Posted on December 13, 2012 by Seth
Late last month PETA filed a suit against Hot’s Restaurant Group in Los Angeles County, CA, alleging that the defendant violated the California state law that went into effect earlier this year prohibiting the sale of foie gras. The essence of the complaint is that Hot’s Kitchen, the specific restaurant in question, has skirted the law by selling a hamburger for an increased price and including with the hamburger a “complimentary side of foie gras.” Being that foie gras is sold legally at gourmet restaurants around the country for a pretty penny, on its face Hot’s seems to be blatantly rebelling against California’s ban, taking a position common among many restaurant owners. Taking the ethical debate over foie gras (ahem) off the table for a moment, is what Hot’s Kitchen doing illegal? Read more »
Filed under: animal law, animal rights, animal ethics, animal advocacy, factory farms, animal welfare, animal cruelty, veganism, diet, vegetarianism | Tagged: "THE Burger", activism, animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, CAFOS, california, Constitutional Law, environmental law, factory farms, farmed animals, foie gras, foie gras ban, Hot's Kitchen, meat, PETA, vegan, veganism, vegetarianism | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 11, 2012 by Seth
From the tone of the NY Times article, John Bartmann doesn’t sound like a bad man. Though some readers might demonize him because he is involved in animal farming, this isn’t the CEO of a major industrial producer, and it would be inaccurate to lump him in under the same heading. I expect Mr. Bartmann knows a thing or two about sheep husbandry, and likely has his own grievances with the CAFO industry. Still, his plight is indicative of the complicated issues surrounding modern farming, and is not free from critique. The decline of the modern rancher, especially in the drought of 2012, highlights many of the problems with food in the United States, through both animal and environmental perspectives. Read more »
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, animal welfare, climate change, environmental ethics, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: 2012 drought, animal ethics, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, cafo, climate change, Colorado, concentrated animal feeding operations, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, food, global warming, industrial farming, lamb, New Zealand sheep, sheep, US food market, western agriculture | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 10, 2012 by Seth
As reported by the Detroit News, the Michigan legislature recently voted to increase the penalty for dog fighting. By finding dog fighting to be an organized criminal enterprise, the legislature has made it possible for dog fighting violators to be charged with racketeering, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Additionally, the property (real and personal) in question could also be confiscated as a nuisance if the House approves the bill. The racketeering classification amendment to the law is expected to be signed by Gov. Snyder soon. As the bill analysis reads:
Under the code, racketeering is defined as committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or aiding or abetting, soliciting, coercing, or intimidating a person to commit an offense for financial gain that includes any of the listed criminal acts. The bill would amend this list to include a violation of Section 49, concerning animal fighting.
The bill proposal puts it bluntly; “Simply put, animal fighting is animal abuse on steroids.” By moving this crime into the same category as other criminal enterprises, Michigan is recognizing the vast infrastructure behind animal fighting rings. The amendment to the law will also allow prosecutors to go after repeat offenders in a more meaningful manner, rather than having to separately prosecute individual cases that carry less significant penalties. There is a concern that property seizure based simply on an allegation of such abuse might be extreme, and that is an aspect that certainlyshould be carefully considered in each case. Overall, this bill marks a considerable step towards greater penalties for animal abuse, and one that isn’t as particularly tailored as last year’s Schultz’s Law.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animals, dog fighting, dogs, Gov. Snyder, Michigan, racketeering | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 9, 2012 by David
Our hero is lecturing on Animal Law next week at the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Publico), Florianopolis, Brazil. See you there?
Filed under: animal law | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal law, animal law education, animal rights, Brazil, international animal law, Public Prosecutor | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 6, 2012 by Seth
You may have your own opinions about the World Trade Organization (WTO), whether positive or negative. Regardless, the WTO wields influence over imports and exports worldwide. As we have discussed at length on this blawg, animals are commodities, and thus the policies of the WTO are important when considering animal rights.
Over the last several months the WTO has taken issue with dolphin-safe tuna. To summarize what is a long and involved debate, since 1990 the United States has provided labels specifying whether dolphins were killed (though ”harmed” isn’t covered) through the harvesting of tuna to be sold in the U.S. market under the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (originally the labels really meant that purse seine nets, the type that often harm dolphins, weren’t used). Mexico, via a complaint to the WTO, claimed that these dolphin safety measures unfairly impeded Mexico’s tuna trade. The WTO agreed, and ruled that the dolphin-safe labels are “unnecessarily restrictive on trade.” This ruling comes out of one of the core principles of the WTO’s policy of non-discrimination. Under the doctrine of “the most favoured nation” all WTO countries must extend to each other the same trade advantages as the most prefered trading nation would receive. National equality also states that foreign traders must be treated the same way as domestic traders. When you consider the long history of violence and discrimination associated with international trade, including the United States’s own origins, this is sound policy. Yet as always, the devil is in the application.
Read more »
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, environmental law, fishing, marine animals | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, dolphin free, dolphin protection consumer information act, dolphins, environmental advocacy, environmental ethics, environmental law, environmentalism, fishermen, fishing, international dolphin conservation program, international law, international trade, marine animals, marine law, Mexico, tuna, United States of America, World Trade Organization | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 4, 2012 by Seth
Just in case you were worried that a python outbreak wasn’t enough, there’s another top predator in southern Florida. This past fall there have been sightings of Nile crocodiles south of Miami. This presents a bit of a conundrum for wildlife supervisors. You see the Nile crocodile is on international threatened lists, and is disappearing in its native habitat. Because Florida, however, is not its native habitat, and because the state already has to manage with non-native snakes eliminating the mammal population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized a state shoot-to-kill order. Though there are native crocodiles in Florida, the Nile crocodile is known to be fiercer and more deadly, and is one of the few animals left on the planet that still hunts humans.
While Nile crocodiles haven’t reached the infestation levels of the python, they are potentially more problematic in smaller numbers. FWC officers suspect that the crocodiles may have originated from an illegal captive breeding facility, but it is still unknown exactly from where they are coming, or how many there are.
Again we are faced with the same unresolved questions on how to handle non-native species that can drastically alter a habitat. Do we preserve a threatened species, one of the greatest and most resilient in history, or do we hunt down the crocodiles before they make other animals endangered or extinct? Or do we simply pit the pythons and crocs against each other in a winner-take-all showdown on prime time? Either way, it’s hardly an enviable decision for the FWC.
Filed under: climate change, endangered species, environmental ethics, environmental law, exotic animals | Tagged: animal ethics, animals, climate change, endangered species, environmental advocacy, Everglades, exotic species, florida, global warming, invasive species, Miami, Nile crocodile, non-native species, pythons | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 30, 2012 by David
Stephen O’ Donohue
Denying rights to animals has long been rationalized by the presupposition that animals lack consciousness, awareness, feelings, and last but not least, a soul. While scientific studies provide a plethora of data supporting the argument that animals are aware and do feel, science admittedly falls short of being able to prove or disprove the existence of any living being’s “soul,” regardless of religious groups’ varying definition of the term. Furthermore, one of the fundamental limitations of the United States government is the separation of church and state. For decades, however, the U.S. government has, through the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), promulgated a definition of the word “soul” that does not include animals. When declaring an emergency, the pilot in command is asked by the controller for the amount of fuel and number of “souls” on board the aircraft. The FAA, in an Advisory Circular in 2008, defined “souls on board” as the “total number of passengers and crew” to the exclusion of animals because they are “cargo.” Read more »
Filed under: animal ethics | Tagged: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, animals in aviation, FAA | 2 Comments »