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International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference

Friday, 13.09.2013   10:00-10:50   Room A
Taking the law into our own hands: Using existing laws as a campaigning tool to achieve abolitionist goals
Liz Tyson

Regulation of the continued use of animals by humans inevitably perpetuates their exploitation and, as a result, legislation concerned with human use of animals is often rejected outright by animal rights activists as contrary to the abolitionist approach. As a result of this, these laws have not always been subject to scrutiny or analysis by proponents of animal rights. On the other hand, animal welfare legislation is regularly used as a shield by animal use industries to claim that "high welfare standards" for animals in farming, vivisection, and entertainment are being met. This affects public perception and strengthens resistance to abolition as people believe that animals are well protected.

Liz`s research deconstructs existing legislation to demonstrate how it does not, and indeed cannot, protect animals in any meaningful way and thus challenges the oft-held belief that animals are protected under the law. The presentation seeks to offer concise arguments which campaigners can use to challenge industry claims. In addition, Liz explores the ways in which existing legislation has been used as a tool to achieve abolitionist goals. Case studies discussed include the prohibition of bird fairs in the UK in 2006, the cancellation of the badger cull in Wales, the proposed ban on wild animals in circuses in England, ongoing work towards closure of zoos using the existing framework in place in the UK and current research on the exotic pet trade.

As well as considering cases brought by legal professionals via Judicial Review, case studies also seek to highlight how the law can be used outside of the court room at little to no expense by grassroots activists in order to affect positive change without compromising abolitionist values.

UK legislation is used as the basis of the presentation but principles can be applied to other jurisdictions.













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