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Una muestra de la realidad: Abandono, maltrato y desprotección de los animales en Perú

Paola Macassi, lawyer of the Peruvian non-profit association Animalistas Sin Fronteras and attendee of the II Global Animal Law Conference, talks about the situation of stray dogs in Lima, Peru and gives an introduction to the existing laws in this interesting video.

Featured Speakers #4

How Litigation can be Used to Protect Animals

Joyce Tischler
"the mother of animal law"
www. aldf.org

The social movement has always been trying to change our societies, but the momentum for change has never been fast and straight forward. So how do we change this dynamic? How do we create short term victories and long term changes? Social activists have a very long history in creating an integrated approach to change and the tools to this mean are three.

The first tool is public outreach; the second legislation; the third is litigation. Litigation is often called public interest litigation and it is the tool to make tool number two more dynamic, since legislation often remains on paper. Suing is not easy, progress is very slow, a lot of law suits are lost, and it is in general not a very attractive option. Litigation is often dismissed as something that only Americans do and that it does not apply to the rest of the world, but it is not true; some very successful lawsuits of other countries show how litigation can be a tool also outside the USA. So if there is no law what do you do? You use litigation. Hundreds and hundreds of lawsuits have been and are being filed in the USA. But the United States is not the only country. We have some examples coming from:

1. The Israeli Supreme Court (the association NOAH to ban foie gras in Israel, one of the largest world producers of this product);

2. East African Court of Justice at Arusha (the african Network fro Animal Welfare against the paving of a road across the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania);

3. Supreme Court of India (the Animal Welfare Board of India claiming the cruelty of Jallikattu bull fighting against human beings and bullock-cart races).

To conclude we can affirm that the concept of litigation is confined to the USA is false. This practice should be undergone more often when and where possible around the globe.

Martina Pluda
Communications Officer
Master in Animal Law and Society
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Featured Speakers #3

An Idea for Animal Rights, a Path for Animal Welfare

Prof. David Favre

What is a rights issue and what is a welfare issue? This is important to differentiate. One critical piece of the puzzle for animal welfare is the adoption of an international treaty for animal welfare because states need to have that level of force to push against them to enforce animal welfare standards. Prof. Favre has already started to draft this treaty 20 years ago and it is actually already complete, we simply need someone to sign it. But the core in this issue is state sovereignty: every state has the right to decide autonomously. Giving up some of their sovereignty allows them to be part of a larger community; will we soon be in the position where States will want to become a community for the sake of animal welfare? This is the real threshold barrier. 

The structure of Prof. Favre´s treaty (similar to CITES) is the one of an umbrella treaty, which is a very basic treaty document, underneath which you then build more complex language. So at the moment Prof. Favre´s treaty has 4 protocols, which have to be signed by all members, and in each protocol there are anexes, which can be done by majority vote. The policy and principles try to take in consideration as many States as possible. The definitions included are the ones of "animal", "wildlife", "domestic and companion animals"; the choice regarding the content of definitions is a policy choice. Within the language of the treaty we have to consider that it has to be simple and inoffensive. One of the hooks though is that you just can´t sign on the general language without signing the specific protocols too. In the protocol much more detail can be provided, such as in the case of the general definition of companion animals and the deepening of such definition in the protocol. Furthermore anexes include future objectives related to what is stated in the protocol. The Future of this treaty is uncertain, it is all about the political power and the communication power. 

What about animal rights? What is the difference between welfare and rights? Rights is a more philosophical dimension and regarding rights we have already decided that animals are ethical subjects. The barrier to change is the property status of animals. There are three different kinds of property in the world right now: real, personal, and intellectual. The majority probably agrees that animals must have some relationship to humans in order to safely exist within the human society. But the question is what is the future of animals in relation to property? Do we want them as non property? Do we want to establish the relation guardian/companion? Prof. Favre thinks that we already started the process of separation: animals are different from property. Dogs are not the same as books. Still, his hope is to make a clearer separation: living (animals) and non-living (books, tables, cars, etc.) personal property. So he hopes we will end up with now 4 kinds of properties: real, personal, intellectual, and LIVING. The Swiss have moved the closest to this definition. Art. 120 of the Swiss Constitution states that it shall take in consideration the dignity of living beings; art. 641a of the Swiss Civil Code states that animals are not objects. Switzerland could be a good starting point for the treaty.

Last but not least we launch a new idea: what if we allow individual owners to give partial self recognition to the animals they own? Actually this can only work in the common law systems. For example you have the full title to a chimpanzee and acknowledge the chimpanzee an equitable title. 

Martina Pluda
Communications Officer
Master in Animal Law and Society
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

PANEL #8 – Cultural Perspectives

In this afternoon´s panel Prof. Olivier Le Bot talked about "The Limitation of Animal Protection for Religious or Cultural Reasons" as a study of the articulation between social considerations such as cultural traditions and protection in animal law, in other words to examine the legislator´s choice: accept the abuse or prohibit it and can this choice be questioned/contested by the judge? 

Prof. Le Bot´s study is divided in two dimensions, summarized as follows:

  1. Dimension: the law forbids animal abuse committed in the name of tradition
    • Ritual Slaughter
      • 1st solution: the most protective solution (Austria VfGH 17/12/1998): prohibition;
      • 2nd solution: less absolute (like in the USA);
      • 3rd: tolerant (France).
    • Hunting with hounds 
      • Ban: in Scotland: protection of wild mammals act adopted on 13th Feb. 2002; in Britain and Wales by the Hunting Act of 2004, applicable since 18th Feb. 2005
      • EU Court of Human Rights: ECHR 24/9/2009, Friend and Others v. the UK, n. 16072/06

2. Dimension: the law authorises animal abuse on the basis of a tradition
    • First situation: a superior norm protecting animals exists
      • Legislative norm (traditional force eating violates the Animal Protection Act: a lot of pain for little pleasure, eg. foie gras);
      • International norm;
      • Constitutional norm.
    • Second situation: the absence of a superior norm makes the question of a differentiation arise.

