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Nov Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE 837 VOL. 75 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2017 eat meat but clearly love their companion animals and view those companion animals as family members. Perhaps finding common ground where animal activists and meat eaters agree is more constructive and effective than confrontational and provocative rhetoric that the wider society may find bizarre and will therefore dismiss without much thought. One final example of arguments that may fail to resonate with the public and instead generate backlash is the reading at trial of an e-mail comparing Ms. Krajnc’s actions to those of people who gave water to Jews being transported to death camps. Many animal advocates see the connection but are seriously mistaken if they believe society is sympathetic to this sort of argument. The judge’s opinion emphatically stated: “I found the comparison to be offensive”.9 No doubt many others in the wider society would find the comparison offensive. This is such an emotionally charged assertion—especially for people who experienced or had family members experience the horrors of the Holocaust. So the question is: why was the comparison ever made, and did Ms. Krajnc and her lawyers really believe there was a realistic possibility of educating the public to see the connection by a simple assertion at trial and without further educational foundation? Moreover, did they evaluate the risk that the judge and public would find the connection so outlandish and offensive that it would further taint and marginalize animal advocates’ stated beliefs in other areas? It is likely the judge’s emphatic expression of offence at the comparison reflects the perspective of the wider society and was, therefore, a net loss for advancing animal interests. In his article “Animal Law in Action: The Law, Public Perception, and the Limits of Animal Rights Theory as a Basis for Legal Reform”, attorney Jonathan Lovvorn (vice president of litigation for the Humane Society of the United States and animal law professor) says that far too many lawyers have fallen under the intoxicating thrall of the fantasy that if we simply find the right legal and scientific arguments, with the right animals, on the right day, with the right judge, we will have an epic courtroom struggle in which the inalienable legal rights of animals will be declared once and for all.10 However, as we daydream about a heroic legal victory for animals, millions and millions of animals are suffering in conditions that we have the power, and societal support, to change today. Lovvorn then identifies a huge opportunity staring us in the face if only we were not too busy daydreaming about constitutional rights for animals. This opportunity he calls the “sweet spot of public policy”, which is the space between current practices and where current polling data tells us society is ready to go in terms of reform. This, he says, is where the real battle lines for animal protection are drawn. He calls on lawyers to be clever combatants and not to pine away for a court-imposed silver bullet for the


Nov Advocate 2017
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