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Animal Law 101: What Is “Necessary” Animal Suffering?

In her new TED Talk, animal rights attorney Lesli Bisgould delivers a terrific overview of the problems with our legal system in protecting animals from the institutions that exploit them with impunity. She begins her talk with what we all tend to agree on, that harming animals unnecessarily is wrong, particularly in cases of individual animal victims and individual human perpetrators. And then she eloquently shifts our attention to how our legal system excludes billions of animals from legal protection from the same acts when there is an economic interest that relies on animals as resources. Continue reading

Contamination and Cruelty in the Chicken Industry

The National Chicken Council, which represents the U.S. chicken industry, has released its 2014 update of the NCC Animal Welfare Guidelines for the humane treatment of the nine billion chickens raised for meat each year in the United States. Rather than advancing animal welfare, these guidelines, first formulated in 1999, outline industry practices that are neither healthy nor humane. Continue reading

The Mobile Slaughterhouse: The Locavore’s Answer to Decentralizing Death

The mobile slaughterhouse is promoted by advocates of small-scale animal agriculture as a solution to the very serious problem of access to commercial processing facilities. Large producers benefit from consolidated, federally-inspected slaughterhouses. Scale economies and all that. The small guys don’t benefit, however, and have thus pushed aggressively for more flexible and locally-available, federally-inspected sources of slaughter. Continue reading

What Is The Nonhuman Rights Project?

The NhRP was founded in 2007 by attorney Steven M. Wise, and is made up of dozens of smart, committed, and hard-working people from many backgrounds who have come together for one clear purpose: to break through the legal wall that separates humans from nonhumans, thereby gaining legal “personhood” for nonhuman animals, beginning with some of the most intelligent animals on earth, like chimpanzees, elephants and dolphins. Continue reading

Santa Cruz Hatchery Shutdown after Unprecedented Settlement Reached in Cruelty Case

Yesterday, Compassion Over Killing (COK), represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), finalized a settlement and court order resolving a lawsuit alleging widespread egregious animal abuse and neglect at Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, Inc., a Santa Cruz hatchery that processed millions of birds each year destined for the chicken and duck meat industries. Continue reading

Proposed Legislation for Egg-Laying Hens: An Update

If it’s all right for an animal protection organization to lobby to ensure that an animal-abusing industry has “a secure future” and that consumers have “a dependable economic egg supply,” then no one will be fazed by the advertisement that is currently being run by The Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers promising these outcomes if the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 Continue reading

A New US Map of Ag Gag Laws and Farm Cruelty Investigations

Mark Middleton of Animal Visuals has launched an exciting new “action map” that features the most comprehensive collection of major farm animal cruelty investigations we’ve seen as well as the ongoing status of Ag Gag laws in the various states where those laws have been passed or are pending consideration. Continue reading

Speciesism the Movie: Questioning Our Power Over the Powerless

Speciesism is a term coined by Richard Ryder in 1970. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines specieism as “prejudice or discrimination based on species; especially discrimination against animals.” Ryder pointed out that all such prejudices are based upon physical differences that are morally irrelevant. He held that the moral principle of Darwinism is that all sentient animals, including humans, should have a similar moral status. If all organisms are on one physical continuum, then we should also be on the same moral continuum. In other words, speciesism defies evolution. So how did our judgment become so clouded? Continue reading

Animal Organizations Intensify Opposition to Egg Bill (H.R. 3798) in Anticipation of Senate Version

“The Rotten Egg Bill would be disastrous for laying hens who would be forever locked in cages — as well as for millions of voters whose rights would be traded away for the sake of egg industry politics. A Cage Is A Cage drives home these points in just 90 seconds,” said Miller. Continue reading

United Egg Producer’s President Backs New Battery Cage Law, Sees Higher Profits for the Industry

Gregory describes a long history of failed negotiations with HSUS which he describes as a vegan organization intent on putting the egg industry out of business. Gregory sells the idea of the new legislation that would phase out battery cages over nearly two decades time and replace them with negligibly larger “enriched colony cages” as a way to finally take control of the debate over eggs and animal welfare and once and for all put an end to their biggest threat: the animal advocacy movement. Continue reading

Examining Temple Grandin and the Humane Slaughter Paradox

Browsing Temple Grandin’s official website is a puzzle of ideas and positions on animals in agriculture that could leave you more confused about her conclusions than when you started. For instance, her position on what she calls “humane slaughter” and appropriate methods of slaughter begins, not with an explanation of the benefits to the animal, but to its economic / legal compliance advantages: Continue reading

Shoot Undercover Video on a Farm in Utah, Go to Jail

Utah follows Iowa’s lead in criminalizing animal advocacy and animal watch dog groups by signing into law its state’s new ag-gag law. Similar big ag protection laws have been proposed in other states, like Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee. They have been defeated in Florida and Illinois. Continue reading

Iowa’s New Ag Gag Law Makes It Criminal to Lie to Record Animal Abuse

Iowa’s new law makes lying on a job application to get access to a farm facility a serious misdemeanor, punishable with up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,500. A second conviction carries harsher penalties. It won overwhelming approval in the Iowa Legislature on Tuesday. This makes criminals out of undercover investigators who expose cruelty to animals, corporate corruption, dangerous working conditions, environmental violations, or food safety concerns on farms. Continue reading

50,000 Egg Laying Hens Found Emaciated and Starving on California Farm

The Stansilaus County, Calfiornia Animal Control officer who spoke to FOX News called this the worst animal abuse case she’s ever seen. 50,000 hens found trapped in a huge warehouse with only about 2,000 birds in stable enough condition to be rescued. The other several thousand were too far gone and were “euthanized” in portable gas chambers that were brought in to the site of the farm. Continue reading

Vegan Leafleter Wins Philadelphia Court Settlement for Illegal Arrest Case

The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $15,000 to Edward Coffin, an animal rights activist who was illegally arrested and held for two hours for handing out fliers on a public sidewalk outside a Whole Foods store. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on Coffin’s behalf in December 2011. Continue reading