Thursday, July 24, 2008

Websites Providing Information About Animal Law

As a service to the animal law legal community, for general informational purposes, and to demonstrate how much animal law has permeated the American legal culture, ISAR is pleased to provide the names of organizations whose websites provide useful information about that subject.

American Bar Association, Blawg Directory: Animal Law
Lists the most popular Animal Law Blogs, based on access by ABA members.

American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Animal Law Committee
List of American Bar Association programs relating to animal law, and projects of the committee. Also contains archive of committee newsletters.

Animal Law Blog
Posts news stories pertaining to animal law cases, as well as other animal-related news. Also lists names and links for animal law attorneys nationwide, and state bar associations with animal law sections.

The Animal Law Center
Animal law firm whose site provides several links to national and international statutes, and other animal law sites.

Animal Law Coalition
Posts breaking animal law news as well as the state of the law, grouped into several different animal law issues. Also contains message board for member and visitor discussion.

Animal Law Resources
Links to California Animal Law Enforcement Guide. Enforcement The Guide is a .pdf, requiring Adobe Acrobat, and details California animal laws and enforcement powers of officials.

Animal Law Review
Contains abstracts from past and current animal law articles featured in the Review, as well as links to other animal law organizations.

Animal Legal Defense Fund
Contains recent animal law cases and incidences of publicized animal abuse. Also contains information for the general public (abuse statistics and assistance finding animal law attorneys), lay professionals (books, periodicals, and courses), and attorneys (case law, statutes, and legal forms).

Animal Legal Reports Services
Subscription service, providing in-depth analysis and commentary on animal law court decisions and their impact.

Animal Protection of New Mexico
Comprehensive list of New Mexico animal laws by city and county, as well as some state resources and links for understanding and interpreting statutes.

Animal Welfare Institute
Has links under the “Government and Legal Affairs” tab to current and pending federal legislation relating to animal issues.
Contains numerous animal law statutes and cases, as well as model laws for legislative use. Also contains a searchable bibliography of animal law-related publications, including books, journal and newspaper articles, and government documents.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, County Code Provisions Relating to Animal Control
Lists local animal law provisions.

Association of Lawyers for Animal Welfare
United Kingdom site, containing animal law articles including an international news feed.

Born Free U.S.A.
Includes some current legislation pertaining to animal protection.

Defenders of Wildlife
Under “In the Courts” tab, lists issues Defenders of Wildlife pursues in the courts, as well as statutes relevant to animal and environmental.

Dog Bite Law
A collection of national dog bite laws, with links for legal professionals, dog owners, bite victims, and more.

Dog Law
Lists legal resources relating only to dogs, organized by canine activities.

Doris Day Animal League
Under “Legislative Update” tab, has links to current animal protection bills. Also has “Resources and Links” tab listing legislative research search engines and tools.

Equine Legal Solutions
A collection of legal (and insurance) issues faced by horse-owners.

Florida Animal Law
Comprehensive list of Florida animal laws, federal animal laws, and animal organizations. Also includes recent news stories regarding animal law topics.

Florida State University College of Law Research Center Blog, Animal Law and Welfare
Basic news feed of animal law developments.

Free Information on Pet, Dog, Cat, & Horse Laws
Basic compilation of links relating to animal laws, divided by species.

George Washington University Law School, Animal Law
Outline of University’s programs, annual conferences, and an animal law news archive.

Georgetown Law Library Animal Law Research Guide
Lists of books, periodicals, and websites dealing with animal law, both United States and International. Also includes suggestions for conducting additional research on the topic.

Gonzaga University School of Law Library Animal Law,
A .pdf file explaining animal law concepts, and good bibliography of cases, books, periodicals, and electronic sites.

Great Ape Project
Organization working to give great apes the status of personhood under laws, rather than property. Has a basic “news and information” tab for additional information.

Great Ape Standing and Personhood
Site promoting the treatment of great apes as persons for the sake of legal statute enforcement, and promotion of this treatment, eventually, for other animals. Also includes a news feed on the international progress of this movement.

International Institute for Animal Law
Links to databases of animal law statutes, animal law lectures, and research projects. Site promises to contain recent animal law news “soon.”

International Society for Animal Rights
Contains substantial information about animal law, including the first state and federal case ever to mention “animal rights.” Extensive site map.

Johnson County Humane Society
Lists applicable animal law statutes for Iowa, broken down by county. Also has additional links for federal laws and animal law organizations.

Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy
List of journal’s articles and instructions for submission, as well as a database search engine focused on international animal law treaties.

King County Law Library Animal Legal Research Guide
Lists animal law sources with an emphasis on Washington State Law. Divides sources into primary and secondary sources, as well as providing additional research tips., Animal Law
Links to some basic animal-law related articles, message boards, and a directory for finding local animal law attorneys.

Louisiana State Bar Association, Animal Law Section
Very basic site, with information about attorney members of the section and listing of state animal law provisions.

Maryland Pet, Animal Welfare Organizations, Laws and Legislation
Lists national animal law sites, as well as regional and national animal welfare organizations.

Maryland State Bar Association, Animal Law Section,
Limited website, with section ethics opinions, legislative testimony, and meeting minutes.

Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library
Lists Massachusetts animal laws, regulations, and case law, as well as a few additional web resources.
Article explaining basics of animal law, as well as links to animal law organizations and a handful of statutes.

Michigan State University College of Law: Animals Legal & Historical Web Center
Database with over 800 full-text animal law cases, and 1,000 animal law statutes. Most are U.S., but some international law as well. Comprehensive “Frequently Asked Questions” section for attorneys and non-attorneys, as well as detailed search engine.

Minnesota State Bar Association, Animal Law Section
Basic site with a few practice links and basic information about members of the organization.

Mississippi Canine Coalition, Inc.
Lists Mississippi state animal law legislation, with a focus on dog ownership.

National Anti-Vivisection Society
Lists recent and pending legislation regarding animal rights and other developments in the area of animal law.

National Association for Biomedical Research, Animal Law Section
Definitions and summary of anti-cruelty laws and other laws affecting animal-based research. Clearly slanted towards pro-biomedical research.

National Center for Animal Law
Contains information about NCAL, different components of the law that make up “animal law,” and career links for animal law-based careers. It also contains information about Lewis and Clark Law School’s animal law curriculum, animal law-based extra curricular activities, and the group’s annual Animal Law Conference

National Institute for Animal Advocacy
Details training program for effective lobbying on behalf of pro-animal legislation.

New Hampshire Animal Law and Animal Rights
Contains New Hampshire animal laws and statutes, web links, and New Hampshire animal news.

New York State Bar Association, Special Committee on Animals and the Law
Lists education programs, relevant statutes, electronic sources and publications relating to animal law, with an emphasis on New York State animal laws.

Open Directory, Society: Issues: Animal Welfare: Legal
A very basic collection of animal law sites, with no real overall theme to provide context.

Orange County Community Resources, Orange County Animal Care
Basic listing of Orange County, California animal laws.,
Tracks upcoming animal abuse cases, and other animal-related cases, on dockets nationwide. Also contains chart of animal abuse laws state-by-state.

PetGuardian Pet Trust Plans
Contains information about creating a pet trust for care of pets whose owners predecease them.

Santa Clara Law, Guide to Animal Law
Links to monographs, journal articles, and electronic resources relating to animal law.

Species Survival Network
Website run by an international coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to the promotion, enhancement, and strict enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Contains information about CITES and other Animal Treaties, as well as recent news.

State Bar of Michigan, Animal Law Section
Variety of information, including a listserv, events, and newletters in addition to news, legislation, and legal resources.

State Bar of Texas, Animal Law Section
Lists animal law treatises and papers featured in the Section’s Continuing Legal Education presentations. Contains little else.

Suffolk University Law Library: Animal Law
Has links to federal and state law links, books, periodicals, law review articles, and major websites.

United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library, Animal Welfare Information Center, Government and Professional Resources
Roundup of federal animal law statutes and regulations. Also has links to state and international statues and regulations.

University of Chicago Law Library, Animal Law and Animal Rights: An Introductory Guide to Selected Resources
Lists a handful of publications and electronic resources. Also includes search tips to find additional sources.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville Law Library
Lists research guides, journal articles, treatises, and other sources pertaining to animal law. Most concern Tennessee state laws, though some are national.

Washington State Bar Association, Animal Law Section
Links to information relating to animal law practice in Washington State, including events and newsletters.

Wisconsin State Law Library, Animal Law
Lists Wisconsin local and state statutes and ordinances regulating animal abuse and sales. Also lists national and state agencies engaged in the advocacy and protection of animals.

World Animal Net, Animal Protection Law
Good primers on the usefulness of animal law legislation, both national and international, and links to books and electronic resources.

