Volume Twenty-Three, Issue One


Reed Elizabeth Loder, Animal Dignity

The aim of this Article is to find a broader theoretical basis for animal protection than the current ideas of personhood and capabilities provide. Human dignity is variously defined but pervasive in grounding human rights and should have a counterpart for animal protection beyond minimum welfare that can improve the quality of animal lives overall. Dignity has an inward dimension based on the value of an individual that should not be violated and an outward aspect in the individual’s bearing to the world, both of which apply to animals. In content, human individuals have dignity in autonomously directing their lives, having a sense of self as separate but in relationship with others, and experiencing continuity of past, present and future as integrity over time. For many, human dignity requires moral agency, or the ability to follow principles and values and to restrain one’s behavior. Dignity does not require consciousness of its presence. A person’s dignity can be defiled without that person’s awareness, as in infants and mentally incapacitated people. Using recent research from ethology, the study of animal mentation, this Article posits that none of the attributes that define human dignity differs essentially for animals, even though concepts of animal dignity would have to capture the richly diverse traits and personalities of animals. The Article presents a highly individualized and contextualized notion of animal dignity that goes beyond normal species function and capacities and is flexible enough to recognize the dignity in an animal acting out of character in ways that exceed expected norms for its kind. It illustrates some of these remarkable dignities through animal stories peppered throughout. To provide some contextual applications of the animal dignity idea, it considers specifically how dignity might apply to captive animals as pets, in entertainment, on hunting ranches, in research (especially biotechnology), and on the farm. The author intends to elaborate this concept of dignity for animals in the wild in a follow-up paper.


Elizabeth Olsen, Paws Up Don’t Shoot: Preventing Officer-Involved Shootings of Companion Canines

This Article discusses situations in which an officer has shot a companion canine, and evaluates the efficacy of the different potential civil claims that an owner may have against the individual officer, his supervisor, the department, or the municipality. It then goes on to suggest that the relief granted, even for successful claims, is insufficient to alter municipal policies governing officer’s interactions with canines because such relief is typically retrospective in nature. Additionally, this Article discusses the serious problems that arise in relying on civil litigation as a mechanism for addressing officer-involved canine companion shootings because of the status of dogs as property, and seeks to identify alternative legal strategies which could yield prospective relief in the form of an injunction or writ of mandamus. Although attempting to seek prospective relief predeprivation presents difficulties in establishing standing, under the right circumstances, a plaintiff’s status as a municipal taxpayer is sufficient to establish standing. Finally, this Article sets forth a potential legal framework for bringing suit against a municipality or police department seeking prospective changes to police department policy, based on standing as a municipal taxpayer rather than as an aggrieved individual whose companion canine has already been harmed. 


Nathalie N. Prescott, Agroterrorism, Resilience, and Indoor Farming

Agroterrorism poses a significant threat to food supplies and the stability of agricultural markets. The industrialization of agricultural has substantially improved productivity and efficiency, but has also contributed to the sector’s declining resilience— the ability to withstand and adapt to stress and change. Consequently, agriculture has become increasingly vulnerable to possible agroterrorist attacks. However, by working to increase biodiversity and minimize the connected and concentrated nature of agricultural production, the industry can lower its vulnerability to attack. Indoor agriculture may be one way to accomplish this goal. This Article describes indoor agriculture, explains the concept of agroterrorism, and explores the potential risk of an agroterrorist attack on the United States. It concludes by suggesting possible ways to increase the resilience of the agricultural industry, particularly through the use of indoor agriculture.


Zanna Shafer, Home Is Where the Dog Is: A Discussion of Homeless People and Their Pets

This Article looks at the trials and tribulations homeless people face when they own pets. It establishes the three main types of pets the homeless population owns: companion animals, service animals, and emotional support animals. The Article then goes on to analyze the problems the homeless face associated with each type of animal ownership. The Article primarily draws from Leslie Irvine’s novel, My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless People and Their Animals. Irvine’s novel relays first-hand experiences of the homeless individuals’ interactions with animals and the difficulties they face by having them. The Article addresses homeless dog owners’ hardships in four sections: (1) a background explaining the different homeless population subgroups, the different types of pets, and the main problems the homeless face; (2) why the homeless deserve pets; (3) why homeless pet owners should be allowed in homeless shelters; and (4) potential solutions to this growing problem.



Conor R. Crawford, Nutraceuticals in American Horseracing: Removing the Substantive Blinkers from National Racing Legislation

American horseracing is governed by thirty-eight independent state racing jurisdictions. The lack of one coordinated rulebook has been especially problematic with respect to controlled substances. Industry leaders and legal scholars ubiquitously decry American racing’s “drug addiction.” The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act and Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 respond to this charge by purporting to regulate drugs and medication under federal auspices. This Note contends, however, that the bills’ blinkered focus on drugs problematically ignores nutraceuticals: a class of pharmaceutical-food supplements that poses a greater existential threat to horseracing.

In a 1996 Federal Register notice, the FDA announced that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which created the first regulatory guidelines for human supplements, did not apply to animals. Although supplements that are incorporated into animal feeds must be “generally recognized as safe,” there is presently no regulatory oversight of the synthesized herbs, powders, and tablets that comprise the market for animal nutraceuticals.

Nutraceuticals are pervasive in horseracing. While some are beneficial, more often, nutraceuticals jeopardize equine safety and the sport’s integrity by producing physiological effects similar to drugs. Nutraceuticals also threaten to displace medications, like furosemide, an anti-bleeding agent, that are FDA-approved. This Note proposes that national racing legislation be amended to regulate nutraceuticals according to the same testing and efficacy requirements as drugs. Doing so will mark the first attempt to regulate nutraceuticals for any animal and cast the ‘Sport of Kings’ in a rarified light: as an exemplar for animal welfare.



Rachel Lamb & Tara Zuardo, What Can Animal Law Learn from Environmental Law?

This Review analyzes and synopsizes What Can Animal Law Learn from Environmental Law?, edited by Professor Randall S. Abate. The book is a compilation of writings by numerous professionals in the fields of animal and environmental law. This Review introduces the background of the book and those sections most relevant to animal law. The book is divided into four distinct units, and this Review addresses each in turn: (1) Introductory Context, (2) U.S. Law Contexts, (3) International and Comparative Law Contexts, and (4) Vision for the Future. This Review ends by illustrating how academic settings can benefit from the use of Professor Abate’s book, especially in both law and policy courses.