Volume Fifteen, Issue One, Fall 2008
Dane E. Johnson
This article explores questions of whether copyright protection can and should extend to works created by captive animals such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants. Commentators have considered similar questions in the artificial intelligence context and generally rejected the notion that computers can create works sufficiently free of human involvement to merit copyright protection. As our understanding of animal intelligence increases, however, the case for reconsideration of copyright’s constitutional and statutory boundaries becomes stronger. This article examines those boundaries and offers a proposal for granting limited copyrights to animals under a theory along the lines of David Favre’s equitable self-ownership concept.
Rebecca J. Huss
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia appointed Rebecca Huss as the guardian/special master of the pit bulls that were the subject of the case against Michael Vick relating to dog fighting. In April of 2007, the Surry County Sheriff’s Department seized fifty-three pit bulls from Vick’s home in Virginia. According to the facts set forth in the plea agreement, dogs on the property were killed and subjected to violent dog fights. Similar to human victims of abuse, the dogs needed someone to represent their best interests during litigation. Huss was in charge of determining whether each dog should be euthanized due to its inability to interact safely with humans or other animals or given a second chance at life in a new home. Huss explains her role as guardian/special master and how she made her determinations about each dog’s destiny.
Alexis C. Fox
This article suggests that courts should appoint special masters to large-scale animal abuse cases. The work of special masters in two recent high profile cases, Sarah v. PPI and Vick, demonstrate that special masters can help advance the goals of the animal protection movement in three ways. First, special masters can ensure that individual animal victims are cared for once they are rescued from large-scale abuse situations. Second, court orders that appoint special masters to large-scale animal abuse cases insert a best-interest-of-the-animal analysis into formal court proceeding. Finally, court appointed special masters may encourage better enforcement of animal protection laws by taking responsibility for animal victims from local officials. In addition to advocating for special master appointments in large-scale animal abuse cases, this article discusses some of the possible barriers courts and advocates might face when appointing special masters to large-scale animal abuse cases.
When dogs and cats across the country fell inexplicably ill in March of 2007, their human companions became sick with worry. Veterinarians eventually determined contaminated pet food was the source of these illnesses. Melamine, an industrial chemical used in cookware, furniture, and industrial fertilizers, contaminated wheat gluten manufactured in China and utilized in many pet food brands in the United States and Canada. This contamination led to a recall of more than 200 brands of pet food - the largest in American history. This comment explores the reasons behind the contamination and the ensuing recall. The author identifies inadequate domestic regulation as the primary reason behind the contamination and notes these inadequacies permitted pet food distributors and manufacturers to skirt responsibility during the recall. The comment highlights changes instituted in light of the recall and suggests further changes to the FDA and its regulations so that this heartbreaking situation can be avoided in the future.