Utne Blogs > Environment

The Regulatory Czar and Animal Rights

by Hannah Rogal 


Tags: Environment, animal rights movement, animal rights activists, animal standing, wilderness and wildlife, The Weekly Standard,

cows

For years, the animal rights movement has pushed for a court ruling that would grant animals the legal standing to sue.  Currently, animal right activists cannot represent animals in court.  If such a ruling passed, these activists could sue restaurant chains and farmers on behalf of cows waiting to be slaughtered, for example. 

Some feel that the possibility of animals achieving legal standing is heightened with the appointment of President Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.  There are few benefits to animal standing, writes Wesley J. Smith in the Weekly Standard:

...Animal standing would do more than just plunge the entire animal industry sector into chaos.  In one fell swoop, it would both undermine the status of animals as property and elevate them with the force of law toward legal personhood.

But Mother Jones paints Sunstein and the issue of animal standing with a less hyperbolic brush, first with her own words, and then with those of a former colleague. Here’s Sunstein in 2002:

I believe that it is excessive to ban experiments that impose a degree of suffering on rats or mice if the consequence of those experiments is to produce significant medical advances for human beings.

And here’s a University of Chicago colleague of Sunstein’s:

…What Sunstein is asking is that humans be able to go to court as advocates for animals who are being ill treated, when that treatment violates existing law. So it is not a radical move; it is a move that solves a problem: We pass laws against animal cruelty, and then we have no mechanism to ensure that these laws will be enforced.

Source: Weekly Standard, Mother Jones

Image by Sunfox, licensed under Creative Commons.

 

prentice price
8/3/2009 3:13:31 PM

Hey! Why stop there? Let's all get together and force people to stop swatting flies. After all they don't eat much. And we can put the pest control people completely out of business. After all it's much better for a person to go hungry than it is to harm a roach or ant or flea. And what about plants? They are living organisms and deserve protection the same as animals. So lets all starve and we won't have the obesity problem any more. We can all just sit around and die. I'll venture to say most of the animal rights activist and tree huggers eat burgers. I wonder if the cave men had this problem. Lets not forget that if the cave men hadn't eat animals none of us would be here anyway. Hey! Here's another good idea. Lets sue the cave men. They're the ones that really got us into this mess anyhow. Prentice Price