Animal Rights - Animal Law

Animal rights - Wikipedia

Animal rights


Animal rights is the idea that some, or all, non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings.[3] Advocates oppose the assignment of moral value and fundamental protections on the basis of species membership alone—an idea known since 1970 as speciesism, when the term was coined by Richard D. Ryder—arguing that it is a prejudice as irrational as any other.[4] They maintain that animals should no longer be viewed as property or used as food, clothing, research subjects, entertainment, or beasts of burden.[5]


Advocates approach the issue from a variety of perspectives. The abolitionist view is that animals have moral rights, which the pursuit of incremental reform may undermine by encouraging human beings to feel comfortable with using them. Gary Francione's abolitionist position promotes ethical veganism. He argues that animal rights groups that pursue welfare concerns, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), risk making the public feel comfortable about its use of animals. He calls such groups "the new welfarists." PETA argues that Francione's criticism does little to help alleviate the suffering of individual animals and also trivializes the efforts of workers in the field who handle cruelty cases. It also creates divisiveness within the animal liberation movement instead of focusing on shared goals.[6] Tom Regan, as a deontologist, argues that at least some animals are "subjects-of-a-life", with beliefs, desires, memories, and a sense of their own future, who must be treated as ends in themselves, not as means to an end.[7] Sentiocentrism is the theory that sentient individuals are the subject of moral concern and therefore are deserving of rights. Protectionists seek incremental reform in how animals are treated, with a view to ending animal use entirely, or almost entirely. This position is represented by the philosopher Peter Singer. As a preference utilitarian, Singer's focus is not on moral rights, but on the argument that animals have interests—particularly an interest in not suffering—and that there is no moral or logical reason not to award those interests equal consideration. Multiple cultural traditions around the world—such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism—also espouse some forms of animal rights.

In parallel to the debate about moral rights, animal law is now widely taught in law schools in North America, and several prominent legal scholars[who?] support the extension of basic legal rights and personhood to at least some animals. The animals most often considered in arguments for personhood are bonobos and chimpanzees. This is supported by some animal rights academics because it would break through the species barrier, but opposed by others because it predicates moral value on mental complexity, rather than on sentience alone.[8]

Critics of animal rights argue that animals are unable to enter into a social contract, and thus cannot be possessors of rights, a view summed up by the philosopher Roger Scruton, who writes that only humans have duties, and therefore only humans have rights.[9] A parallel argument, known as the utilitarian position, is that animals may be used as resources so long as there is no unnecessary suffering; they may have some moral standing, but they are inferior in status to human beings, and insofar as they have interests, those interests may be overridden, though what counts as necessary suffering or a legitimate sacrifice of interests varies considerably.[10] Certain forms of animal rights activism, such as the destruction of fur farms and animal laboratories by the Animal Liberation Front, have also attracted criticism, including from within the animal rights movement itself,[11] as well as prompted reaction from the U.S. Congress with the enactment of the "Animal Enterprise Protection Act (amended in 2006 by the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act)".[12]


Background factors, such as gender, occupation, type and level of education, and religion, may condition one's attitudes towards the nature, moral significance, and rights of animals.[citation needed] Read more


Cruelty to animals

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense. More narrowly, it can be harm for specific gain, such as killing animals for food or for their fur, although opinions differ with respect to the method of slaughter. Diverging viewpoints are held by jurisdictions throughout the world. Read more


Vivisection (from Latin: vivus — "alive," and sectio — "cutting") is defined as surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure. The term is sometimes more broadly defined as any experimentation on live animals (see animal testing.) The term is often used by organizations opposed to animal experimentation but is rarely used by practicing scientists. Human vivisection has been perpetrated as a form of torture. Read more


Animal welfare

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals. It is measured by indicators including behavior, physiology, longevity, and reproduction.

The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights. This position is measured by attitudes to different types of animal uses.

Systematic concern for animal welfare can be based on awareness that non-human animals are sentient and that consideration should be given to their well-being, especially when they are used by humans. These concerns can include how animals are killed for food, how they are used for scientific research, how they are kept as pets, and how human activities affect the survival of endangered species.

An ancient object of concern in some civilizations, animal welfare began to take a larger place in Western public policy in 19th-century Britain. Today it is a significant focus of interest or activity in veterinary science, in ethics, and in animal welfare organizations.

