CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, November 13, 2005

New Article Spotlight: Animal Cruelty Statutes

Ibrahim LawProf Darian Ibrahim of the University of Arizona has posted a very interesting paper, The Anticruelty Statute: A Study in Animal Welfare on SSRN; the article is forthcoming in 1 J. Animal L. & Ethics __ (2006), published at Penn Law.   His description of the paper: "Animal anticruelty statutes, which are criminal statutes on the books of every state, contain general and broadly worded prohibitions on cruelty similar to child protection statutes.  In this paper, [the author] argues that anticruelty statutes are, and will continue to be, ineffective in policing against animal suffering for two main reasons.  First, many of these statutes explicitly exempt the activities that cause 99% of animal suffering (e.g., food production, hunting, and animal experimentation) and will continue to do so as long as society accepts these activities as legitimate.  Second, even when anticruelty statutes do not explicitly contain these exemptions, courts have interpreted them in, and indeed must continue to do so to satisfy fair warning requirements.  This article contends that anticruelty statutes, while noble in theory, are ineffective in practice precisely because they do not challenge the underlying exploitation of animals, but focus instead on unworkable notions of “humane treatment”." Paper here.

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