To continue the panel Natasha Dolezal spoke about "The Kenya Legal Project"

This year the Center for Animal Law studies at Lewis & Clark Law School and the Africa Network for Animal Welfare introduced the Kenya Legal Project, which brought law students for three weeks to Kenya to study the implications of local wildlife and cruelty laws and assist Kenyan lawyers and professionals to develop and enhance the legal protection of animals. As just mentioned there are three essential components to the program: 1. create an educational opportunity for students; 2. establish an international professional exchange program for Kenyan attorneys and judiciary officials; 3. assist local efforts by providing animal legal education, visiting law and vet schools, talking to faculties to help them develop courses, giving guest lectures, offering international LL.M. scholarships.

The program provides both classroom learning and fieldwork on the premises, addressing problem solving and strategy development in a completely new cultural context, bearing in mind that there is no absolute and universal right way. Participants are exposed to the complexity of real cruelty issues such as poaching, resource scarcity, and institutional infrastructure limitations and meet professional of the field. 

To know more visit: www.kenyalegalproject.com

The last speaker, Prof. Gustavo de Baggis from Argentina addressed "The Dilemma of Bear Arthur":

The issue presented originates in Argentina, with the current ethical and judicial dilemma between non-governmental animal protection organisations, state institutions, and public in general, because of the possibility to move the polar bear Arthur from the Mendoza zoo to a polar bear reservation in Canada, due to his poor living conditions in a climate zone not appropriate for the animal. Mendoza, the most important city in the Argentinian Andes, has a desert-like climate, with 8° in winter and 38° in summer. Arthur, a polar bear, has lived in Mendoza for 21 summers and he belongs to the fifth generation of his family which has been born in captivity. Last summer, perhaps the hottest in the last decades, Arthur suffered the heat and his critical condition became target of animal protection activists. As a result the precarious situation became known and the finger was pointed against the zoo for the lacking of adequate infrastructure to keep an animal coming from the Arctic.

The situation in this case is similar to many others worldwide, caused by the change of paradigm as regards animal protection and is analysed by Prof. De Baggis from a common point of contact between Arthur, the bear in captivity, and two paradigmatic figures such as the slave in Rome and the abandoned child or the child in crime situations in the ancient Argentinian legislation. 

Even though we have to acknowledge the gap in time and space, we can affirm that not only the slave, in old times, but also the child, in modern times, are considered imputation objects to law, without being considered full of rights (as the animals from ancient times to the present days). This hypothesis allows us to foresee in what way the human being has been changing his judicial thought in different times and historic contexts and how now in countries such as Bolivia and Ecuador, constitutional rank has been provided to animal protection. 

To find out more about the issue of bear Arthur visit:


Martina Pluda
Communications Officer
Master in Animal Law and Society
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

PANEL #7 Young Scholar Presentations

The Young Scholar Presentations have been presented by Steven Wise, the chair of the panel and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project.

The First presenter is Moe Honjo. She just finished two LL.M. degrees, in animal law and in environmental law. She has plans to continue her education an will be seeking a PhD in Japan. She spoke about Japanese animal law and the dramatic changes to animal shelters in Japan.

Japanese culture and Animal Shelters in Japan
Moe believes that the law should be the vehicle used to help increase animal welfare in Japan. Recently, the Japanese Animal Welfare Act was amended to include provisions for animal shelter staff.

History of animal shelters in Japan
Originally, animal shelters were built to kill animals. The shelter Moe visited in Kyoto had many dogs kept together in one cage. There were only 4-5 rooms and the facility was built so that no interaction between people and animals had to take place. This was because of a fear of rabies transmission. However, rabies has not been found in Japan for almost 60 years.

In Kyoto, there are no facilities for cats, only dogs. Thus, almost 70% of animals put down in shelters are cats. Because the shelter must put down so many animals, both cats and dogs, they do not have information about the specific animals in the shelter for fear of public criticism. This makes it hard for individuals to recover lost pets or find suitable companions. Some cities have started to rebuild their animal shelters. After 20 years of discussion on whether to rebuild, one shelter has been updated with both cat and multipurpose facilities.

Neko Cafe
Cat café’s have grown in popularity in Japan. It began as a business idea, but now they are turning into cat shelters. Normally, shelters are not built in middle of city because of dog barking, however cat café’s are okay since cats do not bark. Cat café’s are a place to relax, read books, and pet cats. To enter, one must pay a fee that allows the visitor to stay for a set duration of time. When the time is up, the visitor must purchase a drink or pay more money to stay longer.

Moe’s Book
Her book mainly discusses companion animals, but also discusses other animals in captivity. She hopes this will help expand Japan’s knowledge about other animals and see similarities between the pets they love and animals such as pigs and cows.

The second speaker is Lois Lelanchon, who is a PhD candidate at the UAB and works for Humane Society International.

He is speaking about the comparison between French and Spanish animal law. Spain and France are both civil law countries and animals are either considered as moveable or immovable assets depending on where they are located. The exception is in Catalonia, Spain where animals are not considered things, but there is no expression of what they are considered to be.

Wild animals living in the wild are not covered by anti-cruelty provisions in either France or Spain.

The definition of domestic animal in France is an animal that lives under human surveillance and not only under his roof. The list of domestic animals is based on artificial selection, and not on the fact of keeping the animal.  On the other hand, in Spain, it is not as clear what animals are considered “domestic.”

