Volume 18, Issue 2 (Spring 2012)
David N. Cassuto & Sarah Saville
Over the last sixty years, industrial agriculture has expanded in the United States and throughout the world, including in Brazil. Any benefit this expansion has brought comes at significant environmental and social costs. Industrial agriculture is a leading contributor to global climate change, air and water pollution, deforestation, and dangers in the workplace. This Article discusses the impact of industrial animal agriculture in the U.S. and Brazil. It also examines the laws pertaining to industrial agriculture in both countries and provides a comparative analysis of the two legal regimes. Finally, this Article concludes with the observation that although the price to the U.S. and Brazil of remedying these impacts are high, the costs to humans, animals, and the environment by failing to do so is immeasurable.
Law is anthropocentric. With the limited exception of its treatment of the corporation, law is a system of rules that privileges the concept of the human and ascribes reality through a human perspective. Appreciating this, it is truly impressive that animal issues in the law have become so prominent throughout the legal education system. With this increased exposure to posthumanist critiques of the legal system and its status for and treatment of animals, an increasing number of those involved in legal education are rethinking the law’s species-based hierarchy that places humans at the apex. This flourishing interest in animal law is paralleled by growth in the field of Critical Animal Studies (CAS). However, these two disciplines have developed independently of each other. Acknowledging this, animal law scholarship is currently poised to incorporate the insights of CAS. Integrating such insight into the analysis of animal issues in the law will rectify the speciesist and otherwise exclusionary formulations of the socially constructed differences between various species, which have so far been unquestioned assumptions. CAS offers an understanding of these socially constructed differences and advances a common mission between issues identified as animal injustices and those identified as human injustices. CAS stresses the interconnection between human and animal issues, not simply parallels. This important synthesis can subvert the confinement of animal issues in the legal sphere and is key to extending these essential issues into a more diverse community.
Currently there is no international agreement that ensures the welfare and protection of animals. Nor is there any international standard that regulates and defines the acceptable treatment of animals. This lack of international consensus leads to the current disparate treatment of animals around the world, echoing the need for an international framework addressing the issue. This Article discusses a proposed umbrella treaty, the International Convention for the Protection of Animals (ICPA). This umbrella treaty would enable animal welfare issues to gain international recognition and protection by setting the general guidelines and polices regarding the treatment and use of animals. This Article argues that this is the best way to successfully pursue international protection by reconciling the conflicting goals of making a treaty enticing to as many countries as possible, without eliminating enforcement mechanisms. This Article also suggests four companion protocols that would further delineate specific animal welfare standards and requirements. With the present economic climate, it may be difficult to convince countries to pass such a treaty. However, the ICPA could make it possible to begin the process of enacting groundbreaking international animal protection.
This Article uses the theory of deliberative democracy, as developed by Jürgen Habermas and others, to suggest that public discourse is essential to encouraging democratic change in animal welfare law. The author examines the legal regimes of Canada and New Zealand to determine which country better facilitates a public dialogue about the treatment of animals. The Article concludes that, while Canada has a number of laws that ostensibly protect animals, New Zealand’s regime is much better at creating the public discourse required to meaningfully advance animal protection. The author does not suggest that New Zealand’s regime is perfect; rather, New Zealand’s model is preferable to Canada’s because it allows the public to meaningfully engage in laws affecting animals at regular intervals. In Canada, generating discussion in government about animal welfare is too often left to the whim of legislators. Due to New Zealand’s model of encouraging and requiring public discourse, its protection laws have begun to surpass those of Canada, and there is reason to believe this will continue. Encouraging public discourse about our assumptions about animals fosters hope for meaningful progress in their lives.
Living with a disability can make finding a home a difficult task. Discrimination against the use of a service or assistive animal in lease agreements is a hurdle to finding a home for persons with disabilities. This discrimination is particularly pronounced when the individual suffers from a mental or emotional disability, because these disabilities are “invisible.” Because these disabilities are invisible, landlords are often reluctant to make reasonable accommodations in lease agreements to further the use of service and assistive animals in the treatment of mental illnesses or other disabilities, as required by the Fair Housing Act. This Article considers the requirements the Fair Housing Act imposes on landlords to make reasonable accommodations to their no-pets policies in order to facilitate the use of service and assistive animals. This Article begins with a look at the history of the Fair Housing Act and then analyzes different courts’ approaches to interpreting the Fair Housing Act in relation to maintaining a service or assistive animal. This Article concludes with suggested model legislation that would further the policy considerations behind the Fair Housing Act and make finding a home easier for people with disabilities.
LEGISLATIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
Patrick Graves, Keith Mosman, & Shayna Rogers