Practical Issues > Factory Farm Index > Pigs
This Little Piggy Has Rights

[University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily - opinion]

In 2009, animal rights activist Bob Barker donated one million dollars to the University Law School to create Virginia’s first Animal Rights Law program. Host of the popular game show “The Price is Right,” Barker has spent his life advocating for animals. His commitment to animal rights and philanthropy in retirement should be commended.

Barker’s donation recognizes that animal rights is a hot topic in American law and society. Furthermore, humane treatment of animals should become a staple for all levels of education in our nation.

Bob Barker’s donation is part of a wider Animal Rights Movement that has made significant strides over the past decade to implement ethical legislation and humane education. Already, almost half of American law schools have animal rights curricula. This donation follows a string of previous donations to other prestigious law schools, including Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Duke, UCLA and Northwestern.

The Animal Law Program saw its first class, “Animal Law 9040,” appear in the Fall 2009 academic semester. Law students tackled the extensive scope of animal law and other ethical issues. According to Prof. Margaret Riley, head of the University Animal Rights Program, the new course focuses on “legal issues pertaining to animals, the laws that govern their treatment, as well as a number of topics that fall within the general headings ‘animal law’ and ‘animal rights.”
Progress in the ethical treatment of animals has been made, but only through the tenacious efforts of animal rights activists. The persistent mistreatment of animals in the United States lies in the fundamental pitfalls of the American education system. Barker’s Animal Law program should be the stepping stone for similar programs at an undergraduate level. There is no justification for animal cruelty and continued unethical practices. The University should embrace its chance to become a leader in animal rights and should further establish instruction on humane treatment at an undergraduate level.

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