There are two forms of criticism of the concept of animal welfare, coming from diametrically opposite positions. One view, dating back centuries, asserts that animals are not consciously aware and hence are unable to experience poor welfare. The other view is based on the animal rights position that animals should not be regarded as property and any use of animals by humans is unacceptable. Some authorities thus treat animal welfare and animal rights as two opposing positions. Accordingly, some animal right proponents argue that the perception of better animal welfare facilitates continued and increased exploitation of animals. Others see the increasing concern for animal welfare as incremental steps towards animal rights. Read more





Animal Welfare Act of 1966

The Animal Welfare Act (Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966, P.L. 89-544) was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 24, 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research and exhibition. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act (otherwise known as the "AWA") as the minimally acceptable standard for animal treatment and care.

As enacted in 1966, AWA required all animal dealers to be registered and licensed as well as liable to monitoring by Federal regulators and suspension of their license if they violate any provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and imprisonment of up to a year accompanied by a fine of $1,000. All facilities covered by the Animal Welfare Act were required to establish a specialized committee that included at least one person trained as a veterinarian and one not affiliated with the facility. They were to regularly assess animal care, treatment, and practices during research and required to inspect all animal study areas at least twice a year. Such committees also were required to assure that alternatives to animal use in experimentation is implemented whenever possible.

Although hygienic living conditions were necessary for animals not during experimentation to prevent unintentional infection, there were no such provisions against intentionally infecting animal subjects with disease for the purpose of the experiment.

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Animal Welfare Institute (AWI)

Since its founding in 1951, AWI has sought to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by people. In the organization's early years, our particular emphasis was on the desperate needs of animals used for experimentation. In the decades that followed, we expanded the scope of our work to address many other areas of animal suffering.

Today, one of our greatest areas of emphasis is cruel animal factories, which raise and slaughter pigs, cows, chickens and other animals. The biggest are in our country, and they are expanding worldwide.

Another major AWI effort is our quest to end the torture inflicted on furbearing animals by steel jaw leghold traps and wire snares. AWI continues its work to protect animals in laboratories including promotion of development of non-animal testing methods and prevention of painful experiments on animals by high school students. Representatives of AWI regularly attend meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to fight for protection of threatened and endangered species. Similarly, we attend meetings of the International Whaling Commission to preserve the ban on commercial whaling, and we work to protect all marine life against the proliferation of human-generated ocean noise including active sonar and seismic air guns.

AWI works to minimize the impacts of all human actions detrimental to endangered species, including the destruction of natural forests containing ancient trees, and pollution of the oceans destroying every kind of marine life. Read more


Animal Welfare Institute (AWI)


The Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL), the legislative arm of the Animal Welfare Institute. SAPL has worked for the successful adoption of over 15 federal laws, including the Animal Welfare Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Humane Slaughter Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Society continues to defend existing laws, oppose bills that threaten animals and work for new protective measures, following through after they are enacted to ensure sound regulation and sufficient funds for enforcement. Current efforts include pushing for the passage of bills to ban horse slaughter, end the sale of random source dogs and cats by dealers and prohibit the use of the steel-jaw leghold trap.

Additionally, to highlight Members of Congress’ stances on animal welfare legislation, SAPL created the Compassion Index (CI). Available online at, the frequently updated electronic tally system rates legislators based on their involvement or lack thereof on certain animal welfare measures. Read more

Humane Society of the United States

Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), based in Washington, D.C., is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world. In 2009, HSUS reported assets of over US$160 million.

The journalist Fred Myers and three others founded HSUS in 1954 to address what they saw as cruelties of national scope, and resolving animal welfare problems by applying strategies beyond the ability of local organizations. HSUS operates animal sanctuaries in five states. It does not run local shelters or oversee local animal care and control agencies, but promotes best practice and provides assistance to shelters and sheltering programs. The group's current major campaigns target five issues: factory farming, animal fighting, the fur trade, puppy mills, and wildlife abuse.