In France, if someone, in public or otherwise, seriously maltreats, including sexual maltreatment, towards an animal, or commits an act of cruelty on any domestic or tame animal, or any animal held in captivity,  it is punishable by two years imprisonment and a 30,000 euro fine. While in Spain, is someone unjustifiably maltreats a domestic or tame animal, causing it death or injuries likely to cause severe physical harm, it is punishable by only a 3 months – 1 year in jail.

Bullfighting in France was introduced in 1853 and gradually expanded. The maltreatment of domestic animals in public is prohibited, however the law was not enforced and then in 1951 bullfighting was specifically exempted from the cruelty law. The courts in France have upheld the practice of bullfighting. It is not only lawful but constitutional as well. There are 66 towns in France were bullfighting is specifically allowed.

In Spain, bullfighting’s origin is unclear. Animal protection laws do not cover bullfighting and bulls are not considered domestic animals. Bullfighting falls under “lawful shows” and the severe maltreatment that bulls endure is “justified” and therefore outside the scope of the cruelty law. Catalonia and the Canary Islands have been banned bullfighting, however it is still legal in Spain generally.

Cock Fighting
Cock fighting is also allowed in France and Spain. In France it has been lawful since 1964 and is a tradition in local communities. The criminal provisions in France do not apply to cock fighting.
In Spain, cock fighting is allowed in 3 autonomous communities: the Canary Islands, Murcia, and Andalusia.

We need to bring coherence between civil and criminal legal standards in these countries to legally acknowledge sentience of animals. Wild animals should be included in the scope of anti-cruelty laws. There should also be a legal recognition of their sentience. Moreover, penalties need to be increased for animal cruelty and the laws that exist need to be enforced. Cruel, but lawful practices severely undermine the value of animals. Education is necessary to increase awareness of these issues and bring about change.

The next presentation was by Christina Becares, a professor of UAB and a graduate in law and criminology. She completed the master’s program in Animal Law & Society and is part of the research group. Presenting with her is Maria Gonzales. She has formed a law firm exclusively dedicated to animal law in Spain. They will be giving an update of Spanish Animal Law.

Reports of dog abuse in Spain are always increasing. In 2008, there were 7,327 and in 2013, there were 13,809 reports of dog abuse. The current situation and challenges in Spanish law include: (1) that the law considers animals as things; (2) that animals receive different protection according to the autonomous community where they are located; (3) the practice of public administrations are not utilized or effective; and (4) jurisprudence about animal law legislation is still undeveloped and disorganized.

Legal Treatment As Things
The criminal code does not punish animal abuse when animals do not suffer or if the act is justified. Spanish courts are still limited in considering animals’ interests because they are considered “things” under the law. However, there has been some progress in Spain. For example, Catalonia has declared that animals are not things. Several autonomous communities recognize animals as sentient beings and in almost all communities live animals cannot be used for prizes, rewards, or publicity.

Animal Protection Level Depends on the Region
There is a different animal protection act in each autonomous community in Spain. For example, the deadline to recover a dog in Galicia is 20 days, while in Murcia, the deadline is only two days. Fines for infractions also vary greatly between communities. Progress has occurred with the new National Act for Commerce and Responsible Possession of Dogs and Cats, which bans the mutilation of animals, the sale of animals at pet shops, regulates donation contracts for animals, as well as for the transport of dogs and cats.

Administrative obstacles for animal protection
There is a lack of awareness about these issues, competency questions due to the complex political situation in Spain, difficulties with precautionary measures, reluctance to impose high fines, and administrative inaction. Public discouragement should continue to put pressure on authorities and institutions to act and prosecute abuse.

Increasing Jurisprudence still needs to be consolidated.
The general principle in Spain is that judicial interpretations are limited to the law in the civil law system and are bound to follow it. There has been progress in comparing abandonment of a child and of a dog by a judge. Additionally, sentences have been including secondary measures such as banning the abuser from working with animals, as well as acquiring or using them. There has also been recognition of moral damages when companion animals are injured or killed. Additionally, animal abuse can be an act of omission, as for the willful neglect to care for an animal.

The legal treatment of animals needs to reflect the treatment of animals according to their nature, as sentient beings. The legislative development of the criminal code and the National Act for Commerce and Responsible Possession of Dogs and Cats has been good, however there are areas that still need to be improved, as with the use of animals in entertainment, which is completely allowed. We must increase social awareness and encourage public administration to take action to benefit animals. However, we can see that animal law in Spain is progressing and we must continue this trend.

The final speaker was Samuel Leon Martinez. His degree is from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and he is currently pursuing a PhD. He has been published in the Harvard Law Review, as well as in other prestigious journals. He spoke about the progress and challenges of animal law in Mexico.

In the early 20th century, wetland protection was enacted to prevent the extinction of species. Today, local laws governing the protection of animals require reporting of animal abuse within 36 hours. An official Mexican standard law from 1995 regulates the humane slaughter of both wild and domestic animals. For example, food animals must be rendered senseless prior to death by electrodes, a captive bolt gun, or other means.

Federal laws regulate and protect animals in Mexico. Official transportation standards were enacted in 1995 detailing animal welfare during transportation. For example, chickens cannot be transported more than 100 per cage. It also provides for intervals of rest during long journeys for agricultural animals.

The law still does not regulate the sale of animals on public roads, the proof of purchase for pets, registration of domestic animals, micro chipping and vaccinating animals. There has also been strong resistance to regulate the breeding and selling of animals. The public market sells many wild animals such as turtles, eagles, serpents, etc., however there is no regulation over what animals are sold in these markets or where they come from.

In 2014, a law on protocol policing was enacted defining animal welfare as the state in which the animal has satisfied its health, behavior, and psychological needs, and provides that animals should be guaranteed the five freedoms determined by the Brambell Committee.

There is a total ban on animal circuses in 5 states, with 9 others that have enacted restrictions on animal circuses. There are many cases of animal cruelty in circuses, from starvation to amputations. PROFEPA implemented a national program to inspect circuses in 2013 and 2014. Out of the 63 circuses inspected, 38 had irregularities, and 96 animals were confiscated.

