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If Corporations Have Rights Like People, Shouldn't Animals?

In a nation where corporations are people and others want fetuses to be, a core of philosophers and attorneys are trying develop laws to declare animals “legal persons.”

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“Courses that promote standards for humane animal care and welfare are unlikely to provoke conflict,” he wrote, “but programs championing animal rights or ‘liberation’ set up adversarial potential on campuses and pose a serious risk to the future of animal research.”

Joyce Tischler, founder and chief counsel of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) said such reactions remind her of early environmental law classes, when the refrain was, “Oh my God, it’s so radical!” She says that Steven Wise aside, courses are basically animal protection law and may not even include a section on animal rights.

ALDF attorney Matthew Liebman responded to Conn on ALDF’s website saying that “there is no doubt that at least a few animal research programs have attempted to block the addition of animal law courses or at least alter their content.” While in a follow-up e-mail he explained that his statement was “anecdotal,” he did think Conn’s editorial “demonstrates the anxiety many researchers feel about the proliferation of animal law classes.”

They are certainly not going away. Lewis & Clark Law School’s Center for Animal Law Studies will present the 9th annual National Animal Law Competitions, an inter-law school competition in collaboration with the ALDF, at UCLA in February 2012. 

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