HSUS publishes Animal Sheltering, a bi-monthly magazine for animal sheltering professionals. HSUS distributed the magazine to more than 450,000 people in 2009. It also operates the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, which provides free veterinary services for animals in impoverished communities. more


Humane Society of the United States, Official Website

PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights. Read more

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA; stylized PeTA) is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A nonprofit corporation with 300 employees, it claims that it has 3 million members and supporters and is the largest animal rights group in the world. Its slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way."[3]


Founded in March 1980, by Newkirk and fellow animal rights activist Alex Pacheco, the organization first caught the public's attention in the summer of 1981 during what became known as the Silver Spring monkeys case, a widely publicized dispute about experiments conducted on 17 macaque monkeys inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. The case lasted ten years, involved the only police raid on an animal laboratory in the United States, triggered an amendment in 1985, to that country's Animal Welfare Act, and established PETA as an internationally known organization.[4] Today it focuses on four core issues—opposition to factory farming, fur farming, animal testing, and animals in entertainment. It also campaigns against eating meat, fishing, the killing of animals regarded as pests, the keeping of chained backyard dogs, cock fighting, dog fighting, and bullfighting.[5]


The group has been the focus of controversy, both inside and outside the animal rights movement. Newkirk and, formerly, Pacheco are seen as the leading exporters of animal rights to the more traditional animal-protection groups in the United States, but sections of the movement nonetheless say that PETA is not radical enough—law professor Gary Francione lists the group among what he calls "the new welfarists", arguing that its work with industries to achieve reform, which continues in the tradition of Henry Spira, makes it an animal welfare group, not an animal rights group.[6] Newkirk told Salon in 2001 that PETA works toward the ideal but tries in the meantime to provide carrot-and-stick incentives.[7] There has also been criticism from feminists within the movement about the use of scantily clad women in PETA's anti-fur campaigns and others, but as Norm Phelps notes, "Newkirk has been consistent in her response. No one, she says, is being exploited. Everyone ... is an uncoerced volunteer. Sexual attraction is a fact of life, and if it can advance the animals' cause, she makes no apologies for using it." Also, Phelps notes that some activists believe that the group's media stunts trivialize animal rights, but he qualifies this by saying, "it's hard to argue with success and PETA is far and away the most successful cutting-edge animal rights organization in the world." Newkirk's view is that PETA has a duty to be "press sluts". She argues, "It is our obligation. We would be worthless if we were just polite and didn't make any waves."[8] Read more


Animal Law - Animal Law Review

Animal law

Animal law is a combination of statutory and case law in which the nature—legal, social or biological—of nonhuman animals is an important factor. Animal law encompasses companion animals, wildlife, animals used in entertainment and animals raised for food and research. The emerging field of animal law is often analogized to the environmental law movement 30 years ago. Read more

Animal Law Review
Lewis & Clark Law School
10015 S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard
Portland Oregon 97219 USA


Animal Law Review


Animal Law Review is a law review covering animal law published by students at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Publishing its first volume in 1994, it was the first law review to focus on animal law issues and is the best known journal in its field. It has featured articles by noted legal scholars such as Laurence H. Tribe and Cass R. Sunstein as well as experts such as Jane Goodall. Read more

The Humane Slaughter Act - 7 U.S.C. Chapter 48

NOTE: "Although more than 168 million chickens (excluding broilers) and around 9 billion broiler chickens are killed for food in the United States yearly,[3] the Humane Slaughter Act specifically mentions only cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep and swine.[4]"

Humane Slaughter Act



The Humane Slaughter Act, or the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act, (P.L. 85-765; 7 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.) is a United States federal law designed to decrease suffering of livestock during slaughter. It was approved on August 27, 1958.[1] The most notable of these requirements is the need to have an animal completely sedated and insensible to pain. This is to minimize the suffering to the point where the animal feels nothing at all, instead losing a consciousness from which it will never awaken. This differs from animal to animal as size increases and decreases. Larger animals such as bovine require a stronger method than chickens, for example. Bovine require electronarcosis or something equally potent, though electronarcosis remains a standard. The bovine would have a device placed on its head that, once activated, sends an electric charge that efficiently and safely stuns the animal.[2] Chickens, on the other hand, require much less current to be efficiently sedated and are given a run under electrically charged water. To ensure that these guidelines are met, The Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors at slaughtering plants are responsible for overseeing compliance, and have the authority to stop slaughter lines and order plant employees to take corrective actions. Although more than 168 million chickens (excluding broilers) and around 9 billion broiler chickens are killed for food in the United States yearly,[3] the Humane Slaughter Act specifically mentions only cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep and swine.[4]