Regulations on bullfighting
3 states with municipalities have enacted bans;
5 states have declared bullfighting as a cultural heritage;
Only the state of Sonora has enacted a total ban on bullfighting.

Danielle Holt
LL.M. Animal Law
Lewis & Clark 

PANEL #6 Agricultural Animal Issues

Chair of this afternoon´s panel was Enrique Alonso, Permanent State Councillor of Spain.

The first speaker was Prof. David Cassuto on "Free Speech and Viewing Agricultural Animal Facilities":

What is an Ag-Gag Law? It is a law that seeks to criminalise the recordings, possession or distribution of material taken undercover from agricultural facilities. Of course producers do not want us to know what happens on their farms - and we all know what cruelties are being perpetrated - so they lobby fiercely the legislator to achieve the passing of laws to restrict and criminalise the exposure of such material. These abuses are not categorically different and we are talking of 10 billion plus animals every year.

The Ag-Gag Laws movement started in the 1980s. Rather than changing their behaviour, the agricultural facilities pushed to change the ability to know about them. In the USA, Iowa and Utah  had the first Ag-Gag Laws, but soon other states will follow. The interesting fact is that most of this behaviour was already illegal. You cannot go in a private facility and start taking pictures, you cannot misrepresent yourself in the hiring process, and so on. So why is it more illegal? The objective is to make it harder for activists to do what they do. With Ag-Gag Laws we set  higher penalties targeting specific content based behaviour. Actually the American Constitution protects the freedom of expression, so states try to tiptoe around these constitutional principles and who draws these laws is very smart and overleaps the constitutional challenge. But why? The legislators declare that the objective to protect the agricultural industry from inaccurate representation i.e. misrepresentation by dishonest activists. And why does the industry want to protect itself? These question is connected to the following ones: so are these laws constitutional? Why are we even having this argument? Why would it make sense to criminalise a behaviour which is already criminal and actually exposes acts, which are arguably criminal? Why do have this discussion if this behaviour (exposing material is so outrageous? Well beacuse the industry is not transparent.

A further issue connected with the Ag-Gag Laws is "the victim vacuum".  We have animal cruelty laws but who is the victim? If an animal is being tortured in front of a kid, it is considered "aggravated" beacuse the child had to witness the cruelty and brutality of the act. But in agriculture these billions of tortured animals are not victims. And even if the protection should reach them, we criminalize the exposure of the cruelty the undergo, thus creating a victim vacuum. Those who are perpetrating the cruelty lobby the legislator to get protection, therefore becoming the victims. The legal system has gone mad and the constitutional question is still open (in particular the Legal Defence Fund is actively working against the Ag-Gag Law in Utah).

For more information visit Prof. Cassuto´s blog: www.animalblawg.wordpress.com

Prof. Martine LaChance "Impacts of Religious Beliefs on the Protection of Animals"

To cover this issue we have to  start with the religious references. First of all the Islamic Law sources comprise the Koran and the Sunna of Muhammad; practicing Muslims are only allowed to eat Halal food. Secondly Jewish Law sources comprise the Bible, the Mishnah, and the Talmud; faithful Jews are only allowed to eat Kosher food. Furthermore we need to mention the prohibition against the consumption of blood. Bleeding is contrary to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam because it is a religious belief that all living creatures have and the soul is transmitted by blood. Regarding the prohibition of eating the flesh of a dead or damaged animal, as long as an animal shows signs of life, it may be bled and its flesh consumed by a Muslim or Jew; the practice of stunning is not allowed according to both religions for fear that the animal might not be alive anymore while it is bled.

The religious texts are silent about the manner of the slaughter. Yet, what is generally done follows a very precise ritual, some steps of which are: ensuring that the animal is alive, the performer must be a believing Muslim or Jew, he must repeat the mandatory religious invocation, the bleeding must be performed by a sharp instrument, the performer must accelerate the bleeding as soon s the animal has been immobilised in order to avoid pain and stress, he must act carefully to ensure that the tracheas artery, the oesophagus and the jugular veins have been cut. 

The markte for Halal products representas a €400 billion business: 9 billion in the USA, 4 in Germany, 3,5 in France and Great Britain. On the other hand the market for Kosher products represents a business of €147 billion in the USA alone; €5 billion in Europe. In spite of the economic element the commune position if many states shows that religion is not a sufficient justification to such animal suffering. Examples of countries that prohibit ritual slaughter without stunning are Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and also across the European Union.

The next speaker was Senior Researcher Brigitta Wahlberg, who talked about "The Regulation of Commercial Turkey Operations in Finland":

In this issue the difficulty is represented by the unclear understanding of the Finnish legal base to establish the competence, related to the legal status of poultry.

In Finland, during 2004-2007, 16 administrative actions were taken by the regional animal protection authority and local veterinarian offices (State Provincial Office) for turkey meat inspection control at slaughterhouses. Substantially the cases referred to the transportation and keeping of turkeys in a way that caused them undue pain and suffering (too long in the cage, too many animals per load, too cold/hot, too little space). Nine of these cases went up to the Administrative Court and three of them to the Supreme Administrative Court for final judgement. The Court confirmed the administrative decisions and interpretations of the law made by authorities were legally valid. During 2006-2007 four of the cases landed before the General Court for judgement. In two cases the slaughterhouse was punished for animal welfare offence, yet, none of the lawful decisions has been pu tinto effect. Why? The main arguments are two: the first one is that there is no scientific proof that this method causes undue suffering (of course the economical interests of the industry are a tool of massive lobbying) and the second one states that the position the turkeys have to assume in the transportation box is a natural low standing position of the animal.

