There is an interesting lawsuit filed in Washington against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over censorship. The lawsuit was brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and the Animal Legal Defense Fund after the government blocked comments on opposing animal testing on the agencies’ social media sites. The lawsuit has ample support in the case law. Notably, it also comes at a time when the Administration and many Democratic leaders, like President Joe Biden, have called on private companies to engage in massive censorship programs on social media. The lawsuit was filed in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Collins, No. 1:21-cv-02380 (D.D.C.).
We have previously discussed animal liability in torts. There is a tragedy in Pennsylvania which could present difficult questions for such cases after Rhoda Wagner, 60, was killed by three pit bulls. She was watching the dogs for her roommate. If litigated, the state’s nuanced dog liability laws would come into effect.
Two professors at the University of Sheffield have published a piece in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies to extend hate speech protections to animals to deal with hateful “speciesist” remarks. Drs. Josh Milburn and Alasdair Cochrane insist that such protections will help achieve a “more benign human–animal relations within society.” The need for speech criminalization is based on the view that “some animals do seem to have their social confidence eroded because of their awareness of the risk of violence.”
I am admittedly a long advocate for protecting wolf populations as well as other wildlife severely displaced or reduced by development or hunting. However, there now appears a type of environmental dividend for those looking for a reason to support wolf reintroduction programs: lower accidents and insurance rates. A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that car accidents with deer decreased dramatically after the re-introduction of wolves. Continue reading “Want Lower Car Insurance? Get Some Wolves, According to a Recent Study”
That is the situation facing the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office after picking up Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, after a bizarre incident involving a wayward tiger. For Cuevas, there is no good option. To quote that other Victor Hugo “If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned!” Continue reading “Houston Man Arrested As Police Continue Search For Missing Tiger”
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
It had been a while since my latest purchase of strange technology pieces, the most recent being a telephone having both a rotary dial and a touch-tone pad. But the need and a very compelling price demanded this latest foray–a 1950’s (?) vintage Royal typewriter with a massive, twenty-inch-wide carriage.
There is no escapement from this 39 pound lexi-beast; cf. at 7 pounds a Remington Personal-Riter manual typewriter. It can in only one and a half lines compose the entirety of the Preamble to the United States Constitution, and still have room for two invocations of The Quick Brown Fox to complete the second line.
I previously wrote about the historical and legal perspectives of a biting incident involving one of the presidential pets, Major. Both Biden German Shepherds (Major and Champ) were previously whisked out of town. They were then quietly brought back. Now Major has bitten another person who reportedly required medical attention. In the prior column, I noted that under tort law a dog is afforded (at most) “one free bite” before strict liability applies. Major could now be treated as a known vicious animal for liability purposes.
The Biden German Shepherds have been sent back to Delaware after “Major” was involved in a “biting incident” with a White House security officer. Assuming the incident was a dog-bites-guard rather than a guard-bites-dog incident, the question is whether this is a “Major” liability concern. If nothing else, it allows me to talk about two of my favorite subjects: dogs and torts. Continue reading ““Major” Liability or One Free Bite? Biden Sends Dogs Back to Delaware After Biting Incident”
We have previously discussed curious campaigns by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) like seeking to change the expression “bring home the bacon” with “bring homes the bagels.” Now the animal rights group appears to be tapping into the movement for speech curtailment and regulation by declaring the use of animals to be “supremacist” and “speciesist.” Thus, it calls for the end of the use of pig, chicken, pig, rat, snake and other terms as pejorative terms to “stand up for justice by rejecting supremacist language.”
We have previously discussed the radical declarations of University of Rhode Island and Director of Graduate Studies of History Erik Loomis who has defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence. (A view defended by other academics). Loomis is now back in the news with a declaration that “Science, statistics, and technology are all inherently racist because they are developed by racists who live in a racist society, whether they identify as racists or not.” It is a curious position from the person who heads graduate studies in history at the University of Rhode Island. Continue reading “Rhode Island Professor Denounces Science, Statistics, and Technology As “Inherently Racist””
We have previously followed the suspensions and discipline of students under zero tolerance policies that are used by teachers to justify zero judgment or responsibility. I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here, here and here and here and here and here). Now this insanity has gone insane after a Colorado school district called police because a 12-year-old boy flashing a clearly toy gun in his own home. While the teacher told police the orange gun marked “Zombie Killer” was clearly a toy, the police went to the home of Isiah Elliot on a welfare check and the boy who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities was suspended. Does that make sense as opposed to a simple call to the parents?
We have previously discussed how some media organizations told their journalists not to call violence after the death of George Floyd “riots,” including the recently much mocked headline of CNN calling the looting and violence in Kenosha “fiery but mostly peaceful.” Now, Chris Cillizza, an editor-at-large for CNN, is under fire for criticizing President Donald Trump for labeling the violence in places like Kenoska as “riots.” Critics have noted that the picture posted by Cillizza with his tweet shows a building engulfed in flames. Lawyers notoriously parse terms in ways that often deny their obvious meaning but this effort by some in the media would make a Philadelphia lawyer blush.
This morning President Donald Trump just told Fox & Friends that he should go down as the “greatest environmental president” in history for signing the Great American Outdoors Act but he then proudly listed an array of rollbacks and attacks on environmental protections. If anything the President was understated in his damaging policies to the environment, including his opposition to efforts to deal with greenhouse gases and climate change. What made this statement the most glaring for many of us is that this morning the Wall Street Journal disclosed that Trump is likely to open up the pristine Arctic refuge area to drilling — an act of breathtaking loss to our natural park and wild refuge areas.