Monday, February 28, 2011

Harvard Animal Law Competition

Harvard Law School held its annual moot court competition this past weekend. Congrats to all of the winners! I couldn't find any info about who won online - so if anyone knows, please write in!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Big day for gay rights in the U.S.!

Gay rights activists around the country cheered as the Obama administration announced today that it would no longer defend the "Defense of Marriage Act" otherwise known as DOMA. If you will remember, DOMA was a largely Republican-backed measure that declared a marriage to be solely between a man and a woman.

The President's decision means that if a pro gay marriage lawsuit wants to challenge DOMA, the U.S. government is not going to pay for lawyers to fight the challenge. The administration says it reviewed DOMA and believes it unconstitutionally discriminates against gays; Attorney General Eric Holder said that if Congress wishes to enforce the law, it may appoint its own lawyers to do so.

Interestingly, a number of Republican lawmakers took time out of slashing the rest of the budget to complain that the government should continue to fund any challenges to the conservative law and some even threatened not to fund challenges to the health care law the next time a Republican is in the White House. (Grow up, eh?)

In yet more encouraging news for gay rights today...

Hawaii's governor Neil Abercrombie signed a measure today making Hawaii the seventh state to recognize civil unions.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

ABA adopts animal law policy!

OK, I have been meaning to sit and write a really good post about this all week... and clearly that hasn't happened yet. So before it's just completely untimely... let me at least say CONGRATULATIONS to the ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee for the successful passage of Resolution 108-B earlier this past week!

This means that the American Bar Association now officially "urges federal, state, territorial, and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to enact laws and implement policies to ensure the humane treatment and disposition of seized animals in a timely manner..."

If you've ever been involved with trying to persuade the ABA to adopt a new policy, you know it's a lot like trying to get an ocean liner to change course without being able to touch the helm. Kudos to Rebecca Huss (drafter) and everyone else for sticking it out and getting the result!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Animal cruelty legislation around the country...

Increasing penalties for animal cruelty is on the agenda in a number of state houses nationwide. Here's a quick update:

In Maryland, an owner of the Siberian husky whose shooting death last year became a rallying cry for animal welfare advocates, urged state lawmakers Thursday to stiffen the penalties for violating the state's animal cruelty law. Read more in The Baltimore Sun.

In New Mexico, a bill protecting animals from cruelty and abandonment is making its way through the New Mexico Senate. KRWG, New Mexico's public broadcasting station, has the rest of the story.

And in Kentucky, activists pushed House bills Tuesday that would require shelter for dogs and force people convicted of animal abuse to give up their animals and be prohibited from owning another animal of the same species for two years. The Washington Examiner reports.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A call for endangered species legislation in British Columbia

Not exactly animal law... but close enough...

A biologist-contributor makes the case for bringing endangered species legislation to one of the most biologically and geographically diverse - and least protected - places on Earth.

Thanks to blog reader Bruce for the heads-up on this compelling argument in yesterday's Vancouver Sun.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dog death penalty ordinance overturned in Florida

A Florida appellate court spared one Fort Lauderdale dog from death last week - when it ruled that a Broward County ordinance allowing officials to euthanize a dog after one bite to another animal conflicted with state law, which allows biting animals multiple chances at redemption before being euthanized.

Thanks to attorney colleague Jane McBride, who forwarded this WSJ Law Blog post...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Veterinary malpractice coming to Connecticut?

It looks like one grieving former dog owner may bring some change to the state of Connecticut - which apparently does not even allow veterinary malpractice complaints - after her dog died at the vet's office before a routine tooth procedure even got underway late last year.

Read more on Eyewitness News Channel 3's website...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And then there were three?

Mississippi is one of four remaining states with no felony cruelty law. Two bills that would change that are heading to the state House for debate. But according to the Clarion Ledger, "the likelihood of either becoming law appears doubtful." Sigh.

Click for the rest of the article here...

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cock one... fighter zero

A California man attending a cockfight has died after being stabbed in the leg by a bird that had a knife attached to its own limb.

Read more in this MSNBC blurb...

Luckily for Sarah Palin, "smarts" is not a criterion for a trademark

Remember in law school when we learned the three characteristics any invention must have in order to be patented? It has to be novel, non-obvious and something else (it's late and I could never remember anyway... but I digress...)

Well, we learned today that IQ is definitely not a factor in seeking a trademark.

A bid by Sarah Palin and her daughter, Bristol, to trademark their names was rejected by officials today. They didn't sign their applications.

However, pundits seem to be suggesting that although there may be some other minor problems with the former vice-presidential candidate's petition, if the two women re-submit their paperwork with appropriate signatures, they apparently have a decent chance of getting their applications approved. Yeesh.

The idea apparently is to protect their respective brands as motivational speakers, although the only really specific example given seems to be that it would block Tina Fey from doing Sarah Palin impressions anymore. Good grief. Maybe if Mama Grizzly spent a little more time thinking and a little less time publicity-seeking, there wouldn't be so much to make fun of...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Death everywhere...

Several grisly animal stories making headlines in some pretty big media outlets today. Not much fun to read about (or watch, as the case may be...) but since these activities are going on anyway, kudos to the various media outlets for at least discussing them.

For example, Oprah did a whole program today on animal slaughter, including a challenge accepted by 378 of her staffers to try going vegan for a week. Guests included Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma") and the author of a current bestseller on veganism ("Veganist: Los Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World"), Kathy Freston. Oprah even convinced Cargill to open its doors. While you may not agree with Cargill's positions (ok, I imagine just about anyone reading this blog would disagree thoroughly with any of Cargill's positions), you have to at least give the industry behemoth props for actually allowing cameras inside. Of course, once Oprah does anything, everyone else talks about it... so the discussion of animal slaughter and veganism got some more mainstream exposure in news outlets like the L.A. Times.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, CBC News and other outlets are reporting on an apparent mass execution of more than 100 sled dogs in Canada, due to a slump in business in the weeks after the winter Olympics ended last year.

Hey Oprah... need more show material?...