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Animal Suffering: From Science to Law

Animal law conference organized by the Foundation for Animal Law, Ethics and Sciences (LFDA) in partnership with the International Research Group in Animal Law (GRIDA), held at the World Organization for Animal Health headquarter in Paris (France)

October 18-19, 2012

To order the conference proceedings, please contact Les Éditions Yvon Blais at the following address:

Organized by the Foundation for Animal Law, Ethics and Sciences (LFDA) in partnership with the International Research Group in Animal Law (GRIDA) of the University of Quebec at Montréal (UQAM), this international, multidisciplinary event is designed to inform a broad audience, for the first time ever, of the state of scientific knowledge on animal sensitivity and the extent of its legal transmission throughout the world.

The symposium thus hoped to contribute to stimulating, on a rational and unquestionable basis, professionals working or using animals to undertake an ethical reformulation and revision of their attitudes, motivated by the desire not to inflict pain on animals when it is reasonably avoidable, or reducing pain when it is unavoidable. Another goal of the symposium was to participate in the development of laws and regulations regarding the protection of animals from all forms of suffering at the hands of humans.

In effect, the contemporary development of laws for the protection of animals is closely related to an ethic based on respect for the specific sensitivity of animals, which are able to feel pain and emotions, with the absence of negative emotions being a major component of their welfare. This ethics is based on recent developments in the fields of neurobiology and ethology. What are the contemporary scientific assumptions and certainties concerning animal sensitivity within each zoological group? How is this knowledge taken into account within the North American, South American, Australian and European judicial systems for the protection of animals? These are the two major questions that this symposium should answer with precision.

During this exceptional two-day symposium, 26 experts in animal life sciences, in animal ethics and animal law (14 biologists, ethologists, neurobiologists and veterinarians; 2 philosophers; and 10 legal experts) from America, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Great Britain, Spain and Switzerland engaged in dialogue with a wide audience.

For the first time ever, the discussions was simultaneously addressed to scientists (physiologists, neurobiologists, ethologists, zoologists, veterinarians); philosophers and jurists, whether teachers, researchers, practitioners or students; and representatives of animal-related professions (livestock breeders, fishermen, keepers of zoological parks and aquariums or pet store owners); as well as representatives of animal protection NGOs, journalists specializing in science and animal life, and parliamentarians and government officials who are concerned about animal welfare.

Conference Program

Day 1 – October 18, 2012

Welcome Speech

Thierry AUFFRET VAN DER KEMP, (general coordinator of the symposium, director of LFDA)

General Introduction: Aims of an Uncommon, both Scientific and Juridical, Symposium
Louis SCHWEITZER (President of LFDA)


Introduction: Degrees of Sensitivity in the Animal World and their Scientific Identification
Dr Georges CHAPOUTHIER (CNRS, LFDA, Paris) et Dr Dalila BOVET (Université de Paris X Nanterre, LFDA, France)

Within the animal world, there exist three degrees of sensitivity to the negative influences of the environment: nociception, pain, and suffering. Nociception, which is present in most animals, permits the reflexive avoidance of stimuli prejudicial to the organism through flight or the withdrawal of a body part. Pain is present in all animals that are capable of emotional reactions associated with nociception, including vertebrates and doubtless some invertebrates, such as cephalopods. Suffering is present in animals that possess cognitive functions associated with pain and thus a certain awareness of their environment, including, again, vertebrates and cephalopods, and is undoubtedly a specific development for mammals and birds.

The use of behaviour as a means of detecting pain is critical, because it can be accomplished without undertaking physiological measures (e.g., samples), without thereby being itself a source of stress or pain for animals. However, behaviours related to pain are not always interpreted correctly, since they vary from one species to another, as well as from one type of pain or suffering to another. Signs of pain can be subtle and may go unnoticed in certain mammals, and generally are even more difficult to assess in species that are phylogenetically removed from humans (e.g., birds, reptiles, fish, or invertebrates). Rigorous experimentation and a sound knowledge of the habitual behaviour of each species are essential in scientifically assessing the painful sensations experienced by animals.

Assessment and Management of Pain in Vertebrate Animals
Pr Victoria BRAITHWAITE Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA)

Pain in vertebrate animals raises significant welfare concerns. We consider it to be both a sensory and an emotional experience that can change an animal's physiology, psychology and behavior. Pain has been investigated in a wide range of vertebrates and in many different contexts. Being able to detect the presence of pain and to assess the magnitude of its effect has proved to be challenging, but innovative techniques are being developed. The use of different kinds of assessment tool are helping us to refine and better manage animal pain, as well as promote solutions aimed at decreasing the suffering caused by pain. Despite several advances in pain management, however, there are still situations where we fail to recognize and assess pain. Specifically we need to improve our detection of pain and to be able to quantify how effectively we can treat and relieve its effects. This presentation will give an overview of pain assessment and management for different kinds of vertebrate, from farm animals, to research animals and companion animals.