Due to several reports of alleged non-compliance with these regulations and safety protocols, originating in the early 2000s, specifically late 2002[citation needed]. This caused the FSIS to assign additional veterinarians to various district offices to allow monitoring and alleging significant non-compliance, FSIS assigned additional veterinarians to its district offices specifically to monitor slaughter and handling procedures and to report to their headquarters about any issues of compliance. This has been the case ever since, as Congress passed a bill in 2002, The 2002 farm bill, that requires a compliance report to be submitted annually. In 2003, the initiative increased further as, in the FY in 2003, Congress voted in another $5 million operation to the FSIS effort and increased the amount of compliance inspectors by 50. Language in the FY 2004 consolidated appropriations act directs FSIS to continue fulfilling that mandate, and the FY2005 budget request calls for another $5 million to be allocated for enforcement activities. Despite these requirements in place, reports from January 2004 GAO have noted that there is still alleged non-compliance. These were narrowed down to select states that issues of non-compliance still allegedly persist (GAO-04-247). Earlier concerns about humane treatment of non-ambulatory (downer) cattle at slaughter houses became irrelevant when FSIS issued regulations in January 2004 (69 FR 1892) prohibiting them from being slaughtered and inspected for use as human food.[5] Read more


7 USC Ch. 48 - Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter, LII

Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA; 7 U.S.C. § 136, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.) is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation."

The Act is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read more




Florida Panther, endangered subspecies

Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 Wikipedia

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) was the first act of Congress to call specifically for an ecosystem approach to natural resource management and conservation. MMPA prohibits the taking of marine mammals, and enacts a moratorium on the import, export, and sale of any marine mammal, along with any marine mammal part or product within the United States. The Act defines "take" as "the act of hunting, killing, capture, and/or harassment of any marine mammal; or, the attempt at such." The MMPA defines harassment as "any act of pursuit, torment or annoyance which has the potential to either: a. injure a marine mammal in the wild, or b. disturb a marine mammal by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering." The MMPA provides for enforcement of its prohibitions, and for the issuance of regulations to implement its legislative goals. Read more

Are animals considered "property" under the law?

Why shouldn’t animals be considered "property" under the law?
By Doris Lin,

Question: Why shouldn’t animals be considered "property" under the law?

Answer: In most cases, you have a legal right to destroy your own property. If someone decides to chop up their kitchen table and use it for firewood, that is their legal right. But if someone abuses or neglects an animal, they should be criminally prosecuted.


Animals should not be considered property under the law because unlike inanimate objects, they are sentient beings with their own lives and interests. Although criminal statutes already prohibit animal cruelty, there are other reasons to recognize that animals should not be considered property under the law.

For example, in divorce situations, the individuals may want to arrange visitation with the animals. If a dispute ever arose over the visitation arrangement, a judge could easily invalidate the provision if the animal is just a piece of property. People do not arrange visitation with their old kitchen tables. But as the law begins to recognize that animals are not property, more animal visitation agreements may be upheld and enforced in the future.

In a situation where someone intentionally or negligently kills your companion animal, a court may award "fair market value" for the destruction of your property, which may be $50, $25 or less. It does not matter that your animal is a unique and treasured family member. Even if your animal is a purebred, if your animal is a mere piece of property, the court may decide that the fair market value of your animal is only a couple hundred dollars. These amounts do not deter crimes or negligence.

Most Americans consider their animals to be part of the family, so changing the property status of animals would update the law to reflect societal values.

The information on this website is not legal advice and is not a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.
Read more

Valerie Sued UF College of Veterinary Medicine

Ms. Valerie E. Maddix sued the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in small claims court over the treatment of her German Shepherd  Casey.


Unrelated to the lawsuit, UF-CVM refunded $1,700 to Ms. Maddix.

Casey catching a snooze




Maddix vs. UF College of Veterinary Medicine, Alachua County Small Claims, case no. 2001-SC-001341

Paws 4 You Rescue, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer, donor-subsidized animal rescue organization based in Miami, Florida.  Our top priority is to save animals from euthanasia at Miami-Dade Animal Services. On average 100 animals are destroyed every day at this county shelter!

