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LEGAL PROTECTION ONLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE MOST LIKE “US"? What Animal Activists Can Learn from the Early Women’s Movement about Society’s Resistance to Acknowledging Rights

Camden J. McDaris


2 Journal of Animal Law 159 (2006)
Publish Date:
2006
Place of Publication: Michigan State University College of Law
Printable Version

LEGAL PROTECTION ONLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE MOST LIKE “US"? What Animal Activists Can Learn from the Early Women’s Movement about Society’s Resistance to Acknowledging Rights

Legal Protection Only for

Those Who Are Most Like “Us”?

What Animal Activists Can Learn from the Early Women’s Movement about Society’s Resistance to Acknowledging Rights

 

Camden J. McDaris*

 

 

I. Introduction

           

All social movements share essential similarities: they consist of “out-groups” that society views as illegitimate;[1] persuasion is the sole means available to transform perceptions of reality and to achieve legitimacy, since social movements cannot rely on established legal channels to reward or punish behavior;[2] and advocates must often spend great amounts of time and rhetoric to justify their beliefs and to quell their opponents’ attempts to ignite controversy and invoke suspicion about the movement’s goals.[3]         

            “The fight for legitimacy is a fight for public perceptions, and patriotic, religious, and social myths and symbols are important weapons in this struggle.”[4]  It is often hard to believe that many concepts that modern society accepts as fundamental civil rights were once considered to be radical, utopic and potentially devastating to the contemporary world order.[5]  Recognizing that women of all races, religions, ethnicities and socio-economic status are equal to men is an example of one such truth that cannot be denied (without a great deal of ridicule) in the United States.  When one proclaims that society must recognize the basic rights of animals, however, the tables are turned.

            Consider the following paraphrase of a concurring opinion from the United States Supreme Court:

[T]he civil law, as well as nature herself, has always recognized a wide difference in the respective spheres . . . of man and [animal].  Man is, or should be, [animal]’s protector and defender. . . . So firmly fixed was this sentiment in the founders of the common law that it became a maxim of that system of jurisprudence that a[n] [animal] had no legal existence separate from [its owner]. . . . This is the law of the Creator.[6]

            If one substitutes all references to “animal” with “woman” and the word “owner” with “husband,” one will have the accurate quote from Justice Bradley’s concurring opinion in Bradwell v. Illinois[7], an 1872 case whereby an Illinois woman was denied a license to practice law solely on the basis of gender.  Peter Singer illustrates the parallels in “moral justification” regarding the treatment of women and that of animals:

Until very recently it was the common view that a woman should obey her father, until she is married, and then her husband (and in some countries, this is still the prevailing view). . . . [T]he fact that a view is widespread does not make it right.  It may be a defensible prejudice that survives primarily because it suits the interests of the dominant group.[8]

            This note analyzes the challenges that the animal rights movement faces in reforming society’s relationship to animals--particularly in regard to farmed animals--by tracking a similar evolution of the concepts of “dominion” and “civilization” within the early feminist movement.  Specific focus is on nineteenth-century white middle-class women, who viewed themselves as models of civilized, liberated womanhood, while asserting maternalistic dominion over their “primitive” and underprivileged sisters.[9]  Acknowledging the way in which nineteenth-century America--which, for socio-political and legal purposes, was composed almost exclusively of Protestant white men--was willing to gradually “grant” one class of women a voice in society, based on well-established perceptions of “true womanhood,”[10] is important in considering the way in which modern society seems poised to acknowledge some degree of rights for companion animals, while ignoring the legally-sanctioned misery to which billions of farmed animals are subjected annually.[11] 

            Part II examines the emergence of the “civilized” woman as “civilizer” and how this new identity gave the privileged few a voice in national socio-political arenas.  Part III details the history of animal domestication and America’s current views toward companion animals.  Part IV contrasts public sympathy for companion animals with society’s near-complete oblivion to the lives of factory-farmed animals, and highlights the convergence of human and animal dominion in the way that “civilized” corporate farmers have now relegated most of the “dirty work” of their businesses to immigrant laborers.[12]  Part V spells out the legal realities for all animals in America today, and Part VI proposes strategies that will enable animal activists to most effectively disseminate their message of compassion and personal responsibility.  This note concludes with the theory that it is only by isolating the roots of societal resistance to acknowledging all animals’ right to physical and psychological integrity and by identifying patterns in society’s reaction to prior social justice movements, like the emergence of feminism in the nineteenth century, that animal rights advocates can ever hope to break through the barrier of public apathy.

 

II. The “Civilized” Woman as “Civilizer”

 

Just as it will be crucial to address the current societal forces surrounding the animal rights movement,[13] one must take a close look at the socio-political and legal culture which enabled nineteenth-century middle-class women to gain some degree of autonomy.  William Blackstone paints a concise portrait of woman’s legal identity under the doctrine of coverture:

By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law:  that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband. . . . But though our law in general considers man and wife as one person, [] there are some instances in which she is separately considered[] as inferior to him, and acting by his compulsion.  And therefore all deeds executed, and acts done, by her, during her coverture, are void.[14]

            A common perception is that the Married Women’s Property Acts, the first passed in New York in 1848,[15] abolished the law of coverture.[16]  Enabling married women to take title in their own names proved beneficial to wealthy families who could now transfer property through married daughters without giving any control over the family assets to those daughters’ husbands.[17]  The Married Women’s Property Acts also allowed husbands to insulate assets from creditors by putting the property in their wives’ names.[18]

            Reva B. Siegel claims that the Married Women’s Property Acts did not eradicate coverture from America’s legal landscape.[19]  She contends that the doctrine continued to influence American legal culture well into the twentieth century, shaping both public and private law.[20]  The notion of the family as a form of government was a fundamental part of the nation’s constitutional culture, repeatedly expressed by the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment as the reason that a democracy did not need to enfranchise one-half of its adult members.[21]

            Bradwell v. Illinois is an example of this thinking.  The Supreme Court of Illinois stated:

It is urged [] that the law of the last session of legislature, which gives to married women the separate control of their earnings, must be construed as giving to them the right to contract in regard to their personal services. . . . [W]e find ourselves constrained to hold that the sex of the applicant, independently of coverture, is, as our law now stands, a sufficient reason for not granting this license.[22]

The court’s deference to old legislative intent trumped the new theories raised by the Married Women’s Property Act.

            Historically, the women’s suffrage campaign has been linked with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, and the Fifteenth Amendment, which granted all men the right to vote, regardless of race, ethnicity or creed.[23]  While many suffragists fought to abolish slavery, a number of them, most notably Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, felt betrayed by the Republican party for granting African-American men the right to vote while ignoring the nation’s women.[24]  This perceived deception led to schisms between the races, and marginalized minority women within the women’s movement.[25]

            The first half of the nineteenth century had already united middle-class white women in America through exposure to such ideals as companionate marriage, women’s higher education, and an exalted view of motherhood as the vehicle for transmitting civic virtue.[26]  By the 1830s and 1840s, a number of white northern middle-class Protestant women were able to break out of the domestic sphere and become leaders of moral reform and abolitionism.[27]  Louise Michele Newman claims that “white activists had a heightened racial consciousness of themselves as civilized women, contributing to and reinforcing dominant religious, scientific, and cultural ideologies that attributed to them unique moral and political roles on the basis of this identity.” [28]

            The Civil War contributed to a rapid escalation in white female activism, bringing northern middle-class “women into public view in record numbers--a breakdown temporarily at least in the rigid ideology of separate spheres.”[29]  More than simply creating new jobs, the war also introduced northern women to new venues for social reform, while limiting them to occupations traditionally deemed “acceptable” for their gender and class.