Young Williams Animal Center
Outlines animal laws for various governmental levels, including federal, state (Kentucky), county (Knox), and city (Knoxville) levels.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Overview of ISAR’s Revolutionary Model Mandatory Spay/Neuter Statute

ISAR is pleased to announce that its new monograph, ISAR’s Revolutionary Model Mandatory Spay/Neuter Statute is now available at its website,, under Site Map/LAW/Monographs. (See our blog of Wednesday, July 2, 2008, for the Table of Contents). We encourage constructive comments.

Counting the six appendices—which provide extensive bibliographies of books, articles and statutes relating to mandatory spay/neuter, legal cases directly and indirectly on that subject, and a lengthy resource explaining the legislative process generally and how animal advocates can use it to achieve their goals—the monograph is 125 pages long. Interested persons are encouraged to download and/or print it, and they may reproduce the monograph in accordance with the permission conditions that appear on the copyright page.

The Introduction explains the context in which the monograph has been written, which is that mandatory spay/neuter “laws must be grounded not in hope, sentiment, or a benevolent opinion of mankind, but rather in the world as we find it—a real world where companion animals are too often thought of as virtually inanimate objects, mere property to be used and abused by humans.”

Part A, “The Policy Component of the Companion Animal Overpopulation Problem,” establishes the foundation premises upon which rest the remainder of the monograph: that there is today a huge national problem of companion animal overpopulation (Chapter I), that at present the only way to ameliorate it is through spay/neuter (Chapter II), and that these medical procedures must be made mandatory (Chapter III).

Part B, “The Legal Component of the Companion Animal Overpopulation Problem,” is necessarily the next consideration because if spay/neuter is to be mandatory, statutes of state-wide application will have to be enacted. To understand fully ISAR’s Revolutionary Model Mandatory Spay/Neuter Statute and the philosophy that underlies it, an analysis is necessary of existing spay/neuter statutes (Chapter IV). Only against that background can ISAR’s model statute be understood and appreciated (Chapter V). Once one is talking statutes, inevitably the question of constitutionality or unconstitutionality arises, a crucial consideration for mandatory spay/neuter legislation (Chapter VI). Finally, once the constitutional hurdle is surmounted, other related issues arise (Chapter VII): For purposes of enforcement and otherwise, how to identify all companion animals; low-cost spay/neuter for the indigent; early-age spay/neuter; Departments of Animal Affairs.

Part C, “The Legislative Component of the Companion Animal Overpopulation Problem,” reveals how even the worst alleged “mandatory spay/neuter” statutes can be subverted by politicians, as recently occurred in California (Chapter VIII). As an antidote to fruitless lobbying and craven legislators, ISAR presents a powerful resource for animal advocates who seek to maximize their chance of getting legislation introduced and enacted (Chapter IX).

Part D, “Morality and Spay Neuter” (Chapter X) makes the case that animal protection, and mandatory spay/neuter as one element in accomplishing that task, is at root a moral issue. The chapter concludes with the thought that “[a]s ISAR’s national billboards beseech the public: “Spay/Neuter: It Reduces the Killing.”

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Case Against Zoos

There are many arguments against the existence of zoos, and there are many articles and some books that make a convincing case for their closure. (Among the latter is Peter Batten’s Living Trophies.) Some, but by no means all, of those arguments are:

· Zoo animals are often acquired from dealers who, in turn, have obtained them by brutal means.

· They are transported to their destinations, often over great distances, in a primitive manner with little, if any, regard to what kind of treatment their species requires.

· They are subject to attacks by vandals, and even psychopaths.

· They are often held in sterile cells or cages, suffering the debilitating effects of solitary confinement.

· They receive inadequate nutrition, eating unpalatable synthetic food, and inadequate medical care, suffering illness and disease, because of zoos’ financial constraints and zookeepers’ indifference.

· They are traded like baseball cards among zoos and other animal exhibitors, to satisfy perceived display needs.

· They are cross-bred, creating animals called “tigons” or “ligers,” that are, Frankenstein-like, neither tigers or lions.

· They are denied the life dictated by their genes and nature.

These are but a few of the reasons zoos should cease to exist, and each of them have been elaborated at great length elsewhere.

But the most fundamental objection to zoos, understood and expressed by only a small segment of today’s animal rights movement, is that zoos are an immoral enterprise because they exploit and abuse living creatures for the entertainment of the crowd, and in so doing so cause and perpetuate immeasurable suffering.

