Monday, 17 March 2008

the law and dogs

As a dog owner I hope Penny and I never fall foul of the law, but I know it's a good idea to keep abreast of what is happening around the world. I've noticed already that trends in other countries, especially the US, seem to loom on the horizon here a short while later - for instance, the publicity about dangerous breed legislation. So I was interested to come across a site called Animal Law Blog.The blog owner says the site
features one practitioner's observations and analysis of animal law litigation in her state of Illinois and around the country, criminal cases as time permits, as well as links to legislation and other animal law resources.
There's a link to a report about a man who fought for eight months to prove his dog was not a pit bull. He eventually did so through a dna test.

I also followed a link from Animal Law to Voiceless - the Fund for Animals where it's reported that the Australian Law Reform Commission has devoted the current edition of its twice yearly publication, Reform, to the subject of Animal Law.

They say that the University of New South Wales and Griffith University have pioneered animal law courses in recent years, while the University of Sydney, The University of Wollongong and Bond University have recently incorporated animal law into their curriculum. All this is in comparison the the USA, where animal law has been taught for 20 years and is now available at over 90 universities including Ivy League Institutions such as Harvard, Columbia and Cornell Law Schools.

I don't believe you could live with a dog for any length of time without realising the depth of their intelligence and their ability to experience emotions, even if not in the way we humans do. It's great to think that we might be able to move on from regarding them as 'property' and seeing them as living creatures that have rights that need to be protected.To read more about this you might like to visit Voiceless and read two speeches written by J. M. Coetzee (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature). I found them challenging and moving.

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