            Roughly three thousand women became army nurses during that period.[30]  The newly created Sanitary Commission, which would later be renamed the Red Cross, helped train nurses for work in hospitals and on battlefields.[31]  It would also raise millions of dollars to furnish supplies to soldiers, widows and orphans.[32]  Immediately following the war, an additional four thousand northern white women went south to help set up schools for the Freedmen’s Bureau.[33]  “The temporary shortage in manpower caused by the war created new economic opportunities for white middle-class women[;] the Civil War also fundamentally altered many of these women’s sense of their rightful place in the world.”[34]

            The resulting theories of rights among women were not homogenous.  The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, founded in 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio,[35] serves as an example of this.  The organization allowed women to choose which issues they wished to promote and did not require members to be activists for every plank of the W.C.T.U. platform.[36]  As a result, the more “progressive” or “radical” women campaigned for issues like woman’s suffrage or better working conditions, while others focused solely on temperance matters.[37]  In their speeches at annual events, the W.T.C.U.’s leaders tried to appeal to a broad ideological spectrum of beliefs and used temperance as the unifying force.[38]

            The W.C.T.U. also illustrates the deeper socio-political tensions underlying the mainstream women’s movement.  Nativism and ideals of middle-class white society defined the organization’s views of purity, prohibition, and women’s status.[39]  Americanizing and reforming immigrants was at the heart of the W.C.T.U.’s platform.[40]  Temperance women blamed immigrants for the social and political corruption of the cities.[41]  W.C.T.U. women shared the belief of the eugenics movement that the “superior Anglo race” was being threatened by the more fecund “inferior races” who would soon control society.[42]  Since the consumption of alcohol was a cultural tradition in many Eastern European nations, prohibition and nativism had always been linked.[43]

            Around the same time women were mobilizing in large scale as activists, a new theory about race and class relations was emerging.  Social Darwinism described the idea that humans, like animals and plants, were subject to natural selection and “survival of the fittest.”[44]  Drawing on theories of evolution developed by British naturalist Charles Darwin, social Darwinism characterized a variety of social policies and theories, from promotion of laissez-faire capitalism to theories of racial causes for human behavior with the study of eugenics.[45]  Social Darwinism was invoked to rationalize racism and imperialism--rejecting compassion and social responsibility and justifying inequities between individuals, races and nations.[46]

            Social Darwinism played a role in the middle-class white woman’s rise in socio-political status.  Newman claims that simultaneous development of the two ideologies--woman’s rights and social Darwinism--facilitated white women’s entry into the public sphere.[47]  Laissez-faire capitalism created vast disparities in wealth between the educated white managerial class and the impoverished, often immigrant or nonwhite, working class.[48]  “Social-Darwinian theorists encouraged and enabled the development of ideologies concerning white middle-class women’s emancipation and emphasized (white) women’s specific role as the ‘conservators of race traits’ and the ‘civilizers’ of racial and class inferiors.”[49]

            Social Darwinism gained a strong foothold in American society by melding with traditional majoritarian views and values.  While evolutionary theory and Christian doctrine appear to make strange bedfellows, the two belief systems worked hand-in-hand during this era.  The conception was that, as a result of the Christian love that civilized white women consistently received from their male protectors, these women evolved physically and mentally from their primitive, sexually-indistinct sisters, becoming “more delicate, intelligent, moral, chaste, and refined than women of ‘lower races[.]’”[50]  Social Darwinism stopped just short of proclaiming that white middle-class women were deserving of socio-political recognition due to their successful domestication.

            One of the most blatant and egregious examples of this was the selective blindness toward sexual violence against minority women.  Throughout the nineteenth century, middle-class Americans were preoccupied with protecting the virtues of young working-class women who were now leaving their homes to take jobs in the city.[51]  Prostitution and vice, venereal disease, family breakdown and out-of-wedlock pregnancy became associated with the image of working-girl-as-“fallen-woman.”[52]  By the mid-1880s, white middle-class women took up a national crusade to portray the working-class girl as “victim” of male lust and exploitation; part of this campaign was to raise the state-mandated age of consent from ten and twelve years of age to sixteen and eighteen.[53]

            These reformers defined an appropriate code of morality for the subjects of their effort based on middle-class ideals of female sexual restraint and modesty.[54]  The name of the primary evil being targeted was “white slavery;”[55] reformers held the position that “only young white women needed protection from sexual harm and that only white women’s virtue was worth saving.”[56]  Young working-class African-American women faced the same social problems as their Caucasian counterparts, and they were also confronted with severe forms of sexual exploitation based solely on their race, especially by white men in the south.[57]  Despite this, white reformers refused to address their plight.[58]

            African-American purity reformers were also educated, middle-class women, many of whom worked as teachers and were married to ministers, educators, lawyers or physicians.[59]  These African-American reformers attempted to pick up where their white counterparts left off.  Black middle-class women were concerned with a larger picture; moral reform was one component of a broad program of racial uplift, including improving education and health-care, promoting economic self-sufficiency, and ending racial violence.[60]  They did not embrace the age of consent campaign because they feared that it would be used to unjustly target black men, while doing very little to protect black women.[61]

            One of the main goals of African-American reformers was to counter the prevalent stereotypes of the sexually-predatory black male and the immoral black female.[62]  In 1895, Texas State Representative Arthur C. Tompkins wrote:

We see at once what a terrible weapon for evil the elevating of the age of consent would be when placed in the hands of a lecherous, sensual negro woman, who for the sake of blackmail or revenge would not hesitate to bring criminal action even though she had been a prostitute since her eleventh year![63]

            Racist rhetoric of this kind went unchallenged by white reformers of the day.  Southern white women were particularly careful to side-step the issue of black women’s sexual vulnerability at the hands of white men because they did not want to upset the system of white supremacy, even to the disruption of their own marital and family lives.[64]

            White middle-class women’s slow but steady ascension to power and prestige, culminating in a Constitutional right to vote, resulted in large part from their ability to maintain the status quo.[65]  While the struggle was anything but easy for these women, it was less arduous than the battles fought by their minority and immigrant sisters.[66]  White native-born women had an advantage; associated with white native-born men, these women capitalized on their roles as propagators and nurturers of a civilized way of life to advance their own status within the public sphere.[67]

            Currently, there is a similar “class war” manifesting in regard to the animal kingdom.  While the subjects of this battle are not themselves the agents of discrimination, each of their lives is directly affected by choices that the American public makes on a daily basis.

