Introduction to Animal Law
Today, an overwhelming majority of Americans agree that cruelty to animals has absolutely no place in a civilized society, and that it should be abolished. So why can’t we simply pass a law that puts an end to animal cruelty once and for all?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t all that simple.
Sure, there are some laws in place that protect certain animals, but only to a degree – a degree that often falls far too short of justice, compassion and good sense. Thus, hundreds of millions of animals (including dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, rodents and others) continue to be “legally” maimed, mutilated and killed in the United States each year in the misguided name of “science.” Billions more are bred, raised and slaughtered for other uses.
The faces and causes of sanctioned animal suffering are as numerous as they are complex, but they’re all rooted in one clearly false legal premise: that animals are property, rather than fellow, living beings who feel emotions and suffer pain just as we do. But unlike human beings, animals are voiceless… and therefore helpless.
That’s why NAVS, in partnership with concerned citizens across the country, has been a leading voice for animals for nearly four generations, not through shrill, take-to-the-streets agitation, but through a sober determination and a quiet commitment to using the tools of the legal process in bringing about change. Since 1929, our mission has remained the same: to promote greater compassion, respect and justice for animals through education and advocacy, and laying to final rest the outdated, ineffective and horrifying practice of animal experimentation – whether in biomedical research facilities, cosmetic industry labs or our nation’s classrooms.
It’s hardly a simple task, this measured, rational approach. Given that there are so many varying laws governing the treatment of animals, the path to reform is strewn with obstacles, not only in the tangle of the legislative process, but in legislators beholden to powerful special interests who see the exploitation of animals as a “necessary” component of financial profit.
Responding to these challenges, NAVS’ focus and energy have been aimed at altering entire series of laws at both state and federal levels; at fighting for the passage of stronger, more compassionate laws; at pushing for regulatory changes in the interests of animal protection and at vigilantly monitoring the enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
Maybe most important of all, NAVS’ strategic plan enlists you, the American public, as our closest ally. Our goal is to marshal the forces of public opinion by arming you with the most powerful weapon in our arsenal: Information – the kind that leads to meaningful dialogue, healthy debate and, ultimately, positive change.
As a leading authority on animal law, NAVS is also here to help you navigate through the bewildering maze of legal issues. Here, for example, is where you can find out what federal and/or state legislation is currently pending. Here is where you can address animal-advocacy issues directly to your legislators. And here is where you can find model laws begging for enactment in your immediate area. Whatever you need to know about the effects of our legal system on animals – be they animals used for research, food, entertainment or companionship – your most reliable and comprehensive source of information is right here, at your fingertips.
While NAVS has been playing a key role in public education and legislative action for more than 80 years, the credit for animal protection awareness reaches much farther back in the history of our democracy. Back, in fact, to our founding fathers. By moral intuition, they knew animal cruelty was – plain and simply – unacceptable. We’ve carried on their foresight, not only through historic legislative activism, but also by scientifically dismantling and debunking archaic, long-held views toward animal experimentation.
We invite you to peruse this legal arena – as well as our affiliate site, AnimalLaw.com – and contact us with any questions, comments and ideas you may have. Working together, we can play a vital role in this important chapter of American history, and eliminate suffering for millions of animals both now and in the future.
A copy of NAVS's “New Perspectives: Seeking Justice for Animals Through The Power Of The Law” is available here.