Nevertheless, as a conclusion we can say that judicial decisions cannot be based on natural science or on the lack of it. The decisions have to be based on the law, and the law and legal understanding have to be changed over time. The future step must be to declare animals as legal subjects and grant them constitutional rights.

The final speaker was Prof. Peter Sankoff, who introduced the "Canadian Codes for Regulations of Agricultural Animals":

Animals in Agriculture in Canada: animal advocates have mostly won the battle over the question about whether we need regulation (we do), but this takes us to a more difficult level—a battle over control over regulatory process:

What message will we get from the regulatory process and how will it be enforced? Codes are necessary and good because general duties are the alternative and provide a general duty of care.
The role of the Codes:
They are not laws and have no law making power
They are partly educational.
They are designed to set a national understanding of care requirements

Strengths of Canada’s Codes:
They are better than nothing at all and they create a platform to engage in public dialogue. This changes the nature of the discussion, which is beneficial. Standards are created as a starting point for future structured discourse and change. These Codes eliminate the worst practices. They also create a scientific record, however they are not bound to follow what the science says is best. They guarantee industry “buy-in.”

Weaknesses of Codes:
They create an illusion of a neutral, scientific driven process conducted by the government, but they are written by the industry. The government, however, provides funding.
They create an illusion of a legal process. The Codes have no independent force and some provinces refer to Codes as providing “defense” to farmers who comply, while other jurisdictions may see them as evidence of reasonableness.
Codes should be mandatory in every jurisdiction.
The decisions are made by an “unbalanced table” consisting of many producers and very few animal welfare advocates/veterinarians.
Code development committees make value based decisions.
There is a 60 day public commentary process and there is no mandatory reporting of public comment or reply to the public.
There is no government oversight in any part of the process

General duty: benefit of the doubt always goes to the accused and thus they always win. It is almost impossible to penalize someone under a general standard. Prosecutors are hesitant to prosecute under general duties and judges are hesitant to convict

National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) is the agricultural industry made up of 90% of industry organizations and only 10% humane societies/veterinarians. There is no government involved in NFACC, and thus no government oversight. The industry is thus not accountable to the government.

Martina Pluda
Communications Officer
Master in Animal Law and Society
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

PANEL #5 Animal Issues Around the World

Day two of the Global Animal Law Conference starts with Prof. Heron José de Santana Gordilho introducing Panel #5, which will cover international topics from South Africa, Spain, and Australia. 

The first speaker, Prof. David Bilchitz, talked about "Animal Interests and South African Law: the Elephant in the Room?":

"At time, and in fear, I have wondered whether I should concede equal citizenship of our country to the leopard and the lion, the elephant and the springbok, the hyena, the black mamba and the pestilential mosquito. A human presence amongst all these, a feature on the face of our native land thus defined, I know that none dare challenge me when I say - I am an African." (Mbeki, 1996)

Although these inspiring words were pronounced, the drafters of the South African Constitution  1996 included no express mention to the interests of animals. So any protection must be implicit in the exiting provisions; this oblique approach has set the trend for the relationship between the law and animals.

If the interest of animals continues to be ignored, legal actors contribute towards the blindness of many human beings to their value and importance, limiting what could be achieved in advocating for better protection. Therefore, litigation and advocacy need to develop a strategy to ensure that animal interests are expressly mentioned by the legislator.

Will there be a constitutional revolution for animals? Much is unexplored in the new constitutional framework for animals (access to information, administrative justice). The constitutional revolution is sought to shake up the legal system and re-consider some of its basic assumptions. The CC has clearly emphasised the need to challenge arbitrary categorisations and to protect the vulnerable in society. Implications of these important holdings have not properly been applied to animals and the protection of their interests. It is time for a change!

The second speaker is Prof. Giménez-Candela, talking about "How Increasing Awareness of Animal Sentience Impacts Animal Law":

The three main questions are:
1. What is the importance of the reclassification of animals as things to animals as sentient beings?
2. Which legal texts have introduced animal sentience as a policy strategy?
3. What can we hope from the cooperation between veterinary scientists and jurists?

The most European codes still classify animals as things. The idea that animals as things can be used and abused comes directly from Roman Law. The concept to "have the most absolute use" is founded in the Napoleonic Code. We are now in a phase or reconceptualisation of animals as sentient beings, which reflect the scientific advances and citizen pressure. The expression of sentient being as a standard for regulating animal well-being is being finally implemented in many European legal texts. It is the key to interpret and analyse reality and apply this reality to the legislation. The real application of this expression is still weak though.

The transition to sentient beings is centred, or to better say, was born with the art. 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. For the first time animals are recognised in this text as sentient beings, before they were considered goods. Following this there are 3 schools to interpret art. 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon. According to the first point of view the treaty does not contain any constitutional elements. In contrast, the European Court of Justice has recognised the treaty as having constitutional elements. Thirdly, in view of other authors it is considered a post constitutional treaty. Consequently the legal interpretation shows that is is a treaty with constitutional elements and animal welfare is an ethical element in the treaty of Lisbon. Some countries have already (even before the treaty) transformed animals from things to non-things, such as Austria (ABGB 1998, Constitution 2004), Germany (BGB 1990, Constitution 2002), Switzerland (BGB 2000, Constitution 2004), and Catalunya.

Very important is the relation between veterinarians and lawyers. Why? If science has created the concept of sentience and we, the jurists, have adopted this concept in a legal context we have to pursue more cooperation between us. In science the discussion is oriented to find the best living conditions for the well being of animals. On the other hand, legal discussions do not worry about this optimum, rather on which conditions go over the frontier of criminal acts, of civil law violations. We ask ourselves what goes beyond the red line. So the difference between science and law is that science seeks the good conditions, law the bad ones; we have to gap this bridge. Science focuses on the animal, law more on the political process, but this process must take into account social values (socially acceptable levels of animal welfare). The fair relationship between humans and animals is one of these values. Scientist can provide significant aid to the debate by providing accurate information about animal welfare; lawyers can contribute by providing flexible concepts.