 

III. Companion Animals and Their Place in Society

 

Two distinct models of womanhood crystallized during the nineteenth century, but two distinct classes of domesticated animals have been in the making for over ten millennia.  Between 12,000 and 14,000 years ago, pre-historic man began training those wolf cubs that showed a tendency toward subordination.[68]  These ancestors of the modern-day dog were used to hunt wild game, as well as to guard and herd another class of domesticated animal--those to be used for human consumption.[69]

            Around 8,000 years ago, when nomadic hunters became settled farmers in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, small wildcats would often settle along side them, preying on mice and other rodents that made their homes in grain silos and barns.[70]  The Egyptians are often credited with having tamed the wildcat around 4,000 years ago.[71]  Egyptian cats were highly prized for religious purposes, often being mummified after death.[72]

            Over time, these domesticated animals evolved physically from their untamed brethren, shrinking in overall body size.[73]  Perhaps more significantly, they continued to exhibit juvenile behavior into adulthood.  This characteristic, known as neoteny, means an animal retains non-aggressive, submissive, care-needing tendencies throughout its life.[74]  Due in part to the reduced functional capacity of a domesticated animal’s brain in comparison to its larger counterparts in the wild, the direct ancestors of today’s cats and dogs had lower states of alertness, duller senses and less fear of humans.[75]  Traits that would have ensured an early death in the wild made these animals perfectly adapted for life among humans.[76]

            Ancient ruling classes and nobility, such as the Chinese, Greeks and Romans, were all known to have kept animals as pets.[77]  The trend continued in medieval Europe, where pet-keeping became popular among the aristocracy and some senior clergy.[78]  However, companion animals would be scorned as objects of pagan worship during the Dark Ages and ultimately persecuted as tools of Satan during the witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[79]  Pet-keeping would not be generally accepted in the western world until the late seventeenth century, gaining popularity among the middle-classes by the mid-eighteenth century, and finally developing into the companionship-based practice we are familiar with today during the Victorian era.[80]

            There are an estimated 100 million cats and dogs currently living in American households, with eighty-percent of these households describing their animals as family members.[81]  In Richard A. Epstein’s opinion, “[w]hen it comes to medical care, it’s better to be a sick cat in a middle-class U.S. household than a sick peasant in a Third World country.”[82]

            By contrast, approximately 9.5 billion animals are reared and killed for food production in this country each year.[83]  This is almost forty-four times the number killed by hunters and trappers, animal shelters, fur-producers and researchers combined.[84]  Non-farmed animals have certain protections which can serve as the basis for future legal developments, but as a practical matter, farmed animals, who make up ninety-eight percent of all animals living in the United States, have no legal protection at all.[85]

 

IV. Farmed Animals and Their Place in Society

 

James Rachels contends that society generally thinks some animals are more worthy of protection than others.[86]  An animal’s rank essentially depends on its perceived degree of similarity to humans.[87]  Cats and dogs rank high because of their aesthetic appeal.[88]  The ability to relate to companion animals as members of the family explains the strong reaction that many people have against the use of cats and dogs in biomedical experiments,[89] as well as the outrage towards cat and dog fur-farming in China.[90]

            Gary L. Francione notes that, “although we may experience sorrow for the death of a beloved companion animal, we feel no sorrow for animals killed for food.  Indeed, the only time we lament the deaths of farm animals is when they die unproductively[.]”[91]  Matthew Scully recalls the extermination of nearly ten million livestock in Britain and mainland Europe as the result of a “mad cow disease” scare in early 2001.[92]  He describes the public’s horror at seeing images of these mass killings in the news, but for the animals, it was only a matter of timing.[93]

            The farmed-animal industry has control over its own regulation.[94]  The industry has successfully lobbied state legislatures to amend criminal statutes that purport to protect farmed animals against cruelty so that its members cannot be prosecuted for any farming practice that the industry itself deems acceptable.[95]  No laws exist to curtail the amount of pain caused by such practices.[96]  The United States Animal Welfare Act (AWA), enacted in 1966 to regulate animal experimentation and amended several times since,[97] is the primary piece of federal legislation relating to animal protection.[98]  While the Act sets forth minimal standards for animal care, it completely exempts farmed animals from its regulatory umbrella.[99]  Consequently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Unit (APHIS), the only entity that can enforce the AWA,[100] has no statutory authority to promulgate regulations relating to the welfare of farmed animals on farms.[101]  

            The Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 is the primary piece of federal legislation affecting farmed animals.[102]  However, the USDA’s reticence to enforce the Act’s already vague standards for carrying out slaughter “only by humane methods” and for preventing “needless suffering” led Congress to pass a resolution in 2002 entitled Enforcement of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958.[103]  This rare instance of Congress re-enacting an existing statute did nothing to increase the likelihood of compliance in that it did not require fines or other significant penalties for violations.[104]  Nor did the resolution amend the original Act’s poultry exemption, which means that ninety-five percent of all farmed animals (approximately 8.5 billion slaughtered per year) continue to have no federal legal protection from inhumane slaughter.[105]

            This carefully-crafted industry autonomy strips prosecutors, judges and juries throughout the United States of the power to determine whether a farmed animal has been treated in an acceptable manner.[106]  Even when a case gets into court based on a statute explicitly proscribing “unnecessary” or “unjustified” cruelty, the defendant can easily raise a reasonable doubt by arguing that the cruelty was “necessary” to achieve some industry-sanctioned end.[107] Gary Francione explains:

[w]hen the conduct in question is part of an accepted institutional exploitation of animals, the notion of necessity is not interpreted in its ordinary sense, and instead, the jury is directed to consider whether the conduct is justifiable by reference to the legitimate or accepted activity of which animal exploitation is a part.[108]

            The nation’s lack of identification with the plight of farmed animals can be attributed in part to the near-complete removal of “farm life” from American society.  Richard Polson, the vice president of Smithfield Foods, Inc., a Fortune 500 company,[109] analogized to Matthew Scully that a small-scale farmer raising his own livestock would make about as much sense as someone trying to build cars in his or her backyard;[110] in this day and age, automation and mass production are required to keep up with a global economy.[111]

            Scully acknowledges that traditional farmers are not blameless when it comes to cruel practices, but states:

we need not romanticize either the lives of these farmers or the lot of their animals to see the crucial point.  By the terms of basic husbandry, the animals served our needs and in return we showed a regard for theirs.  We assumed certain rights, and with those rights certain obligations.  There was honor in it.  We didn’t “grow” animals.  We raised them, took the trouble to understand them, respected their need and natures.[112]

            Today’s mechanized approach to farming capitalizes on social and racial hierarchies.  Society exploits and ignores certain classes of people the way it does certain “classes” of animals.  While historically employed en masse by packing plants, unskilled immigrant laborers now contribute their services to the farmed animal industry.[113]  Many workers are here illegally, living in constant fear of deportation.[114]  Unionization is completely out of the question.[115]  Most of the time, workers return to their native land as soon as they have some savings and a new batch of immigrants arrives to fill the vacated positions.[116]

