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Vol. 3 - Journal of Animal Law (2007)


Published by the students of Michigan State University College of Law

August 2007 – Vol. 3 Journal of Animal Law (2007). The table of contents is provided below.  Copies are available in two forms:

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Information about the Journal

 

J O U R N A L  O F  A N I M A L  L A W

VOL. III 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Table of Contents

 

Determining the Value of Companion Animals in Wrongful Harm or Wrongful Death Claims: A Survey of U.S. Decisions and Legislative Proposal in Florida to Authorize Recovery for Loss of Companionship

Marcella Roukas……………...…………………………………………………………………..........................................................................45

The law in United States categorizes animals as personal property. As a result, recovery of damages for the loss of a companion animal is often times the fair market value. This inflexible approach to companion animals fails to distinguish between personal property such as a chair and a beloved pet.  Needless to say, awarding damages at fair market value serves as little or no deterrence for the tortfeasor. This is especially true in cases where the companion animal lacks pedigree or special training.  However, some decisions have authorized human guardians of companion animals to plead and recover the “unique value” of the companion animal. Such decisions reflect a shift in the court’s view of companion animals, which acknowledges public policy concerns for the guardian of the companion animal. This article discusses the law in United States on companion animals and proposes legislative action in the state of Florida for the recovery of the “loss of companionship” for owners of companion animals.

 

“Live Animals”: Towards Protection for Pets and Livestock in Contracts for Carriage

Erin Sheley………………………..……………………………………………………………..............................................................................59

This article maps the current legal and logistical circumstances of animals in transportation, with a focus on commercial airlines and meat industry trucking practices, and proposes novel ways of utilizing the existing common law of contract adjudication to win stronger protections for such animals, even absent the fulfilled dream of statutory reform. In particular, it argues that courts should utilize two well-established doctrines of contractual interpretation--unconscionability and unenforceability as against public policy--to arrive at more humane results for animals.

Animal Lovers and Tree Huggers Are the New Cold-Blooded Criminals?: Examining the Flaws of Ecoterroism Bills

Dara Lovitz...............................................................................................................................................................................................................79

 

Animal lovers and tree huggers were once deemed peaceful and benevolent activists.  As our nation witnessed the increase in powerful lobbying on behalf of wealthy industries, that identity has been shattered by offensive epithets and reckless generalizations.  Now those who preach kindness to the non-human species and respect for the environment are dumped into the same category as the group of individuals who fly planes into buildings and don explosive materials in high-traffic areas - those whose every violent action is designed to maim or murder a large number of innocent civilians.  The defective grouping resulted from the gross mistake of legislatures across the country that enacted  the fundamentally flawed so-called “eco terror bills.”

 

Dangerous Dog Laws: Failing to Give Man’s Best Friend a Fair Shake at Justice

Cynthia A. McNeely & Sarah A. Lindquist………………………………………….…...…..….............................................................................99

Compared to other non-human animals, dogs generally share a privileged relationship with humans. This 12-14,000-year-old union translates today into nearly 68 million domesticated dogs living in United States households. Dogs once had free reign to run through rural and even urban communities, but growing human populations and their similarly growing intolerance toward free-roaming dogs have initiated a government crackdown. Tethering dogs in yards has resulted in an unnatural state which studies indicate actually facilitates more humans receiving dog bites. Recent government trends have been to classify dogs “dangerous” to force “irresponsible owners” to better control their dogs. While some “owners” are undeniably irresponsible and deserve to be held accountable, a fair analysis of some of the factual situations underlying dangerous dog classifications indicates that too many local governments declare dogs dangerous who are not truly dangerous.  The classifications are generally based upon political pressure and governments’ fear of being legally held liable for any future attacks that might occur.  Combined with media-inflamed reports of rare, vicious dog attacks, many local governments are classifying dogs “dangerous” for engaging in normal and harmless dog behaviors such as running up to and barking at people. With the United States human population now at more than 300 million, it is foreseeable that this trend is only going to continue as developable land decreases, forcing humans to live closer together and to come into greater contact with neighbors' dogs.

 

NOTES & COMMENTS

 

Changing the Tax System to Effect Humane Treatment of Farm Animals

Eden Gray (George Washington University Law School)……………………………………...........................................................................…159

The meat, egg, and dairy industries in the United States slaughter over ten billion land animals each year.  The majority of these animals are raised on capital intensive factory farms.  Large farming operations use factory farms to cut production costs and thereby increase their profit margins.  Although this industrialization of the animal agriculture business reduces monetary costs, it causes immense suffering to the farm animals and raises significant costs to society, including a reduction in the number and profitability of family farms, an increase in the health risks related to meat consumption, a proliferation of damage to the environment, and a rise in threats to farm workers’ health.  Current federal and state legislation fails to protect farm animals from the cruel, inhumane conditions common on factory farms.  This paper discusses changes that could be made to the tax code to provide incentives to farms to treat farm animals more humanely.

 

Pets: Property and the Paradigm of Protection         

Brooke J. Bearup (Michigan State University College of Law)……………….…………............................................................................…….173

 

This article touches on the evolution of property classifications through history and suggests that the time has arrived for society to re-conceptualize its view on animals as personal property. Re-categorizing animals as equivalent, sentient beings has the potential to affect current search and seizure practices under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. This article proposes policy changes that could significantly benefit neglected and abused animals, while still recognizing the fundamental liberty interests of pet owners.

 

2006-2007 Case Law Review

Kathryn Leonard.……………………………………………………………………………………................................................................................…193