The third speaker, Prof. Alex Bruce, introduced the problematic of the "Australian Live Animal Export Industry".

What animals does Australia export, where and to what scale?
Australia is one of the world´s largest exporters of meat. The reason why is that the Asian market is booming, causing a huge demand for meat and Australia is trying to cash in to export more animals. The main importers are Indonesia (at number one), China, Israel, Vietnam, Malaysia, Russia, Philippines, and Japan. But most of these countries do not have the infrastructure to stock frozen meat and in many muslim countries they want only live animals because of ritual slaughtering, so this  is why Australia exports live animals. 68% of these exported animals are sheep, followed by beef, and goats. The total value of the live export is of € 520 million for beef cattle exports, € 119 million for sheep, and of € 55 million for goats.

Because of its geography the issues arising are many. First of all the distance to destination represents a big difficulty for the animals, related to the difference of hemispheres between Australia and importing countries, causing heat stress and a lot of on board mortality. There are also difficulties in creating animal welfare standards in importing countries, which in many cases do not comply with the international standards. Most animal voyages last weeks, animals are crammed one on top of the other, they are fed a pellet mixture before going on board, causing a lot of sickness on board, are often not fed anymore, suffer from the heat, and are then brutally treated upon arrival.

Australia has inherited UK laws and there is no federal constitutional power to regulate animal welfare, therefore there is no Federal Animal Welfare Act. It is responsibility of the 8 states to regulate this matter. The Australian legal structure is a complex framework of hard and soft law. with a very uncertain relationship between Federal Statutes, Orders and Standards.

So the issues arising are the following:
The regulatory complexity;
The geographical distance;
The intense media scrutiny;
Different standards of importing countries.

To conclude the question is: why is there so much resistance to change? Cultural inertia! Australia has a long tradition in animal agriculture, which is embedded in the population´s psyche.

Martina Pluda
Communications Officer
Master in Animal Law and Society
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

the reception

Thursday, July the 10th the attendees and the speakers of the II Global Animal Law Conference (Barcelona, 10th-11th of July 2014), have been invited by the Department for the Protection of Animals of the Municipality of Barcelona (Oficina de Protección de los Animales del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona) for a glass of Cava in the beautiful rooms of the city hall, wich houses the headquarters of the city government since 14th century. It was a pleasure for all to attend the reception and receive such a warm welcome both from the organizers of the conference, Prof. Teresa Giménez-Candela of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Prof. David Favre of the Michigan State University College of Law, as well as from Mr. Carles Domingo, who - representing the mayor - kindly showed participants the Medieval building in all its original splendor. In his welcome speech, Mr. Domingo underlined the importance of the work related to the protection of animal welfare, which has been done until now and all that still needs to be done, in the perspective of a civic coexistence which takes in consideration both the respect for people and the respect for animals, whether pets or not. To this regard we have to mention that the Municipality of Barcelona is the only one in the whole of Spain to have a department for the protection of animals; thanks to their collaboration with the SGR Research Group ADS (Animals, Laws, and Society) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, pets are now allowed to access urban public transportation means. 

This much-appreciated event is proof of Barcelona´s renowned tradition for respect and openness; therefore we thank the Municipality of Barcelona for its support to the II Global Animal Law Conference and to the recent achievements related to animal protection and welfare. 

Martina Pluda

Communications Officer
Master en Derecho Animal y Sociedad
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


Featured Speakers #2

Updates on Litigation Filed on Behalf of Chimpazees

Prof. Steven Wise

Chair of the last session of today was Joyce Tischler, Founder of the Animal Legal Defence Fund, who introduced Prof. Steven Wise, the President of the Nonhuman Rights Project, as a friend and as a great achiever in his pursuit to create legal personhood for animals.

The Nonhuman Rights Project is an organization working toward actual legal rights for nonhuman animals. Their mission is to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from things to persons, who possess fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them. Their first cases were filed in 2013.

But to tell us where the Nonhuman Rights Project is at right now, Prof. Wise told us first where it all started from: in the early work he did with/for the Animal Legal Defence Fund. During this period he realised how the relationship between man and animal is the same between master and slave. This was an insight that led Prof. Wise to study the development of slavery and its abolition, such as the case of the African slave James Somerset, who was able to undergo a legal transubstantiation. He stepped in the court room as a thing and left it as a person. Therefore in the 1990s Wise started to think of how the concept of habeas corpus, present in the James Somerset case, could be extended to persuade a court that a non human animal was no longer a legal thing but a legal person. From these thoughts in 1985 to the practice, it took Prof. Wise 29 years to finally presume that he would have a reasonable chance of winning before the court. Finally, in 2007 Prof. Wise decided that the Nonhuman Rights Project had to take action and he has been able to attract a very good multidisciplinary team of lawyers, students, scientists, sociologists, media people, etc. to actively work on it. The team had to then decide which states they wanted to litigate in; to figure this out, they had more than 60 legal issues and 3000 legal questions, which would indicate in which State they were going to have the highest rate of success. The final 6 states were finally chosen, and number one  on the list was the State of New York. They decided to focus on 2 chimpanzees of a road-side zoo in the State New York. Unfortunately both of them died shortly after and the litigation could not be pursued. Hit by the news the team decide to move faster and file habeas corpus for all the chimpanzees in the State of New York, which at the moment were 5, now 4.