            Charlie LeDuff describes the job placement hierarchy at Smithfield’s plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina as follows: “The few whites on the payroll tend to be mechanics and supervisors.  As for the Indians, a handful are supervisors; others tend to get clean menial jobs like warehouse work.  With few exceptions, that leaves the blacks and Mexicans with the dirty jobs at the factory[.]”[117]  Prisoners, who are often bussed in on work release, occupy the bottom rung as well, regardless of race.[118]

            Comments about the system like, “they don’t kill pigs, they kill people”[119] and “This job’s for an ass.  They treat you like an animal[,]”[120]  abound among factory-farm workers.  The implications of these statements require very little elaboration.  The powers-that-be seem to have few qualms with this dual-exploitation of disenfranchised humans and beasts.  Whether an animal is sent off to be “processed” while still alive[121] or a worker is knocked unconscious by a vat of hog carcasses falling on her, “nothing stops the disassembly lines.”[122]

 

V. Current Legal Realities for All Animals in the United States

 

            The law views domesticated animals as the personal property of the animal’s owner.[123]  Property law is founded on the principle that property itself cannot have rights against or apart from the will of its owner.[124]  Throughout the past forty years, there have only been a handful of cases in which courts have dared break away from the paradigm of animals as personal property.[125]  These tort and “custody” cases edge the law closer to recognizing the value of companion animals as extending far beyond the animals’ value as chattel.  The fact remains that the majority of cases, while often nodding to the sentimental value of companion animals, still regard them as property whose worth is to be limited to market value, and sometimes not even that.[126]

            In a 1994 case, Gluckman v. American Airlines,[127] the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted American Airlines’ motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s tort claims pertaining to his dog.  The dog suffered heat stroke and brain damage; the baggage compartment in which he was traveling reached one-hundred-forty degrees while the plane was stalled prior to take-off.[128]  The dog had to be euthanized as a result.[129]  The court declined to consider the plaintiff’s claims aside from his contention that the airline breached its obligation to him as bailee of the animal.[130]  In so doing, the Gluckman court reaffirmed the current legal status of animals.  “In viewing a pet as more than property . . . the Corso opinion,[131] and the few cases that follow it, are aberrations flying in the face of overwhelming authority to the contrary.”[132]

            The AWA’s text provides further proof of the existence of arbitrary limitations within the current legal landscape pertaining to animals.  A cursory look at the Act’s definition of “animal” reveals that the purpose of the statute is not to ensure the overall welfare of the animal kingdom, but rather, to attempt to protect certain animals within certain environments, so long as the human purpose for confining them within that environment is not disturbed.  The Act says:

The term “animal” means any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm-blooded animal, as the Secretary may determine is being used, or is intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet; but such term excludes (1) birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research, (2) horses not used for research purposes, and (3) other farm animals, such as, but not limited to livestock or poultry, used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber.[133]

This stark legal differentiation between animals that can be described as anthropomorphically-pleasing to humans, or to put it in simpler terms, “cute,” and those which are viewed purely as means to a human end paints a seemingly bleak future for farmed animals. 

            Tom Regan identifies the many forces that stand in the way of social justice for all animals:

First, we have several thousand years of Western civilization teaching that animals exist to satisfy human needs and satiate human desires.  Next, we have the great masses of humanity buying into the wisdom of the ages.  Then we have the major animal user industries, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising money, protected by the laws of the land, telling the great masses that, yes, it is true, animals exist to satisfy our needs and satiate our desires.  Finally, we have the social arrangements (the education system, religious institutions, legal traditions, restaurants, clothing stores, family-friendly forms of entertainment, the biomedical industrial complex, and what passes for sport among the adventurers in field and stream, for example.)[134]

 

He offers hope, however, in declaring that “the verdicts of history teach that entrenched social practices not only can change, they have changed.  But never without a struggle.”[135]

 

VI. Strategies for Change

 

While all animals in America are legally considered to be the property of their owners, public sentiment clearly leans toward acknowledging the inherent value of the lives of cats and dogs we call our “pets.”  Matthew Scully claims that the only reason society-at-large does not recognize the moral equality between a dog and a pig is because “human caprice and economic convenience [] say otherwise.”[136]  Taimie Bryant posits the theory that

[s]imilarity is seen as a legitimate basis for concern; dissimilarity is taken to be a legitimate basis for disregard.  For example, a white person who sees a black person as inevitably and significantly different from herself will not spend very much time trying to understand the black person’s experience, unless the black person makes it important for her to do so or unless an epiphany closes the gap of irrelevance.[137] 

Bryant further illustrates this notion by recalling the words of Mary Boykin Chesnut, wife of a U.S. Senator from South Carolina and author of the 1860 “A Diary from Dixie.” Chesnut, reacting to the sight of a young slave woman on an auction block, wrote, “I felt faint, seasick.  The creature looked so much like my good little Nancy.  She was a bright mulatto, with a pleasant face.”[138]

            We must not write Mary Boykin Chesnut’s words off as merely the condescending and matriarchal sentiment of a member of the privileged and oppressive class; they should be viewed as a prime example of the potential for breaking through barriers of inertia and edging toward the empathy required for social change.  Whenever a mid-nineteenth-century white southern woman actually stopped and looked at an enslaved woman, allowing herself to see the other woman for her individual characteristics and not just for her status as a commodity, the lines of “us” and “them” blurred, even if only for a moment.

            The question now is, what is it going to take to get Americans to stop in front of their butcher shop or deli section and look beyond the hanging body parts to see the whole being that is being offered up for sale?

 

A. Media Attention

 

Animal rights activists’ daily efforts to educate and campaign for change go largely unnoticed by the American media; the only time their work makes the evening news is when someone does something unlawful or outlandish.[139]  Capturing sensational acts on tape provides instant currency for “reputable” institutions of animal exploitation.  “Opponents of social movements throughout history have found it easy to generate feelings of suspicion toward those who are ‘different’ or ‘foreign’ and to create fears about social movement motives and objectives.”[140]  Nineteenth century media warned the nation that, if women gained the right to vote, soldiers, workers, husbands, and fathers would all be stripped of their manhood, fostering anxieties that continued to undercut the women’s movement well into the next century.[141]       

            How can the public’s fears surrounding the animal rights movement be assuaged?  Perhaps this could be accomplished if an “unlawful” or “outlandish” act were able to inspire compassion and sympathy for mistreated animals.  Tom Regan believes that “open rescues,” like the one performed by Compassion over Killing (COK) in April of 2001, manage to do just that.[142]  After learning of the deplorable conditions at a large battery hen operation, COK contacted the company to request a tour, but never received a response.[143]  Subsequently, four COK members made several unauthorized visits to the facility, using video and photography to document the sight of numerous dead hens in cages with live ones, as well as hens with their wings and feet caught in wire mesh.[144]  COK brought their findings to the state attorney general and to the local sheriff, but was turned away by both.[145] 

            On a final visit to the battery hen facility, the COK members took eight hens in desperate need of medical attention with them.[146]  They then made a public announcement about the actions they had taken, declaring their willingness to be arrested.[147]  The result was not an arrest, but rather, major newspapers and television programs giving COK’s open rescue extensive, positive coverage with primary focus on the hens themselves, and not the rescuers.[148] 

