Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Animal Law

FROM ETHICS TO LAW
  • we've read psychology (DeWaal), ethics (last 6 weeks)
  • will now read three legal scholars (Steven Wise, Richard Posner, Cass Sunstein)
  • claims about morality vs. claims about what the law is or should be. 
  • Ethical and legal claims are different and need different sorts of support (e.g. about meat-eating or hunting)
IS THE LAW NOW OK, OR SHOULD IT BE WEAKER OR STRONGER?
THE STATUS QUO
  • what legal protections do animals (in the US) actually have?
  • on paper, in practice
FEDERAL LAW: ANIMAL WELFARE ACT (HERE)
  • Definition of "animal"--mice, rats, birds, cold-blooded animals are NOT animals for purposes of AWA
  • Lab animals: we discussed already, see here
  • Animals during transportation
  • Animals on exhibit: zoo and aquarium animals protected, but no protection for rodeo animals
  • How strong is the protection for zoo/aquarium animals?
  • Aquarium--no protection at all for any of the birds, fish, reptiles

  • What about the jaguar?

  • Inspections manual (DWA enclosures for jaguar is OK--no requirement that animal should be able to exercise natural capacities). 
  • Do inspections lead to positive change?
  • Inspection reports (p. 195 -- problem with sloth in 2014)
  • Sloth is still in the same place!

  • You can file a complaint
  • Worries: (1) most animals at Aquarium are not covered, (2) no requirement that animal have space to exercise natural capacities, (3) lack of enforcement (only about 100 inspectors)
MORE FEDERAL LAWS:
  • Endangered Species Act (HERE)
  • Humane Slaughter Act (HERE)
    • covers "livestock"--no laws covering birds
  • Marine Mammal Protection Act (HERE)
  • Horse Protection Act (HERE)
STATE LEVEL: ANIMAL CRUELTY LAWS
  • Tether laws (HERE)

STATE LEVEL: PROTECTION FOR FARM ANIMALS

  • California Proposition 2 (HERE)
  • Have to follow CA law to sell eggs in CA
WHICH DIRECTION MAKES MOST SENSE?






STRONGER II: STEVEN WISE




ANIMAL PERSONS ARGUMENT

  1. Someone with "practical autonomy" has "preferences and the ability to act to satisfy them, can cope with changed circumstances, can make choices--even ones she cannot evaluate well--or has desires and beliefs and can make appropriate inferences from them" (p. 230)
  2. Practical autonomy makes X a person with dignity, instead of a mere thing.  (Note: "person" doesn't mean the same as "human organism.")
  3. Certain non-human species do have practical autonomy (great apes, elephants, cetaceans, African grey parrots).
  4. Thus, they are persons, not things.  
  5. Under US law, persons have certain basic legal rights (liberty, right to standing in civil courts, etc.)
  6. Members of those species should have the basic legal rights of persons (liberty, right to standing in civil courts, etc....)
OTHER ANIMALS
  1. Certain humans with less than complete practical autonomy have a reduced set of rights, but still have rights.
  2. Like cases should be treated alike--a basic legal principle.
  3. Comparable animals should have the same reduced set of rights possessed by less autonomous humans.

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