ADVOCACY NOT APATHY

Classed as property, animals have no legal voice: they need lawyers to advocate for them. Lawyers for Animals is a volunteer-based organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of animals through education and the law.

The Life of the Dairy Cow – Voiceless speaks out

February 13th, 2015

Voiceless, an Australian animal protection institute, has released a comprehensive report on the Australia dairy industry titled The Life of the Dairy Cow.

The report shines an informed and considered light on the impacts of an industry that few people think about.  For most Australians, consuming milk and dairy products is a daily activity carried out for life.  Few people stop to consider where dairy milk comes from, how it is produced, or even why humans drink so much cows milk.  It is something we learn from a young age and never think to question.

The Voiceless report provides a detailed examination of the welfare of dairy cows and the ethics of standard dairy industry practices.  Key areas of concern are the continuous cycle of pregnancy and birthing, the separation of calfs from their mothers, the slaughter of newborn calfs, and the animal husbandry practices of dairy farmers.

Given the Australian dairy industry is the third largest agricultural sector in Australia, with a combined farm, manufacturing and export value of $13 billion, the Voiceless report raises important considerations that are ever-present in balancing the welfare and rights of animals with the commercialisation of farming.

A copy of the Voiceless report can be found here.

Sandra the Sumatran Orangutan declared ‘non-human person’ by Argentinian Court

January 29th, 2015

In a landmark decision that has gained world-wide attention, an Argentinian Court has ordered a Buenos Aires Zoo to release Sandra, a 29 year old Sumatran Orangutan, on the basis that she has the legal status of a non-human person and the right not to have her liberty arbirtarily deprived.   The proceeding was brought on Sandra’s behalf by the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights who filed a habeas corpus petition (typically used to challenge the legality of a person’s detention or imprisonment) and argued that Sandra should not be treated as an object because of her intelligence and complex ways of thinking.

Sandra had lived her whole live in captivity.  However, the Court agreed that Sandra, as a sentient and intelligent animal with capacity to reason and feel emotions, should be afforded the basic rights of a non-human person, and ordered the Zoo to release Sandra to a sanctuary in Brazil.

This is a great development in animal rights law, and a prime example of how dedicated legal advocacy can directly improve the welfare of animals.

Few details are yet available, and Lawyers for Animals will be keeping an eye out for English translations of the judgement, and whether the Buenos Aires Zoo appeals the decision.

For more details, see the news articles published by the ABC, Reuters, and The Independent.

 

Animal Law Breakfast 2014

August 10th, 2014

Lawyers for Animals and Victorian Women Lawyers invite you to enjoy a vegan breakfast and hear Julian Burnside AO QC and Felicity Millner discuss the Supreme Court case MyEnvironment v VicForests [2013] VSCA 356.

Julian and Felicity acted for MyEnvironment, a Central Highlands based environment group. MyEnvironment sought to prevent VicForests logging in part of the forest of the Central Highlands. MyEnvironment was concerned that this logging would destroy the habitat of the possum.

Date: Friday 22 Aug 2014
Time: 7am- 9am
Location: Maddocks, 140 William Street, Melbourne
Cost: $10 VWL/ Lawyers for Animals members and $15 for non-members

Register here: www.vwl.asn.au/events.   Please register by 20 August 2014.

 

Opening on LFA Executive Committee – call for expressions of interest

June 14th, 2014

Lawyers for Animals seeks expressions of interest for a vacant position on our Executive Committee. The Committee is responsible for overseeing projects undertaken by LFA, determining the future direction of the association and managing the Animal Law Clinic in conjunction with Fitzroy Legal Service.

Position

This position, which commences in July 2014, involves attendance at our monthly Committee meetings and undertaking the functions of LFA Treasurer for 12 months. You would also have the option of advising clients directly at the Animal Law Clinic. Each Committee member typically attends one client appointment every five to six weeks.

The role of Treasurer requires a time commitment of no more than one hour per month. Your responsibilities would include banking, preparation of some basic tax forms, and preparation of LFA’s annual financial statements. You would be provided with a comprehensive handover and ongoing support in this role.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to join the Committee, you must be admitted to practice but need not be a practising lawyer.  However, to advise at the Clinic you must hold – or be entitled to hold – an unrestricted practising certificate (including an unrestricted volunteer PC).

For more information or to express your interest in this position, please email our current Treasurer, Katherine Cooke: Katherine@lawyersforanimals.org.au.

April Newsletter

May 17th, 2014

LFA Newsletter – April

This edition includes information about upcoming animal law events and a case note on the recent Japanese whaling decision handed down by the International Court of Justice.

March Newsletter

April 13th, 2014

LFA Newsletter – March.


Volunteer Picnic

February Newsletter

April 13th, 2014

LFA Newsletter – February.

President’s message

February 12th, 2014

LFA President, Nichola Donovan, shared the following message in the LFA 2013 Year In Review.

Personally, and on behalf of LFA, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the amazing team of people who make LFA the progressive, friendly and active organisation it is. This especially includes: our current and former Executive; our legal and administrative Clinic volunteers; our project volunteers; and our everyday members, without whose continuing financial and communications support we would be unable to operate. Our continuing thanks also to Kindness Trust for providing us with a lovely ‘home base’ and meeting space in Kindness House. Here’s to consolidating our 2013 achievements and growing more active for the animals in 2014!

 

Animal Law Breakfast

June 8th, 2013

shatha hamade
Picture: Jo-Anna Robinson Source: Sunday Mail (SA)

Lawyers for Animals and Victorian Women Lawyers will host an Animal Law discussion on 19 June 2013.

Join us for a vegan breakfast and hear Shatha Hamade speak about the key issues faced by lawyers in advocating for positive animal welfare outcomes through the law.

Shatha is Legal Counsel for Animals Australia. As former Legal Counsel for RSPCA SA, Shatha has extensive experience in animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions. She is the former national coordinator of the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel, a national organisation dedicated to promoting and fostering advocacy for the welfare of animals, and comprising over Australian 100 barristers. In 2012, Shatha was awarded Australian Young Lawyer of the Year by the Law Council of Australia for her significant contribution to animal law and welfare in Australia.

Shatha will address the barriers to reaching the public consciousness and changing community attitudes towards animals. Shatha will also provide a personal account of her experience as an RSPCA prosecutor, to give insight into how and why domestic and production animals are abused in our community, and the systemic issues that we, as lawyers and advocates, need to address to help prevent this cruelty.

Date: Wednesday 19 June 2013
Time: 7.30 am
Venue: Maddocks, 140 William St, Melbourne

Cost:
$15 for VWL and Lawyers for Animals members
$25 for non-members

Click here to register for this event

Animal Law Clinic Launch

June 2nd, 2013

The Hon. Justice Marcia Neave and Adjunct Professor Rob Hulls launching the Animal Law Clinic at Friends of the Earth on 9 May 2013 (photo – Lea Croyden). Click here to see more photos


The Hon. Justice Marcia Neave and Adjunct Professor Rob Hulls

Companion Animals

Despite the happiness we see in the lives of some companion animals, the stark reality for Australia’s less fortunate cats and dogs should not be overlooked.

Unrestricted breeding, poor identification and a lack of regulation of pet shops and ‘backyard breeders’ are just some of the problems leading to the deaths of nearly 200,000 ‘surplus’ cats and dogs in Australia each year.

Increased law enforcement in the areas of early de-sexing and identification (such as a point-of-sale registration scheme) coupled with better education about ‘impulse’ buying, would lead to a marked fall in the over-population of our cherished pet species.


THE LAW

More Issues