 

B. Legislation

 

Taimie Bryant discusses the two-fold benefit of using legislation as a tool for gaining public sympathy.  Promoting legislation not only has the potential to result in the banning of a cruel practice, but it also educates the public about the very existence of that practice.[149]  Bryant cites the then-pending California bill to ban the force-feeding of birds in the production of foie gras[150] as a good example, contending that even if the legislation were to fail, mass media coverage will have educated the public about a cruel practice which would not have otherwise been covered.[151]  However, she points out the foreseeable drawbacks of this course of action, stating that it

invites much more intense opposition from defenders of foie gras production, who have more incentive to defend against a proposed legislative ban than a mass public information campaign about the cruelty of foie gras production waged separately from proposed legislation.  In fact, greater incentives on both sides of the legislative proposal result in advocacy methods that carry considerable potential for public confusion about the reality of cruelty and about the credibility of animals’ advocates.[152]

Bryant goes on to say that because the public is willfully ignorant about how animals are turned into meat and does not want to believe they are eating cruelly produced foods, they are open to any apparently respectable entity’s assurances that their meat is not cruelly produced.[153]

            Nevertheless, the passage of California’s SB 1520, which will ultimately ban both production of foie gras by means of force-feeding ducks and geese, and sale within the state of foie gras produced that way, proves that despite any mixed messages that may have arisen during the campaign, the definition of “cruelty” is clear.[154]

 

C. Education

 

“Humane Education” is the term used to describe any educational program that promotes compassion and respect for people, animals and the environment, along with  recognition of the interdependence of all living things.[155]  Humane education is seen by many in the animal rights movement as a long-term preventative strategy that will bring about a lasting, large-scale improvement in the quality of animals' lives.[156]

            Focusing on children as instruments of change serves not only to encourage compassionate behavior toward animals at an early age, but might possibly curb future violent behavior in other realms of a child’s life.  Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between childhood animal abuse and the exhibition of sociopathic tendencies later in life.[157]  Putting this “humanistic” spin on humane education will help to make it all the more palatable to the general public.

 

D. Religious Institutions

 

Matthew Scully dares to ask “When did you last hear any Christian minister caution against cruelty to animals?  It comes up about as often as graven images[.]”[158]  Scully speaks of the dual-world in which many Christians live:

 

[T]here is this one world in which man made in the image of God affirms the inherent goodness of animals, feeling himself the just and benevolent master. … And then there is the world of the Easter feast of lamb or ham or veal, to be enjoyed without the slightest thought of the privation and misery the lamb or pig or calf endured at human hands.[159]

            And yet, as a Catholic and a conservative, Scully has by no means given up on religious institutions as vehicles for change.[160]  He notes that many Christians, C.S. Lewis and Billy Graham among them, believe that God might allow animal companions into Heaven based on the value set for them by their human counterparts.[161]  He draws this premise out to its logical conclusion, stating, “One would think this only further reason to spread our care as far and wide as possible, to be His instrument in a loving concern for all creation.”[162]  Scully claims that many of today’s cruelties come at the hands of people quick to identify themselves as “good Christian folk.”[163]

            Matthew Scully’s proposal for converting the hearts of America and its largely faith-oriented population[164] begins with converting animal rights terminology into words that resonate with a greater segment of society.  He contends that “[a]nimal advocates sometimes speak a language of liberation bearing little resemblance to the world that animals actually inhabit, or to our own world for that matter.”[165]  Scully posits that speaking in terms of abuse of power, or, to key in on Biblical terminology, the abuse of dominion,[166] will have a much greater effect.[167]

            Matthew Scully acknowledges America’s tendency to be outraged by anomalous horrors when they occur on factory farms: “We cringe when things go wrong at the farm and [all the animals] have to be shot, incinerated, and buried.  But it is just as hard to watch when things are going right.”[168]  He also recognizes that there was a time when animal exploitation was necessary for humankind to survive, but declares that that time is now coming to pass.[169]  “When substitute products are found, with each creature in turn, responsible dominion calls for a reprieve.  The warrant expires.  The divine mandate is used up.  What were once ‘necessary evils’ become just evils.”[170]

 

VII. Conclusion

 

Abolishing, or even limiting, human exploitation of animals may appear to be a virtually insurmountable challenge, considering that these practices have been engrained in most of the world’s culture for several millennia, and have certainly been an accepted part of American life since the nation’s founding.  Yet the same could easily have been said about recognizing the basic rights of women less than a hundred-and-fifty years ago.  In practice, the gender and race divides in this country have not been completely bridged by any means; however, from a legal standpoint, the chasm has been narrowed considerably.

            Equally significant, if not more so, is the fact that it is no longer culturally acceptable, or to use the popular catch-phrase, “politically correct,” to publicly disparage or discriminate against women and minorities.  In contrast, the animal rights movement is a long way away from being considered a “politically correct” cause, “perhaps because more than allegiance to any idea or doctrine the cause requires a conscious act of will and a change in personal habits.”[171]

            Animal activists must be attuned to the public’s tendency toward accepting only that part of a movement that capitalizes on the status quo.  Just as nineteenth-century white middle-class men came to accept their wives taking on limited but nonetheless influential roles in society, modern America has no qualms about standing alongside animal rights proponents in their call for tougher criminal penalties for dog and cat abusers.  But when it comes to staring squarely into the eyes of those being institutionally oppressed, whether the victims be human or non-human animals, society has always been quick to look away.

            By channeling their message of compassion and personal responsibility through mainstream vehicles such as the media, legislation, educational facilities and religious institutions, animal activists can connect with people who might not otherwise seek out information on animal exploitation.  This kind of earnest, straight-forward exposure to the realities of life on factory farms will aid in dispelling industry-propagated myths about the happy existence of farmed animals.  Victory for the animal rights movement will be built on a succession of small, highly-individualized epiphanies; animal activists must present opportunities for people to look into the eyes of the powerless, suffering victims of institutionalized cruelty, and hopefully, like that slave-holding southern woman who could not take her eyes off the horrors of the auction block, the American public will not look away either.

 

 



* [1]]Copyright, Camden Janemary McDaris, 2005.  J.D. Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 2006; recipient of the Jacob Burns Medal for Outstanding Contribution to a Law Journal; founder and president, Cardozo Student Animal Legal Defense Fund; student member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals.  This note is dedicated to the memory of Ms. McDaris’s cousin, Marisa K. Harvey.  Ms. McDaris would like to thank her parents for their continual support and encouragement, and David Wolfson, Stephanie Russell, Marisa Miller and Eva Hanks for their help and guidance throughout the process of writing this note.  [The Journal proudly presents Ms. Camden’s article which was awarded the prestigious Jacob Burns Medal.--Eds.]

Robert E. Denton, Jr., Craig Allen Smith & Charles J. Stewart, Persuasion and Social Movements 6 (4­­th ed. 2001).

[2] Id. at 6-7.

[3] Id. at 328.

[4] Id. at 321.

[5] Tom Regan, Empty Cages, Facing the Challenges of Animal Rights 192-193 (2004); Matthew Scully, Dominion, The Power of Man, The Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy 351 (2002).

