I don't seem to hear much about Gary Francione anymore. We'd met a few times a number of years back. (I doubt he would remember me; he was already well-established and I was still in law school.) Maybe he has just grown weary of battling not only the people who were opposed to his ideas, but even those within the animal rights & welfare communities whose views were not sufficiently strident for him. I could be wrong.
At any rate, Professor Francione had a very thoughtful (as all his writings are) opinion piece yesterday on the D.C. elephant trial. Even though his argument does not want to acknowledge any merit to the plaintiffs' position, I will still take the opportunity to post his viewpoint here.
I would add, as my own counterpoint, that I know plaintiffs' attorney Kathy Meyer too. I haven't asked her about her personal views on elephants in circuses, but I am pretty sure that if it were up to her personally, all the hooks, prods and chains would have been scrapped a long time ago.
But the fate of these elephants - or elephants in circuses generally - or the concept of having non-human animals kept in circuses even more generally - is not up to Kathy. The reality is, if she, me or anyone else went into court and asked that all elephants be freed from circuses, we'd all get our a**@* handed to us on a platter. No matter how morally right it may be, the law just doesn't work that way. And we know that. The suit would be thrown out, nothing would change and we'd lose any credibility we had with the judge the next time we went into to ask for anything else. That's precisely why (I fall into the camp that believes that) lawsuits and legislation that seek incremental changes in law have value.
Back to work.