On December 2nd 2013 the Nonhuman Rights Project began its legal journey and issued the following press release:

Dec. 2, 2013 – New York, NY – The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) announced today that it has filed the first-ever lawsuits on behalf of captive chimpanzees demanding that the courts grant them the right to bodily liberty via a writ of habeas corpus. The suits, filed in New York Supreme Court, are based on scientific evidence proving that chimpanzees are self-aware and autonomous, and therefore entitled to be recognized as “legal persons” with certain fundamental legal rights.
The four captive chimpanzee plaintiffs, all located in the state of New York, are:
  • Tommy – a 26-year-old chimpanzee living in a used trailer lot in Gloversville, NY, isolated in a cage in a dark shed on the owner’s property.
  • Hercules and Leo – two young male chimpanzees owned by New Iberia Research Center, used in a locomotion research experiment in the Anatomy Department at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY.
  • Kiko – a 26-year-old chimpanzee living in Niagara Falls, NY, on private property where he is caged and was previously used in the entertainment industry.
The lawsuits ask the judge to grant the chimpanzees the right to bodily liberty and to order that they be moved to a sanctuary that’s part of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), where they can live out their days with others of their kind in an environment as close to the wild as is possible in North America.
“No one has ever demanded a legal right for a nonhuman animal, until now,” said Steven M. Wise, founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project. “When we go to court on behalf of the first chimpanzee plaintiffs, we’ll be asking judges to recognize, for the first time, that these cognitively complex, autonomous beings have the basic legal right to not be imprisoned.”
Legal claims made by the Nonhuman Rights Project are rooted in genetic, cognitive, physiological, evolutionary and taxonomic evidence that the plaintiffs are self-aware and autonomous. The species has been studied long and extensively by some of the world’s most well-respected scientists. The organization is seeking rights that are appropriate for the plaintiffs based on existing scientific evidence.
“Not long ago, people generally agreed that human slaves could not be legal persons, but were simply the property of their owners,” attorney Wise continued. “We will assert, based on clear scientific evidence, that it’s time to take the next step and recognize that these nonhuman animals cannot continue to be exploited as the property of their human ‘owners.’
“Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said that ‘in giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.’”
The cases filed today are the first in a series that the Nonhuman Rights Project plans to file throughout the United States on behalf of captive animals who are scientifically proven to be self-aware and autonomous. Those include great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos), elephants and cetaceans (dolphins and whales).

To follow the cases visit the archive of the document archive of the Nonhuman Rights Project; to have an insight in Prof. Wise´s work, check out this video by the New York Times:

Martina Pluda
Communications Officer
Master in Animal Law and Society
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Featured Speakers #1

The GAL Project 

Antoine Goetschel, President of GAL 
Sabine Brels, Manager of GAL

GAL is a brand new online platform that invites everybody to make realistic and visionary - even utopian - proposals to improve the legal conditions of animals at international , national, regional, and local level. These animal law and welfare proposals can range from the protection of farm animals, pet animals, animals in sports, to wild animals. 

GAL also proposes a list of global animal law experts and international animal law platforms, as well as offering a complete database of actual legislation from around the globe. Even here anyone can contribute to the page by sending any useful source, text, provision from his/her own county in order to benefit the international community dedicated to this field. 

GAL believes that animals have their own language and we have problems in understanding what they tell us; it is not enough for us to just love them. Unfortunately money rules the world and animals pay the price, for this reason they should be included in the constitutions of all states and be recognised as the third category. GAL strengthens majorities to make animal laws stronger because animals do need a voice in animal procedures. Why do we protect animals? Bentham said because they can suffer, Smith said because they have dignity, whilst Utopians say that a good use of animals is no use of animals.

GAL believes that the best way to predict the future is to create it with collaborative effort and joint thinking.

Martina Pluda
Communications Officer
Master in Animal Law and Society
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

PANEL #3 Teaching Animal Law

The chair of the first panel of the afternoon, Natasha Dolezal, is the Director of the Animal Law LL.M. Program at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon (USA). The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) is dedicated to teaching the next generation of animal law attorneys.

The first speaker, Professor Maria Baideldinova, is speaking about her experiences in "Teaching Animal Law for the First Time in Kazakhstan". She teaches at KIMEP University in Kazakhstan. She is a legal consultant to many NGOs and promotes animal law reform in Kazakhstan:

The legal system in the Republic of Kazakhstan is quite new. Traditionally an agricultural country, there are hundreds of legal acts on human-animal interaction, but not a single law about animals themselves. Animals are not considered as having value per se and there are also no animal anti-cruelty laws. Furthermore, animal law is not established as an academic or scientific discipline. However, a CIS model law on treating animals was introduced as a draft law in 2007.

The KIMEP University was established in 1992 and is a leading English university, with a faculty from over 20 different countries. It is an independent, non-profit institution serving a multicultural and multinational student body. The University is situated in the center of Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.

Maria Baideldinova introduced the first course in animal law, which was originally offered in the spring of 2013. It was an elective course within the LL.B program and can be taken by both law and non-law students. So far 90 students have taken the course. David Favre supported and brought inspiration to Maria to teach the course, which analyzes animal law as a dynamic developing discipline.

The learning objectives of the course are to learn the substance and principles of existing law as it addresses nonhuman animals in Kazakhstan. The course also includes complex debates about animal law and the ethics and legal philosophy about animals.

Course materials include: storytelling (D. Stewart, The Limits of Trooghaft); videos (Meet koko, PBS’ The Natural History of the Chicken, BBC’s Secret Life of the Dog, and some PETA videos); readings (D. Favre, A. Akhtar, A. Cochrane, GJAL Survey, Animallaw.info); in-class discussions; and activities, such as zoo visits to see first hand the welfare of animals in zoos as compared to in their natural habitat. Veterinary specialists, as well as animal trainers, give guest lectures to the students. Every student has the opportunity to volunteer at local NGO rescue operations for dogs. The course has received great student feedback and has increased student awareness about animal sentience. Maria Baideldinova will offer the course every year and continue to help it grow.

