Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Animal-Rights Advocates Bare Teeth in a Novel Way

Animal-rights groups are aggressively stepping up legal tactics in an approach that is picking up steam nationally. The latest such instance was heard in a Wisconsin court on Thursday involving sheep that died of decompression sickness. In Madison, prosecutors declined to pursue University of Wisconsin officials and researchers whose test subjects, three sheep, inadvertently died of an illness that befalls deep-sea divers, decompression sickness or the bends, during U.S. Navy-financed experiments aimed at helping submariners. But two animal-rights groups, Alliance for Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, seized on a little-invoked state law to aid their case. The law allows citizens to petition a judge to order prosecutions when there's probable cause to believe a law has been violated and when a district attorney has refused to issue a complaint. At a hearing Thursday, an attorney for the animal groups asked Dane County Circuit Court Judge Amy R. Smith to order a special prosecutor to file civil charges against the university employees for killing animals using decompression, a condition caused by rapid changes in air pressure that can disrupt blood flow, which is outlawed in the state. The judge said she would issue a ruling later this month. State and local laws vary when it comes to animal-cruelty measures. Some animals, including farmed animals and rodents, have few if any protections. But animal-rights groups are cleverly using existing laws to help protect them. Lawyers in Indiana, Oregon and Washington state have used foreclosure laws to secure liens on horses, dogs and other pets of people charged with abuse to seize the animals. Because pets are considered property, the lawyers, working with local shelters can secure a lien equal to the cost of treating or boarding the abused animals and then auction them off for the price of the lien. The shelters so far have been the only bidders, allowing them to take possession of the animals and then offer up the pets for adoption...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Jane Velez-Mitchell for promoting this story to get Prop 2 in Ohio on her CNN Headline News Channel show "Issues." Here is the link!!! Please Spread the Video so she can continue to cover this story.