[6] Bradwell v. Illinois, 83 U.S. 130, 141 (1872).

[7] In all fairness to the Court, it is worth noting that the thrust of Justice Bradley’s concurrence (basing his reasoning on “natural” and “divine” law) was unique to his opinion.  Justice Miller, who delivered the opinion of the Court, confined the holding to a narrow interpretation of the Constitution’s “privileges and immunities” clause, as established during that same term in The Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1873), whereby “the right to control and regulate the granting of license to practice law in the courts of a State is one of those powers which are not transferred for its protection to the Federal government, and its exercise is in no manner governed by citizenship of the United States in the party seeking such license.” Bradwell, 83 U.S. at 139.  The majority opinion of the Supreme Court of Illinois evinced a similar blind-eye to justice without resorting to blatantly paternalistic language either.  The lower court justified entering judgment against Myra Bradwell on the grounds that courts are not springboards for change absent legislative sanctioning and that the legislation already in place ought to be given an “originalist” interpretation:  “Whatever [] may be our individual opinions as to the admission of women to the bar, we do not deem ourselves at liberty to exercise our power in a mode never contemplated by the legislature[.]”  Bradwell v. Illinois, 55 Ill. 535, 539 (1876).

[8] Peter Singer, Ethics beyond Species and beyond Instincts:  A Response to Richard Posner, in Animal Rights, Current Debates and New Directions 78, 78-79 (Cass R. Sunstein & Martha C. Nussbaum eds., 2004).

[9] See generally Louise Michele Newman, White Women’s Rights, The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States (1999); Mary E. Odem, Delinquent Daughters, Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 (1995).

[10] Louise Michele Newman defines this as being “pious, virtuous, genteel, refined, soft-spoken [and] well-dressed.” Newman, supra note 9, at 8.

[11] See generally David J. Wolfson & Mariann Sullivan, Foxes in the Hen House, Animals, Agribusiness, and the Law: A Modern American Fable, in Animal Rights, Current Debates and New Directions 205, (Cass R. Sunstein & Martha C. Nussbaum eds., 2004) .

[12] See Scully, supra note 5, at 262.  See generally Charlie LeDuff, At a Slaughterhouse, Some Things Never Die; Who Kills, Who Cuts, Who Bosses Can Depend on Race, N.Y. Times, June 16, 2000, at A1, available at LEXIS, News Library, NYT File.

[13] See infra Parts III & IV.

[14] 1 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 442 (1765).

[15] 1848 N.Y. Laws 307, ch. 200, available at                                                                                                                                   http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awlaw3/property_law.html (last visited June 10, 2006).

Sec. 1. The real and personal property of any female who may hereafter marry, and which she shall own at the time of marriage, and the rents issues and profits thereof shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband, nor be liable for his debts, and shall continue her sole and separate property, as if she were a single female.

Sec. 2 The real and personal property, and the rents issues and profits thereof of any female now married shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband; but shall be her sole and separate property as if she were a single female except so far as the same may be liable for the debts of her husband heretofore contracted.

Sec. 3. It shall be lawful for any married female to receive, by gift, grant devise or bequest, from any person other than her husband and hold to her sole and separate use, as if she were a single female, real and personal property, and the rents, issues and profits thereof, and the same shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband, nor be liable for his debts.

Sec. 4. All contracts made between persons in contemplation of marriage shall remain in full force after such marriage takes place.

Id.

[16] See Reva B. Siegel, She the People:  The Nineteenth Amendment, Sex, Equality, Federalism, and the Family, 115 Harv. L. Rev. 947, 983 (2002).

[17] See Claudia Zaher, When a Woman’s Marital Status Determined Her Legal Status: A Research Guide on the Common Law Doctrine of Coverture, 94 Law Libr. J. 459, 462 (2002).

[18] Reva B. Siegel, The Modernization of Marital Status Law: Adjudicating Wives’ Rights to Earnings, 1860-1930, 82 Geo L.J. 2127, 2142 (1994).

[19] Siegel, supra note 16, at 983.  See also Zaher, supra note 17, at 462.  In fact, until Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, women could legally be taken out of the running for promotions because it was assumed they were being supported by their husbands; married women needed their husbands’ consent to obtain a loan, even when that loan was to be used for their own successful business; and corporate anti-nepotism rules usually entailed the wife being forced to seek new employment.  Id.

[20] Siegel, supra note 16, at 983.

[21] Id.

[22] Bradwell, 55 Ill. at 537.

[23] Newman, supra note 9, at 3.

[24] Id. at 4.

[25] See generally Newman, supra note 9.  “From Stanton’s perspective, the proposed Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments threatened to introduce a new gender-based hierarchy that overlooked distinctions of education, virtue, and refinement, qualities that Stanton believed existed in greater degree and preponderance in white women because of the more advanced development of their race.” Id. at 5.

[26] Joan B. Landes, Republicanism 1, at http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/women/html/wh_032000_republicanis.htm (last visited Aug. 25, 2005) (copy on file with author).

[27] Id.

[28] Newman, supra note 9, at 7.

[29] Id. at 26.  A typical “separate spheres” sentiment would be as follows: “To the husband, by natural allotment . . . fall the duties which protect and provide for the household, and to the wife the more quiet and secluded but no less exalted duties of mother to their children and mistress to their domicile.”  H.R. Rep. No. 48-1330, at 3 (1884).

[30] Newman, supra note 9, at 26.

[31] Id.

[32] Id.

[33] Id.

[34] Id. at 27.

[35] See Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Early History, http://www.wctu.org/earlyhistory.html (last visited June 10, 2006).

[36] Kathleen Kerr & Thomas Dublin, How Did the Reform Agenda of Minnesota Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Change, 1878-1917? 2, available at http://womhist.binghamton.edu/wctu/intro.htm (last visited Mar. 1, 2005) (copy on file with author).

[37] Odem, supra note 9, at 10.

[38] Kerr & Dublin, supra note 36.

[39] Newman, supra note 9, at 66.

[40] Kerr & Dublin, supra note 36.

[41] Id.

[42] Id.

[43] Id.

[44] Robert C. Bannister, Social Darwinism, in Encarta Online Encyclopedia (2005), at

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761579584/Social_Darwinism.html (last visited June 10, 2006).

[45] Id.

[46] Id.

[47] Newman, supra note 9, at 23.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] Id. at 34.

[51] Odem, supra note 9, at 3.

[52] Id.

[53] Id. at 3, 14-15.  This goal was almost completely accomplished throughout the country by 1920. Id. at 14-15.

[54] Id. at 4.

[55] The term was coined by contemporary English purity activists to refer to young women who were abducted for the purpose of being forced into prostitution. Id. at 11.

[56] Odem, supra note 9, at 12.

[57] Id. at 25.

[58] Id. at 29.

[59] Id. at 26.

[60] Id. at 27.

[61] Odem, supra note 9, at 28.

[62] Id. at 27, 29.

[63] A.C. Tompkins, The Age of Consent from a Physio-Psychological Standpoint, 13 Arena, July 1895, at 223.

