- 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:
STATE LEVEL: ANIMAL CRUELTY LAWS
- Texas (HERE)
- horse tripping in Mexican rodeos
- Other state animal cruelty laws (HERE)
- All states now allow for felony animal cruelty
- Enough protection? Story HERE.
- Tether laws (HERE)
STATE LEVEL: PROTECTION FOR FARM ANIMALS
- California Proposition 2 (HERE)
- Have to follow CA law to sell eggs in CA
STRONGER II: STEVEN WISE
ANIMAL PERSONS ARGUMENT
- 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)
- Practical autonomy makes X a person with dignity, instead of a mere thing. (Note: "person" doesn't mean the same as "human organism.")
- Certain non-human species do have practical autonomy (great apes, elephants, cetaceans, African grey parrots).
- Thus, they are persons, not things.
- Under US law, persons have certain basic legal rights (liberty, right to standing in civil courts, etc.)
- Members of those species should have the basic legal rights of persons (liberty, right to standing in civil courts, etc....)
- Certain humans with less than complete practical autonomy have a reduced set of rights, but still have rights.
- Like cases should be treated alike--a basic legal principle.
- Comparable animals should have the same reduced set of rights possessed by less autonomous humans.