Today, in a major blow to animal rights and nonhuman animal “personhood” advocates, the New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 decision, rejected the effort by the NonHuman Rights Project (NhRP) to employ the common law writ of habeas corpus to free an Asian elephant named “Happy” from the Bronx Zoo. In re Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Breheny, No. 52 (N.Y. June 14, 2022). The case caps a long line of baseless efforts by NhRP in New York to obtain habeas relief for animals. Continue reading “New York’s Highest Court Declares that Elephants are NOT “Legal Persons””
In an interview posted on Youtube on June 6, 2022, Ingrid Newkirk, founder of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), discussed several subjects, including claims made in 2004 by comedy team Penn & Teller that PETA kills dogs and cats. Ms. Newkirk described the Penn & Teller claims as “cheap” and “misinformed.” (We have reported in the past (see, for example, here) on the statistics compiled by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) showing that PETA’s shelter in Norfolk, Virginia has a high rate of euthanasia when compared to other shelters operating in the Commonwealth of Virginia.) According to Ms. Newkirk, PETA’s shelter is an “open admission shelter” that takes in “animals that are on their last legs” — “the dregs, if you will” — that “have the door slammed shut on them in other places.” The implication is that this is the reason for the high euthanasia rate. Ms. Newkirk stated that PETA would “never” euthanize a healthy animal.
Ms. Newkirk’s interview came on the heels of an event recently sponsored by PETA called the “Poochella Festival” which PETA described as a “multishelter adoption event” designed to help “Virginia dogs find loving homes.” According to PETA, “[o]ur shelters” — presumably PETA and the four other local animal shelters that participated in the event — “are bursting at the seams with wonderful dogs who would love to become great companions.”
Given its history of euthanizing the vast majority of dogs that it receives, the assertion that PETA is “bursting at the seams” with dogs to be adopted struck us as questionable. So, we decided to look at the reported data to see how PETA compares with the four shelters that PETA stated participated in “Poochella:” Chesapeake Animal Services, the Norfolk SPCA, Virginia Beach Animal Control, and the Virginia Beach SPCA.
While the overwhelming focus of the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the effect that the virus has had on humankind, there have been documented cases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infecting animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) tracks the incidence of the the virus in animals in the U.S. That analysis continues to show that infection in animals is quite small. Continue reading “COVID-19 In Animals Continues To Be Minor Issue In U.S.”
Animal rights activists have pointed to a recent decision by the highest court in Ecuador — the Constitutional Court (Corte Constitucional Del Ecuador) — as a breakthrough for animal rights. As the NonHuman Rights Project (NHRP) described it, the decision “constitutes one of the most important advances in the field of animal rights and environmental law in recent years. . . . The Court’s groundbreaking ruling advances the constitutional protection of animals — ranging from the level of species to the individual animal — with their own inherent value and needs.”
Upon closer examination, the Court’s Final Judgment is not as far-reaching as has been claimed. Continue reading “Ecuadorian Animal Rights Decision is Mixed Bag”
On February 13, as millions of people in the U.S. prepared for and watched the Super Bowl, voters in Switzerland rejected two significant animal rights initiatives. As reported (here and here) by SWI swissinfo.ch — the international unit of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation — the proposed measures included a country-wide ban on animal testing and a measure that would have given non-primate humans certain rights in the canton of Basel-Stadt. Continue reading “Two Major Animal Rights Initiatives Rejected in Switzerland”
It’s that time of year again when animal shelters in the Commonwealth of Virginia must submit their annual summary of animal custody records to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Any shelter operating in Virginia must report how many animals it had on hand at the beginning of the year, how many it had at the end of the year and what happened to them. Specifically, VDACS requires that the shelter report the number of animals euthanized. Continue reading “PETA’s Animal “Shelter” Continues High Euthanasia Rate”
By John M. Simpson and Michelle C. Pardo.
In the past several days, the internet has been aflutter with reports that a U.S. court had declared infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar’s hippopotamuses to be “people.” Continue reading “Hippos Are Legally People? Actually, Not So Much”
To paraphrase Forrest Gump’s mother, congressional spending measures are “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” This is no less true with respect the recent infrastructure bill, H.R. 3684, that passed the U.S. Senate on August 10 in engrossed amendment form. Continue reading “Roadkill Provisions of Infrastructure Bill: Needed or Just a Boondoggle?”
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld, in part, the constitutionality of an Iowa law that makes it a criminal offense to obtain access to an agricultural facility by false pretenses. Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Reynolds, No. 19-1364 (8th Cir. Aug. 10, 2021). The court reversed in part a district court ruling that the law violated the First Amendment. Continue reading “Eighth Circuit Upholds Part of Iowa “Ag Gag” Law”
On July 27, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment against claims that certain promotional activities funded by beef check-off funds amounted to unconstitutional compelled speech. Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund v. Vilsack, No. 20-35453 (9th Cir. July 27, 2021). Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Rebuffs Constitutional Challenge to Beef Check-Off”