[64] Odem, supra note 9, at 36.

[65] See Newman, supra note 9, at 18, 39.

[66] See id. at 9.

[67] See id. at 53.

[68] The Evolution of Pet Ownership 1,

http://www.pedigree.com/PedigreeCenter/Articles/Things+to+consider/Facts+about+dogs/The+evolution+of+pet+ownership.asp [hereinafter Evolution] (last visited June 10, 2006).

[69] Id.

[70] Id.

[71] Id. at 2.

[72] David Comfort, The First Pet History of the World 22-23, 42-43 (1994).

[73] The Domestication of Dogs and Cats 2,

http://www.pedigree.com/PedigreeCenter/Articles/Behavior/Facts+about+Dogs/The+domestication+of+dogs+and+cats.asp?FILTER=Adult (last visited June 10, 2006).

[74] Id.

[75] Id.

[76] Id.

[77] Comfort, supra note 72, at 57, 131.

[78] Evolution, supra note 68, at 2.

[79] Comfort, supra note 72, at 95-101. 

[80] Evolution, supra note 68, at 2.

[81] Human-Animal Bond Statistics 2, http://www.guardiancampaign.com/whatIsCampaignPollsshow.htm (last visited June 10, 2006).

[82] Richard A. Epstein, Animals as Objects, or Subjects, of Rights, in Animal Rights, Current Debates and New Directions 143, 148 (Cass R. Sunstein & Martha C. Nussbaum eds., 2004).

[83] Wolfson & Sullivan, supra note 11, at 206.

[84] Id.  Approximately 218 million animals are killed every year in non-farming-related practices. Id.

[85] Id.

[86] James Rachels, Drawing Lines, in Animal Rights, Current Debates and New Directions 162, 164 (Cass R. Sunstein & Martha C. Nussbaum eds., 2004).

[87] Id.

[88] Id.

[89] Gary L. Francione, Animals, Property, and the Law 30 (1995).  An excellent illustration of this is the public outcry and Congressional action that resulted from the February 4, 1966 publication of Henry Luce’s Life magazine article entitled “Concentration Camps for Dogs.”  See Bryn Nelson, SCIENCE AT A PRICE; Ethics as the argument; New questions are raised about whether the gains of animal research are worth the ethical uncertainties, Newsday, Sept. 27, 2004, at A06, available at LEXIS, News Library, Nday File.  Congress received more mail based on this article exposing the market for kidnapped pets being sold into research than it had received pertaining to either the Vietnam War or civil rights, ultimately resulting in the passage of the Animal Welfare Act of 1966.  Christine Stevens, Chapter IV, Laboratory Animal Welfare, in Animals and Their Legal Rights, A Survey of American Laws from 1641 to 1990 66, 74 (Animal Welfare Institute ed., 4th ed. 1990.)

[90] See Dateline NBC: Victims of Fashion (NBC television broadcast, Dec. 15, 1998).  The Humane Society of the United States sent undercover agents to film the gruesome goings-on in Chinese fur farms, where over two million cats and dogs are slaughtered annually.  Most of the fur makes its way to the West and its origins are generally unknown to retailers and consumers.  Matthew Scully points out the hypocrisy in America’s reaction to this exposé:  “We like cats and dogs.  We only allow that to happen to other animals.  It’s okay to stuff millions of other creatures like mink and beaver and fox into cages and torture and terrify and electrocute them[.]”  Scully, supra note 5, at 121.

[91] Francione, supra note 89, at 31 (italics in original).

[92] Scully, supra note 5, at ix.

[93] Id. at x.

[94] Wolfson & Sullivan, supra note 11, at 206.

[95] Id.

[96] Id.  Thirty-three states have anti-cruelty statutes exempting some combination of “accepted,” “common,”

“customary,” or “normal” farming practice. Id. at 212, 228.

[97] See 7 U.S.C. §§2131-2159.

[98] Wolfson & Sullivan, supra note 11, at 207.

[99] Id.

[100] Taimie Bryant, Trauma, Law, and Advocacy for Animals, 1 J. Animal L. & Ethics 63, 81 (2006).

[101] Wolfson & Sullivan, supra note 11, at 207.

[102] Id.  The only other federal statute addressing the welfare of farmed animals is the Twenty-Eight Hour Law, enacted in 1877, which provides that animals cannot be transported across state lines for more than twenty-eight hours by a “rail carrier, express carrier, or common carrier (except by air or water)” without being unloaded for at least five hours of rest, watering, and feeding. Id. at 208 (citing 49 U.S.C. §80502 (2003)).  The fact that the USDA has determined that the law was “written to apply only to transport by railcar” and that it “does not apply to transport by trucks,” along with the fact that the statute is rarely, if ever, enforced, with a maximum penalty of only $500, however, renders it essentially meaningless. Id. at 208 (citing 60 F.R. 48362, 48365).

[103] See Wolfson & Sullivan, supra note 11, at 208.  In 1985, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report stating that, while the USDA had complained of not having enough funding to properly carry out all of its inspections, the USDA itself had proposed for the years 1983 through 1986 that funding for APHIS inspections be eliminated or reduced and that state, local and private agencies take over the job of monitoring animal welfare.  Francione, supra note 89, at 216.  Taimie Bryant further contends that USDA veterinarians and their supervisors “want to . . . go easy on the [slaughterhouses] because they know that after they leave the USDA they can get a high-paying job as an industry consultant.”  Bryant, supra note 100, at 82 n.50.

[104] Wolfson & Sullivan, supra note 11, at 208.

[105] Id.

[106] Id. at 206.

[107] Francione, supra note 89, at 134.

[108] Id.

[109] Scully, supra note 5, at 250.

[110] Delving into the gruesome details of modern factory-farming would not serve any purpose.  However, if one wishes to read an extremely powerful account of such practices, I would recommend Chapter Six, “Deliver Me from My Necessities,” Scully, supra note 5, at 247-86.

[111] Id. at 255. 

[112] Id. at 270-71.

[113] Id. at 262.

[114] Id.

[115] Id.

[116] Scully, supra note 5, at 262.

[117] LeDuff, supra note 12, at A24.

[118] Id.

[119] Id.

[120] Id.

[121] Scully, supra note 5, at 284.

[122] LeDuff, supra note 12, at A25.

[123] See generally Francione, supra note 89.

[124] Id. at 4 (citing Jeremy Waldron, The Right to Private Property 27 (1988)).

[125] See, e.g. Raymond v. Lachmann, 695 N.Y.S.2d 308 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t 1999) (basing possession of a cat in a “custody” dispute on the “best interests of the cat”); Bueckner v. Hamal, 886 S.W.2d 368, 373 (Tex. App. 1994) (concurrence focusing on “the intrinsic or special value of domestic animals as companions and beloved pets.”).  The concurring judge goes on to say “I consider them to belong to a unique category of ‘property’ that neither statutory law nor caselaw has yet recognized.” Id. at 377; In re Fouts, 677 N.Y.S.2d 699 (N.Y. Sur. Ct. 1998) (appointing an enforcer to receive process for chimpanzees, and proclaiming that the enforcer would perform the same function as a guardian ad litem for an incapacitated person); Brousseau v. Rosenthal, 443 N.Y.S.2d 285 (N.Y. Civ. Ct. 1980) (factoring in loss-of-companionship when valuing a dog for damages as a result of the animal’s death while in the defendant’s care); Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hosp., 415 N.Y.S.2d 182 (N.Y. Civ. Ct. 1979) (holding “that a pet is not just a thing but occupies a special place in between a person and a piece of personal property.” Id. at 183); Zovko v. Gregory, No. CH-97544 (Va. Cir. Ct. 1997) (applying a “best interests of the pet” standard in awarding possession of a cat to one roommate over the other after they had gone their separate ways).  

