Activists + > Media

From: "DawnWatch" <>
CBS Evening News gave the broad issue of animal rights, and specifically animal rights law, beautiful coverage on Friday, March 20

I will paste the website summary below, and you can watch the segment on your computer if you go to the following web page and click on the link that says "Free video: New frontiers in animal law."  OR

Bob Barker's grants to law schools form the basis of the story. But though Barker's activism is known to the American public mostly through his recommendations to viewers that they help control animal overpopulation by spaying and neutering their animals, CBS's coverage makes it clear that regarding the grants "The concern is less about pound animals and the nation's hundreds of millions of domestic pets than it is about the 10 billion animals raised for food and research, animals largely unprotected by welfare and cruelty laws."

On the segment  Professor Taimie Bryant of UCLA tells us: "Chickens, for example, are not animals for purposes of the Humane Slaughter Act."

Reporter, Jerry Bowen, comments: "Which means, says Professor Bryant, that factory farmworkers can handle chickens in ways that might get owners of pet chickens prosecuted for animal cruelty."

The web page print version of the story follows the voiceover on the video segment closely (though not exactly) but if you are able to watch the segment, I recommend doing so since it will give you a good feel for the animal friendly presentation. For example, as "animal rights skeptic"

Richard Epstein (who has two lines included -- fair enough since a news show is expected to give balanced coverage) says that if animal rights had prevailed in primitive times we would not have civilization as we know it, we see a touching shot of a bear leading her cub across a highway.

Please read the story below, check out the video on line if you can, and, most importantly, thank CBS News for its serious attention to the subject.

This is a huge step forward for CBS and positive feedback for it will encourage continued movement in the right direction. News shows take their feedback seriously.

Go to and choose CBS Evening News from the pulldown menu.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

Law Schools Make Room For Animals
LOS ANGELES, March 18, 2005

Why did the chicken cross the road? To see an attorney, of course.

As CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen reports, it's no joke. It's called animal law and Taimie Bryant, an animal law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, says it goes far beyond custody battles over Bowser.

"Animal law properly also deals with alleviating animal suffering," says Bryant.

And six of the nation's premier law schools, including Columbia, Duke, Stanford, UCLA, Yale and Northwestern, have each been given $1 million endowments to train future animal law attorneys.

It was a gift from Bob Barker, host of CBS' "Price Is Right" game show. Barker, a longtime advocate for animal welfare, hopes to influence a new generation of lawyers

"I hope they'll become aware of the exploitation and mistreatment of animals," says Barker.

The concern is less about pound animals or the nations 280 million domestic pets than the 10 billion animals that are raised for food and research; creatures largely unprotected by cruelty and welfare laws.

The Federal Animal Welfare Act does not cover 95 percent of research animals, including birds and mice, because they are not defined as animals.

"Chickens, for example, are not animals for purposes of the Humane Slaughter Act," says Bryant.

That means factory farm workers can handle chickens in ways that might get owners of pet chickens prosecuted for animal cruelty, says Bryant.

But that's not all. There is talk of animal property rights as new research reveals that animals, like prairie dogs, not only have feelings but language skills.

"If the human is wearing a yellow shirt, they are able to describe the color of the yellow shirt," says Dr. Con Slobodchikoff of Northern Arizona University.

And if the man in the yellow shirt wants to build a house on a prairie dog mound?

"There's a difficult question as to whether or not animals should be allowed to own land, which they've been able to occupy prior to human beings," says Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School.

It's a very difficult question says Epstein, an animal law skeptic.

"If the animal rights movement had prevailed, in primitive times you would never have civilization as you know it," says Epstein.

It's a civilization that's now considering the scope of legal protection for every animal under the sun, including that chicken crossing the road.