tyson Foods has 14 days to dismantle a national multimillion dollar ad campaign centered on the claim that its chickens are raised without antibiotics, a federal appeals court in Richmond ruled yesterday.

Tyson, based in Springdale, Ark., will have to remove posters and brochures from 8,500 grocery stores nationwide.

"We're disappointed the motion for a stay has been denied and are evaluating our legal options," said Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods. "We continue to believe we have acted responsibly in the way we have labeled and marketed our products and intend to stand our ground."

Read more about the battle between Tyson and two of its competitors here...