[126] See generally Deiro v. American Airlines, 816 F.2d 1360 (9th Cir. 1987) (holding that, because the appellee airline’s limited liability policy for damaged baggage was clearly printed on appellant-air-traveler’s ticket, appellant could not recover more than that minimal amount for the negligent deaths of seven of his greyhound dogs); Richardson v. Fairbanks N. Star Borough, 705 P.2d 454 (Alaska 1985) (limiting the damage award for the death of plaintiff’s dog, caused by defendant’s negligence, to the dog’s market value or replacement cost); Nichols v. Sukaro Kennels, 555 N.W.2d 689 (Iowa 1996) (awarding plaintiffs costs and declining to base damages on the intrinsic value of the dog); Green v. Leckington, 192 Or. 601 (1951) (ruling that there is nothing unconstitutional about a statute which allows someone to shoot a dog caught chasing their livestock or poultry); Katsaris v. Cook, 180 Cal. App. 3d 256 (1986) (holding that respondent-livestock owners were justified in killing appellant’s two dogs and dumping them in a ditch in accordance with a statute that permits livestock owners to kill any dog that steps onto their property, with no duty to notify the dog’s owner of their actions); Soucek v. Banham, 524 N.W.2d 478 (Minn. App. 1994) (refusing to grant punitive damages absent personal injury, and since dogs are considered personal property, no personal injury occurred when respondent police officers intentionally killed the animal); Young v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 432 N.Y.S.2d 390 (N.Y. App. Div. 1980) (limiting plaintiff’s damages for the death of his dog caused by defendant-airline’s negligence to a standard amount for lost property set by the Civil Aeronautics Board); Daughen v. Fox, 372 Pa. Super 405 (1988) (holding that a dog is not a unique chattel and under no circumstances can there be recovery for loss of companionship due to the death of an animal); Smith v. Palace Transp. Co., 253 N.Y.S. 87 (N.Y. Mun. Ct. 1931) (proclaiming that a person’s feelings for their pet could not be used as a factor when valuing damages) overruled by Corso v. Crawford Dog and Cat Hosp., 415 N.Y.S.2d 182 (N.Y. Civ. Ct. 1979).  Note that Smith v. Palace Transp. Co. continues to be followed, despite its status as having been overruled by Corso.  See, e.g., Jason v. Parks, 638 N.Y.S.2d 170 (N.Y. App. Div. 1996); Fowler v. Ticonderoga, 516 N.Y.S.2d 368 (N.Y. App. Div. 1987); Zager v. Dimilia, 524 N.Y.S.2d 968 (N.Y. Just. Ct. 1988); Stettner v. Graubard, 368 N.Y.S.2d 683 (Town Ct. 1975). 

[127] Gluckman v. American Airlines, 844 F.Supp 151 (S.D.N.Y. 1994).

[128] Id. at 154.

[129] Id. 

[130] Id.  Specifically, Gluckman sought both compensatory and punitive damages as a result of the dog’s death and his own emotional distress as Count One; compensatory damages for loss of the companionship of his pet in Count Two; compensatory damages for the dog’s own pain and suffering as Count Three; compensatory damages based upon the “tort of outrage,” defined as the defendant having acted with reckless disregard of the probability that its conduct would cause Gluckman severe mental anguish as Count Four; and finally, Gluckman claimed in Count Five that American breached its obligation to him by failing to deliver and return the dog in the same healthy condition in which he was received. Id. at 156.

[131] See note 125.

[132] 844 F. Supp. at 158.

[133] 7 U.S.C. §2132(g) (emphasis added).

[134] Regan, supra note 5, at 192.

[135] Id. at 193.

[136] Matthew Scully, Fear Factories, The Case for Compassionate Conservatism--for Animals, The American Conservative, May 23, 2005, at 7, 10.

[137] Bryant, supra note 100, at 106-07.

[138] Id. at 41 (quoting Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary From Dixie 13 (1905), available at

 http://docsouth.unc.edu/chesnut/maryches.html (last visited June 10, 2006)).

[139] Regan, supra note 5, at 183.

[140] Denton, Smith & Stewart, supra note 1, at 328.

[141] Id. at 327.

[142] Regan, supra note 5, at 195.

[143] Id.

[144] Id.

[145] Id.

[146] Id.

[147] Id.

[148] Regan, supra note 5, at 195. As seemingly damning as footage of eleven birds wedged into a space the size of a file cabinet drawer is, it did not stop Ken Klippen, Vice President of Government Relations for United Egg Producers from proclaiming that “having chickens in cages is the humane way of producing eggs.” Id.

[149] Bryant, supra note 100, at 84.

[150] See States Join California in Considering Bans on Force Feeding of Ducks and Geese, http://avar.org/foiegras2.html (last visited June 10, 2006).  In September of 2004, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill, SB 1520, into law.  The bill also bans the sale of foie gras in the state when made from force-fed birds; both the sale and production provisions will take effect in the year 2012. Id.

[151] Bryant, supra note 100, at 84.

[152] Id.

[153] Id.

[154] See note 150.

[155] See Humane Education, http://worldanimal.net/humane-ed.html (last visited June 10, 2006).

[156] Id.  The American Humane Association, The Fund for Animals, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Anti-Vivisection Society are just a few organizations that promote youth outreach as a means of combating animal cruelty. See http://www.humaneedu.com/edurefer.html (last visited May 30, 2006).

[157] See generally Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Animal Abuse: Linking the Circles of Compassion

 for Prevention and Intervention (Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D., and Phil Arkow eds., 1999). 

[158] Scully, supra note 5, at 15.

[159] Id. at 17.

[160] See generally Scully, supra  note 5, at 1-46.

[161] Id. at 19-20.

[162] Id. at 20.

[163] Id.

[164] A recent poll conducted by the National Broadcasting Corporation asked participants, “How often do you attend services at a church, synagogue, or other place of worship?” to which forty-one percent replied, “Once a week or more.”  When those surveyed were asked, “How often do you pray?” sixty-four percent said they prayed daily. NBC Poll, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7231603/ (conducted by Peter D. Hart Research, which interviewed 800 adults by telephone on March 8-10, 2005, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points) (last visited June 10, 2006).

[165] Scully, supra note 5, at 20.

[166] See Genesis 1:26-30.

[167] Scully, supra note 5, at 24.

[168] Id. at 29.

[169] Id. at 42.

[170] Id. at 43.

[171] Scully, supra note 5, at 107.

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