Rescued animals vary from being sick, injured, homeless and surrendered to simply lost. We give these animals a safe environment, professional medical care, training, support, hope and lots of love. Our animals are sterilized, vaccinated and ID micro-chipped to prevent future loss. Some require major surgery from a specialist to repair broken limbs while others may need additional rehabilitation time and specific medical care - ranging from respiratory illnesses and skin infections to cherry eyes and heartworm treatments. Read more

After Seeing Dashcam Video of Deputy Shooting Family Dog, Jury Awards $620K in Civil Rights Case
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Martha Neil
April 4, 2012

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says his deputy "has felt bad ... since day one" about shooting a family pet of Roger and Sandi Jenkins (no relation) on Jan. 9, 2010 at their Taneytown, Md., home.

But that doesn't mean Timothy Brooks did anything wrong by defending himself against their chocolate Labrador retriever, Brandi, as he and a partner attempted to locate the couple's son at their home, the sheriff tells the Washington Post (reg. req.).

A jury did not agree, awarding the couple $620,000 on Monday in a civil rights case that turned on whether or not they had permission to search the property, says their lawyer, Cary J. Hansel, of Joseph Greenwald and Laake. Rebekah Lusk of the Thienel Law Firm also represents the family.

The News-Post says the jury found that both the shooting of the dog and a subsequent entry of the Jenkins home by the deputies violated Maryland's state constitution.

Hansel says the dashcam video of the friendly family pet being shot as she bounded out to greet the sheriff's deputy was crucial evidence in the case, the Washington Post reports. The dog represented "absolutely zero threat," the lawyer contends.

While the couple was taking Brandi to the vet for life-saving treatment, the sheriff's deputies entered their home and found their son hiding inside, the newspaper reports on its Crime Scene page.

There's no word on whether the county intends to appeal. However, the sheriff told the News-Post he expected insurance to cover the payout to the couple.

"I thought the monetary damages were excessive, but to me the real tragedy here was the finding of gross negligence on the deputies' part," he said. "There was nothing that reached that threshold. These guys were just doing their jobs."

The Baltimore Sun also has a story.

Both the Sun and the WaPo provide a link to the dashcam video clip. Read more

Artificially Dyeing Animals Approved By Florida

Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R)

Artificially Dyeing Animals Approved By Florida House And Senate
Huffpost Miami
March 8, 2012

Is there anything more Miami than a neon pink poodle?

Thanks to an amendment sponsored by Florida Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, a 45-year-old ban on artificially dyeing animals may soon be lifted -- just in time for Easter.

Bogdanoff snuck Amendment 303390, "repealing s. 828.161, F.S., relating to the prohibition of artificial dying or coloring of certain animals or fowl" onto HB Bill 1197, which revises certain agriculture codes in the state.

On Tuesday, Floridians' right to make Fido glow chartreuse was approved 33 to 3 in the state Senate and 109 to 5 on the House floor.

The strange vote comes days after the Senate voted to abandon more restrictive abortion laws so that they could focus on issues that matter like jobs and cost of living.

The original ban was to ensure "that we don't have a lot of adorable ducks, rabbits and chickens that are given away at Easter time and look so cute, and then 2 or 3 or 4 months later nobody wants them," said Florida Senate Democratic Minority Leader Nan Rich, who tried to block the amendment.

As it turns out Bogdanoff was looking after the rights of dog groomers competing for Best in Show, saying "What (groomers are) looking for is the opportunity to compete when it comes to parades or for shows."

Governor Rick Scott must approve the bill before the animal dye ban is lifted. Read more

The animal dyeing amendment was sponsored by Republican Florida Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, a member of the Florida Bar and a practicing attorney, according to her campaign website. 


Teen in U.S. charged in death of family hamster

Teen in U.S. charged in death of family hamster

by Aman Ali
March 10, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A U.S. teenager has been charged with a felony, and could face a two-year prison sentence if convicted, for killing her family's pet hamster, authorities said.

Monique Smith, 19, of Brooklyn was arguing with a family member in June when she reached for the hamster, choked it and threw it outside the house, police said on Wednesday.


She was arrested following an investigation after Smith's father contacted the America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, according to the society's assistant director Joe Pentangelo.

Smith is charged with one felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals.

"Sadly, very often, pets find themselves in the middle of these situations," said Pentangelo. "A family will have a disagreement and unfortunately the animal is the recipient of misdirected or redirected rage."

The hamster died from blunt force trauma, liver damage and a brain hemorrhage, he said. Read more


Also see Brooklyn Woman Accused Of Killing Pet Hamster