Volume Twenty-Two, Issue One, Fall 2015


David B. Rosengard, In Memoriam: Peter S. Nycum


Ann L. Schiavone, Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Regulating Fear Not Risk

Beginning in the 1980s, the curious phenomenon of breed-specific legislation (BSL) began to spread across the U.S. and abroad. The phenomenon can be traced to sensationalistic media portrayals of the pit bull at that time. This kind of sensationalism was nothing new; throughout American history, various breeds have served as scapegoats, each taking a turn as the most ‘dangerous.’ While it was not new to seek to contain fears by isolating a particular ‘problem’ breed, the legislation itself was unprecedented. Today, in light of mounting evidence that factors other than breed are more determinative of aggression in domestic dogs and that BSL does not decrease incidents of dog bites, many jurisdictions are seeking to undo these laws. For example, many states have passed legislation preempting local ordinances that discriminate based on breed. This Article calls for all jurisdictions to follow suit, in recognition of the fact that there are more rational methods available for addressing the public health hazard posed by individual aggressive dogs.

Zachary Paterick, Timothy Paterick, & Sandy Sanbar, A Stepping Stone Towards Companion Animal Protection Through Compensation

Despite the fact that many Americans view their companion animals as part of the family, the law treats companion animals as personal property. The courts have viewed companion animals as property for over 200 years, however, this precedent no longer adequately accounts for the important role companion animals play in modern day lives, and no longer appropriately compensates for the true value the animal has to the owner. A modified investment approach, stemming from wrongful death precedent, provides both a qualitative and quantitative approach to adequately measure the companionship value these animals have to humans. While courts have entertained various damage theories and causes of action, and a few state legislatures have acted to provide for noneconomic damages or veterinary costs, valuing animals at their market value remains the predominant measure. This is likely due to the overwhelming precedent and various policy concerns around having to both expand and valuate loss of companionship damages. This Article advocates a loss of investment approach, in which the court quantitatively compensates the guardians for the resources they provide for their companion animals during the course of their lives, and uses qualitative criteria that would demonstrate the strength of the relationship that the companion animal had to their owner.

This methodology accurately recognizes the relationship that companion animals have with humans and, together with awareness and educational outreach of animal rights, can provide an intermediate mechanism that the courts can use to eliminate the property classification of companion animals once and for all.

Bruce Friedrich & Stefanie Wilson, Coming Home to Roost: How the Chicken Industry Hurts Chickens, Humans, and the Environment

The chicken industry is harming animals, befouling our environment, exploiting farmers and workers, and harming human health. In this Article, we discuss the harms and some of the solutions. In Part I, we discuss animal welfare, both on the farm and at slaughter. In Part II, we discuss the environment, both local and global. In Part III, we discuss human rights, with a focus on chicken growers, slaughterhouse workers, and the global poor. In Part IV, we discuss the effect of chicken consumption on human health. In each of our first four Sections, we offer a few examples of actions that creative lawyers are taking in an effort to mitigate some of the discussed harm. Finally, in Part V, we discuss our belief that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is ‘captured’ by the industries it is supposed to regulate, leading to under-regulation. We conclude that, while the tireless efforts of lawyers, activists, and organizations to ameliorate industry and agency failures are critical, the best that can be done through litigation and other forms of policy action is to mitigate the harm caused by the poultry industry.


Stephanie Schwarz, Knot Your Average Bird: A Case Study of the Rufa Red Knot in the Face of Climate Change

Analyzing the staggering distances traveled by migratory shorebirds, and the challenges faced by these birds during their migration periods, this Article conflates and contrasts the myriad environmental impacts climate change is forcing the globe to contend with. The rufa red knot navigates a migratory path that annually takes it from Tierra del Fuego all the way to Arctic Canada. Because the red knot’s course of migration is so lengthy, and because the number of ecosystems it encounters along the way are so diverse, the red knot is emblematic of the challenges faced by both migratory shorebirds, and the coastal ecosystems they rely upon that are now ever eroding due to climate change. Part I of this Article introduces the rufa red knot. Part II discusses the migration of the red knot and examines many of the challenges faced by the species. Part III analyzes the many threats facing the red knot, including climate change and pollution due to coastal fossil fuel extraction. Part IV introduces an environmental management theory based on “ecoscapes.” Part V discusses the many laws and regulations addressing the threats facing the red knot. Finally, in Part VI the author discusses how proffered solutions can be maximized for all migratory shorebirds.


Rebecca Jenkins, Documentary Review: Of Dogs and Men