Examining the Legal Protection of Animals Used in Entertainment
The October 17, 2012 daylong event will feature panels on the legal protections accorded to animals used for entertainment purposes, including movies, television, zoos, circuses and racing. These areas will be examined through a filter of ethical responsibilities involved in using animals for entertainment, legal liability for the misuse of animals, the history of the field of animal law in entertainment and what happens to animals after they "retire."
Gary Francione will deliver the luncheon presentation, “Animals as Property: The Challenges of Animal Law.” Mr. Francione is the Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law & Philosophy at Rutgers School of Law-Newark. He is one of the most well-known figures in the modern animal rights movement. He is the author of six books, most recently The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?
- Improving the Odds for Racing Animals
This panel will focus on the controversies surrounding horse racing and greyhound racing and legal efforts at reform. A recent New York Times article featured the statistic that 24 horses die every week as a result of horse racing. Similarly, some estimate that tens of thousands of greyhounds are killed annually because they are not fit for racing. While many still enjoy watching events such as the Kentucky Derby or betting at the track, others remain uncomfortable with horse doping and the difficulty in finding homes for horses that can no longer race. Our panel will also discuss the health risks concerning animals that race, the efforts to improve the living conditions of racers, the attempts by the horse racing community to improve its image, and the success in getting 38 states to ban commercial dog racing.
- Protecting Animal Actors from Harm in Film and Television
This panel will explore questions concerning the treatment of animals on the sets of television and movies. Most recently, the issue of animals in television and film garnered international attention because of HBO's "Luck," which was canceled after three horses died during the filming of the series. In addition to discussing the "Luck" situation, our speakers will examine the lives of animal actors both on and off the screen, the role of legal regulation in this realm and the ongoing use of live animals in light of advancements in CGI and animatronics.
- Rethinking the Role of Zoos
This panel will explore the role of zoos in the 21st century. Zoo advocates note the preservation and research opportunities presented by well-run, modern zoos and observe that many species can be protected in this environment. Others question whether zoos should continue as they have, given the forced captivity of animals that they inevitably involve.
- Beneath the Big Top: Legal Regulation of Circuses
This panel will concentrate on the legal and social issues surrounding circus animals. Circus owners and trainers stress the enjoyment the public receives from their shows, and they defend their treatment of animals by questioning allegations of pain and abuse. However, the use of bullhooks for elephant training continues to remain a hot topic among animal advocates, and the United States Department of Agriculture recently levied a fine against Feld Entertainment Inc., (owners of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus) for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Other topics for discussion include lawsuits filed against Feld Entertainment for animal cruelty, Feld Entertainment’s RICO claim against animal advocacy groups, and the banning of circus animals in Greece and Paraguay.