The second speaker is Tagore Trajano, who is from Brazil and has a Ph.D. in animal law. Dr. Trajano is an expert in Brazilian law, bioethics and animal law issues. He is an attorney in Brazil and has published articles in both Brazil and in the United States on animal law. He is speaking today about "How to Bring Animal Law to the Classrooms of Brazil".

There are two key questions about the origins and development of animal law, a new subject in Brazil. How can Brazilians expand this field of knowledge? What are the steps to introduce a new law paradigm that is pro-animal in Brazil in the law school? One must remember that Brazil has traditional conceptions of the law and animal law is a new concept in Brazil. Traditional and modern professors will often have different points of view on the subject.

Philosophical Background
The philosophical framework of animal law came from British heritage. Peter Singer was pushing the concept of animal law to shift the paradigm and create opportunities; open new discussions; and learn and change standard education.

Brazil v. US development of animal law
In the United States the number of institutions offering animal law courses is increasing dramatically and is recognized as a unique subject requiring full time professors. Publications were encouraged and animal law became a principal subject in more conservative colleges such as Duke and Harvard, which helped foster the creation of research groups to study legal considerations surrounding animals.

On the other hand, in Brazil the students are offered diverse perspectives on animal treatment instead of simply concentrating on existing law. Brazilian schools do not prioritize philosophical or personal approaches to animal law. Many conferences are held to try and revolutionize the traditional concepts in the Brazilian civil law system. Animal law is being taught, not as “animal law” specifically, but is included in philosophical discussions.

Minimum curriculum at the graduate level includes a movement for animal rights, development of anti-cruelty laws, improvement in state and federal laws, information on animal experimentation and vivisection, the use of animals in entertainment, religious, and educational purposes, as well as humane slaughter. At the postgraduate level, there should be an international overview of animal law, which should be a distinct subject that encompasses a total perspective.

The law must consider a nonhuman interest in law context.
Brazilian obstacles to this:
There are a huge number of law schools (more in Brazil than in the rest of Latin America, totaling more than 1200)
Revolution to bring new perspective for Brazilians to consider animal law as a new field:
Steps: animal law is not considered a field for attorneys, people still think Brazilians have more crucial issues to address than animal law; neither public nor private funding exists to encourage development in this field of study.

So the final question is: how do you bring animal law to classroom of Brazil? One must show this subject is an autonomous subject.

The third speaker Carlos Contreras, who is from Columbia and received his PhD in animal law from the UAB. He is discussing "How the Master’s Degree in Animal Law & Society at the UAB Enhances the Legal Knowledge About Animals in a Global Context".

There are two important ideas to remember about the Master’s Program in Animal Law & Society in Barcelona, Spain: The Masters is taught from a legal point of view even though students come from different backgrounds and specialties. Second, the Master’s program is global, from the students to the professors and staff. This year will start the fourth edition of the masters.

The staff includes, Daniel Parsons, a student from Brown, with a degree in History, academic coordinator, Teresa Gimenez-Candela is the director of the Program, Carlos Contreras himself, and Martina Pluda, coordinator of communication. The Master’s Program is taught in the law faculty building (Facultat de Dret). The Master’s Program is taught by professionals from the subject they will be teaching. Visiting professors from around the world, such as professors from France and the US. David Favre, is well known professor of animal law from Michigan State University. Steven Wise, founder of the nonhuman rights project has taught at the Masters, along with Pamela Frasch and Kathy Hessler come to speak at the Masters as well.

Both the professors and the students are very international. Barcelona is becoming a center for animal law education in Europe, as it offers the only Master’s in Animal Law in Europe. Students from Latin America, Slovenia, Italy, France, Mexico all come to study at the Program. The Program collaborates closely with the veterinary faculty, a very prestigious faculty at the UAB, updates the students on animal behavior and animal welfare standards, which have been scientifically developed. It is important for students to know sentience based upon scientific facts along with the legal viewpoint.

Resources of the UAB are available to the students. There is an amazing library, as well as articles and books written by the professors, who are from all over the world. The students write articles and book reviews, which are published by the students on the Master’s Program website, www.derechoanimal.info. Students must complete final projects, which are published to enlarge the animal law field more and more with each edition of the Masters.

The fourth speaker is Pamela Frasch, the Assistant Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School. She is speaking on building an education center in animal law. She is the exec director of animal law studies at the university. She has taught animal law since 1998 and first publisher of animal law legal book in the US.

In the USA 150 law schools offer at least one animal law course, there are 200 accredited law schools, only 9 schools offered course in 2000, 177 SALDF chapters up from 12 in 2000, and 6 academic journals solely dedicated to animal law.

Why is there an increased popularity of animal law education?
The reasons are many: 
Growing body of literature;
Acknowledge link between animal and human violence;
Treat companion animals as family leads to increased awareness (When asked who would you rather be on deserted island with, 60% said they would rather be there with their pet than their spouse);
Growth of pet industry—dog/cat = gateway animal to other species.

Over 20 years ago Lewis & Clark began with animal law, thanks also to the willingness of local attorneys to serve as adjunct professors and to the increase in student groups and the creation of specialty animal law studies. Nevertheless there are still challenges to overcome: animal law is still considered a fringe field, we need funding for new classes, find employment for recent graduates, there are too few tenured professors choosing animal law, dwindling applications to law school and fewer tuition dollars and more online students.

Leverage student interest, engage professors in related fields, reach out to colleagues at other schools, publish animal law articles in mainstream journals, work with human-animal studies at undergraduate and graduate level, involve law school deans and influential professors, fundraise.

Future plans for CALS:
Develop internships and externships, encourage interdisciplinary scholarship, secure funding to endow professorship in animal law, partner with other academic institutions like the UAB and provide assistance to other law schools seeking to grow their animal law program, and increase international collaboration.

Danielle Holt
LL.M. Animal Law
Lewis & Clark