Verdicts

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2001:

Verdicts

Ruling on behalf of the Centre for Environmental Law and World Wide Fund for Nature-India, the Supreme Court of India on November 14, 2000 restrained all state governments and federal territories from removing from legal protection any part of the 526 Indian national parks and sanctuaries created by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The ruling was a blow to Indian wise-users, who hold like their U.S. counterparts that habitat protection “locks up” wealth.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 12, 2000 struck down as too vague a 1984 Arizona law banning the use of human fetal tissue in medical research. The Arizona law was the last of five–one federal, four at the state level–which impeded the use of tissue from aborted or miscarried fetuses as an alternative to some types of animal testing.
Filings

The Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, acting for the Center for Biological Diversity, in December 2000 sued the U.S. Navy for allegedly violating the Migra-tory Bird Treaty Act by using the Pacific island of Farallon de Medinilla as a target range.  Enviro-watch founder Carroll Cox described the damage in a March 1997 ANIMAL PEOPLE, guest column, online at <www.animal-peoplenews.org/97/2/military.html>.

The Oregon Humane Society and Animal Legal Defense Fund on December 21, 2000 joined other agencies in a suit seeking to overturn Measure 3, an initiative approved by voters in November 2000 which prohibits the permanent seizure of property from alleged criminals in advance of conviction. A Washington County judge recently ruled that this means the shelters holding 50 animals seized in a mass neglect case may not offer them for adoption–even though
the case may remain in court for years.

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance and four other groups on November 27 asked the Anchorage Superior Court to declare, as AWA executive director Paul Joslin put it, “that the present single-use composition of the Board of Game is unconstitutional and unlawful.” Added Joslin, “Even hunters who profess a strong interest in nonconsumptive wildlife values have been summarily rejected” by the Alaska legislature the few times that governors have nominated any to the board.
Cruelty

Egg farmer Keith Amberson, 52, of Lake Stevens, Washington, was on December 8, 2000 fined $500, ordered to do 200 hours of community service, and barred from keeping animals for two years by Everett District Judge Tom Kelly. In both 1999 and 2000 Amberson allegedly abandoned whole flocks of hens to starve, claiming after many died that he was putting them through a forced moult. Some survivors were rescued each time by local sanctuaries, including Pasado’s Safe Haven, of Sultan, and Pigs Peace, of Arlington. (See ad, this page.) Pasado’s Safe Haven cofounder Susan Michaels and Washington state representative Sandra Romero are now drafting legislation which they hope will help prevent such situations by prohibiting forced molts.

Judge Joseph Steinhardt of the Central Warren Municipal Court in Belvidere, New Jersey, on October 17, 2000 fined the egg producer ISE America $250 plus $30 costs for alleged cruelty to two chickens found alive in a trash can by Farm Sanctuary cofounder Gene Bauston. The ISE America defense attorney sought immunity from prosecution under the New Jersey Right-to-Farm Act, whch pertains to waste disposal. Asked Judge Steinhardt, “Isn’t there a big distinction between manure and live animals?” Responded the defense, “No, your honor.”

Chicken Hut Livestock/ Halaal Farms slaughterhouse owner Aimen Soudi, 41, was jailed in lieu of $25,000 bond on December 27, 2000 in Gloucester County, Pennsylvania, after failing to appear in court on December 20 to answer seven counts of cruelty and neglect filed against him by the Gloucester County SPCA. USDA and local inspectors on November 20 reportedly found at least 21 lambs, goats, calves, rabbits, and chickens dead on the premises of apparent neglect, with dozens of others alive but severely malnourished.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on November 15 fined the Oregon Zoo, of Portland, $10,000 for failing to prevent former elephant keeper Fred Marion from beating a five-year-old elephant named Rose-Tu so severely that she suffered 176 gashes. Marion was promptly fired, but won a severance settlement of $18,000 by filing a grievance through his union.

Transvestite “crush video” maker Thomas Capriola, 30, of Islip Terrace, Long Island, on December 6, 2000 pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cruelty to animals and fifth-degree possession of marijuana, and on December 22 was sentenced to serve 280 hours of community service with three years on probation. The plea bargain accepted by Suffolk District Judge Mark Zuckerman was far lighter than the 15 months in jail recommended by assistant district attorney Michael Mahoney.
Activism

The U.S. Supreme Court on November 13, 2000 agreed to review the extent of police officers’ liability in damage suits alleging use of excessive force, in a case brought by In Defense of Animals founder Elliot Katz, DVM. Katz, 60 at the time, contended that he was roughly handled by police in a potentially injurious way after he unfurled a banner protesting against animal experimentation during a speech by then-U.S. Vice President Albert Gore in San Francisco.

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