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Animal Law
Temple University School of Law
Lovitz, Dara

Animal Law – Lovitz – Spring 2011

1. Introduction – Animal Law in the News

a. Searcey: Animal Rights Advocates Bare Teeth in a Novel Way

i.ARA use novel laws to accomplish their goals

1. euthanasia law used to prevent research on sheep in hyperbaric chambers

2. foreclosure law – lien law used to remove animals after bank takes

3. boxing kangaroos prevented using facial hair req.

ii.This shows the dearth of law in the area

2. What is an Animal?

a. Humans as Property

i.African Americans

1. Slavery or the classification of a human as property removes all rights and interests

a. group becomes a means to an end

2. Religious and scientific justifications were used


1. Montgomery v Stephan – the wife of a car wreck victim sued for loss of consortium. In giving LoC to wife the judge had to over rule strong precedent, traditionally wife has lost nothing in terms of “services” by losing husband. Wife is husbands property so husband loses consortium but wife does not.

2. Women had rights until married, then their interests were subsumed to the husband’s. similar justifications to slavery, biology, religion etc.

b. Nonhuman Animals as Property

i.Treated as things with no rights or interests worth protecting

1. Inanimate v animate? Corporations have rights where as animals do not.

2. Evolution shows our “superiority” is matter of degree not difference

a. similar enough for medical research but different enough to torture?

3. Many animals can emote, feel, speak etc better than some disabled humans and yet we protect one and not the other

4. Legal Welfarism – norm, may use animals for our uses so long as dont cause unnecessary pain or death

a. law protecting animals and slaves are similar in that they operate for the good of the owner nor the “property”

b. Fair market value given for loss of animal not Loss of Companionship (use tort law to increase protection of animals by challenging this?)

ii.Stephens v State – Pigs got into the crops of a farmer, he shot them. charged with crime under animal cruelty statute but conviction overturned because offense requires MR of cruelly which he did not have. Only protecting crop.

iii.Contract Law

1. Roberts v Melendez – Woman purchased dog in NY with K for refund of money w/in 14 days if vet diagnoses pet as unhealthy at time of sale (Seller reserves right to have own vet inspect dog). Took to CA and vet diagnosed with Parvo virus that had been present at purchase, hospitalized and the euthanized dog, woman sued for medical, travel a


a. no communication between us so think they are dumb

b. self awareness, red dot on gorilla fore head

3. Other senses may be far superior to humans but we make the goal posts so they fail

a. Smell, GPS (birds)

4. Is intelligence a marker for ability to suffer?

d. Animal Defined in Statutes and Common Law

i.State v Buford – cockfighting ring charged with animal cruelty, is rooster an “animal” under statute?

1. CT: Rooster is not an animal under statute, language of statute only applies to livestock, most states have separate cockfighting provision, since NM does not must have meant to allow it

ii.State v Cleve – D shot and strangled deer in the wild, CT: language of statute refers to domestic or tamed wildlife ∴ animal cruelty cannot be committed on wild life

iii.Holcomb v Van Zylen – dog raised havoc in turkeys and injured them, are turkeys domestic animals as per statute?

1. CT: Yes, mostly rely on other state precedents

iv.States are very non-uniform in their treatment of animals