Zoos are an outrageous affront to the nature and dignity of the animals imprisoned there. The humans who gawk at zoo inhabitants are co-conspirators in the crime perpetrated against the captive animals.

Why, then, do they exist?

Geordie Duckler has written incisively at 3 Animal Law 189 (1997) that:

Zoo animals are currently regarded as objects by the state and federal courts and are perceived as manifesting the legal attributes of amusement parks. The few tort [civil wrong] liability cases directly involving zoos tend to view them as markets rather than as preserves; the park animals are viewed as dangerous recreational machinery more akin to roller coasters or Ferris wheels than to living creatures. Courts typically treat zoo keepers and owners as mechanics and manual laborers responsible for the maintenance of these dangerous instrumentalities. Disputes concerning the possession, sale and care of exotic animals, as well as the administration of the habitats in which such animals are housed, have also been treated by the courts in terms of control of materials for public exhibit and entertainment.

Note the words that I have italicized, chosen carefully by Duckler to describe captive animals imprisoned in zoos: objects, machinery, instrumentalities, materials.

In other words, zoo animals, though living creatures, are nothing more than inanimate objects.

Consider that. Primates, large cats, the magnificent elephants are no different from chairs, cars, xrays, yarn.

How, one may ask, is this possible conceptually? How can animals, that breathe, eat, drink, sleep, walk, climb, run, copulate, fear, nurture, reproduce, be considered mere inanimate objects?

Putting aside bloody biblical texts, Greco-Roman barbarity, and the influential anti-animal views of Thomas Aquinas, the father of current prevailing attitudes about animals was renowned Christian philosopher-mathematician Rene Descartes. He held that animals were automa­tons—literally. Decartes asserted that lacking a Christian “soul,” they pos­sessed no consciousness. Lacking a consciousness, he concluded, they experienced neither pleasure nor pain.

Decartes’s belief was a con­venient one because it allowed him to rationalize the dissection of unanes­thetized living creatures—all in the name of advancing the knowledge of anatomy.

If “advancing knowledge” as a rationale sounds familiar, let’s look at some of the major excuses, but certainly not legitimate justifications, for the existence of zoos today.

They supposedly “teach people about animals”—as the captive creatures pace interminably in cages, often in solitary confinement, or inhabit the same indoor/outdoor enclosure for life while humans throw them Cracker Jacks.

They allegedly “provide scientists an opportunity to study them”—while they no longer act as their genes and instinct drive them, neither seeking food nor roaming through natural habitats.

They presumably support “breeding programs,” especially of endangered species, both as an end in itself and to use the animals as barter with other zoos.

Even if these and other “practical” rationalizations for the existence of zoos were defensible, and they are not, none of them should be allowed to trump the fact that zoos are an immoral enterprise because they exploit and abuse living creatures for the entertainment of the crowd, and in so doing so cause and perpetuate immeasurable suffering.

Zoos are an outrageous affront to the nature and dignity of the animals imprisoned there. The humans who gawk at zoo inhabitants are co-conspirators in the crime perpetrated against the captive animals.

It is in the name of moral principle that zoos should be abolished, for the benefit of the captive “living trophies” and in the name of humane principle.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

ISAR's Revolutionary Model Mandatory Spay/Neuter Statute

A. The Policy Component of the Companion Animal Overpopulation
I. The nature and scope of the problem
II. The case for spay/neuter
III. Spay/Neuter of companion animals must be made mandatory
B. The Legal Component of the Companion Animal Overpopulation Problem
IV. Analysis and critique of existing mandatory spay/neuter statutes
V. Text and annotation of ISAR’s model mandatory spay/neuter statute
VI. Constitutionality of mandatory spay/neuter statutes
VII. Corollaries to mandatory spay/neuter statutes
C. The Legislative Component of the Companion Animal Overpopulation Problem
VIII. California’s worse than useless “mandatory” spay/neuter statute
IX. Successfully promoting animal protection legislation
D. The Moral Component of the Companion Animal Overpopulation Problem
X. Morality and mandatory spay/neuter
1. Chapters I, II and III bibliography
2. State and municipal spay/neuter statutes
3. Proposed California “mandatory” spay neuter statute
4. State cases raising constitutional questions regarding animal-related legislation
5. Fiscal Impact of Cat and Dog Intake & Euthanasia in California Shelters
6. Table of Contents: Get Political for Animals and Win the Laws They Need

For more information about ISAR's Revolutionary Model Mandatory Spay/Neuter Statute, contact ISAR at