Don't confuse the term "Animal Firm" with something Orwellian. Rather, as animal rights become a a growing concern, law firms are developing specializations in animal rights, as reported in this recent article from the Ventura County Star (July 10, 2007). The article notes that Bruce Wagman, an attorney at the 400-lawyer firm Schiff Hardin, has a full-time animal law practice and has hired two summer associates to assist with it. Meanwhile, on the law school front, the number of courses on animal law has grown in the past decade from six to 80.
What's the reason for the increased interest in animal law? First, legislatures are addressing more issues related to animals. The article discusses proposed bills in California that would require pet owners to spay their animals; breeders could obtain exemption by purchasing a permit. Other states are passing laws to restrict cruel conditions in "farm factories" and "puppy mills." And while animals are still considered property, in some instances courts are beginning to recognize that pets have added value beyond their economic worth and are beginning to treat them more like heirlooms (which often carry sentimental value beyond economic worth) than ordinary property.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 11, 2007 at 05:39 PM | Permalink
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