Is the Evidence of Central Pain Processing in Birds?
Pr Christine NICOL (University of Bristol, UK)

The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain in humans as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage", and this same definition is increasingly being applied to animals. To reduce animal suffering we need to be able to assess experienced pain and distinguish this from simpler nociceptive processes. Observation of withdrawal or avoidance responses in animals may not reflect subjective experience. Here the speaker will describe one way in which we can study the role of central processing in avian pain - by examining whether birds make decisions to manage conditions that may be associated with pain. Complex decision-making in mammals is localised to neurons in the pre-frontal regions and birds have an analogous 'pre-frontal' circuit, the nidopallium caudolaterale. In humans, Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) is widely used for pain management and to test the effectiveness of different analgesic drugs. Human self-selection of analgesia is motivated by subjective states of pain perception and PCA is therefore used as one of the 'gold standards' for the assessment of conscious experience of pain. A demonstration that birds could control their own pain management would suggest that pain is experienced centrally, and would add to the debate about whether it is experienced consciously. Unfortunately, previous work examining whether birds voluntarily select analgesics is flawed. The approach, however, is important and the speaker will show how we have conducted essential background work on chickens needed ahead of a PCA study. She will show how common conditions found in domestic chickens (keel fractures in hens and lameness in broilers) affect the behaviour of the birds, and how a range of analgesic drugs in turn alter these behavioural responses. Finally, the speaker will describe her work examining whether birds prefer to be in places where they have experienced analgesia, and how this background work can support new PCA trials. She will try to draw overall conclusions about the capacity of birds to experience pain, further work that needs to be done, and the ethical difficulties of working in this area.

Reptiles in Pain? An Evidence-based Clinical Perspective
Dr Craig MOSLEY (CWVS, Vancouver, Canada)

Reptiles are a unique and diverse class of animals that have evolved distinctive mechanisms, not found in most other animals, for managing alterations in body temperature and metabolic rate. An approach to rational clinical pain management based on our current understanding of reptile physiology, nociception, pain and analgesia represents a generalized approach to the management of pain in this class of animals. Evidence is frequently drawn from disparate and indirect sources representing multiple species from both reptile and other classes of animals. Correspondingly, the strength of this evidence varies considerably and is directly related to its source, the species involved and the experimental techniques used for study. As our knowledge and understanding increase our approach to pain management in this class of animals will be modified and refined to more specifically address reptile pain. New information and evidence should be evaluated objectively and without the influence of personal bias or beliefs. It is probable that reptiles, like all animals, have evolved unique mechanisms for managing pain and avoiding the negative consequences associated with pain that we do not yet completely understand.

Ethical Issues of an Amphibian Pain Model
Pr Craig STEVENS (Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, OK, USA)

The use of opioid analgesic drugs, such as morphine, to provide pain relief is one of the greatest accomplishments of modern pharmacotherapy. There is still a great need, however, for testing newer and potentially better analgesic agents using animal models. While the vast majority of pain research is done using mammalian models, primarily rodent species, this presentation reviews the ethical issues as they pertain to non?mammalian pain models and summarizes the alternative models in use. An amphibian pain model that uses dilute acetic acid as the noxious stimulus developed by the author is described in greater detail. Data on the efficacy of opioid analgesics agents shows that the amphibian model has robust predictability for opioid testing and translates into analgesic efficacy in the clinic. Additionally, cloning of opioid receptors from amphibians and other non?mammalian species led to novel hypotheses on the evolution of opioid receptors.

The amphibian model has been in use for the past thirty years and was developed as an adjunct or alternative animal model for the assessment of opioid analgesia. The ethical basis for using amphibians for pain research is based upon the differences in the potential for experiencing pain among different classes of vertebrates. Evidence from comparative neurology and functional neuroanatomical experiments suggest that a significant difference exists between processing of painful or nociceptive transmission in the brains of non?mammalian species compared to mammalian species. As certainty in the knowledge that any animal does or does not experience pain as humans do is not science but science fiction, a scientific and rational basis must underlie any serious consideration of pain experience in non?human animals.

Do Painful Sensations and Fear Exist in Fish?
Dr Lynne SNEDDON (University of Liverpool, UK)

The detection of pain and fear in fish has been subject to much debate and, since fish are a popular experimental model and commercially important in both angling and aquaculture, many procedures that fish are subjected to cause injury, fear and stress. These injuries would give rise to the sensation of pain in humans but whether fish have the capacity for pain is relatively under explored. Recent evidence has shown that fish have the same neural apparatus to detect pain that mammals and humans do, that their brain is active during a potentially painful experience, that fish show negative changes in behaviour and physiology and that this is reduced by administering a pain killer. Experiments demonstrating the significance of pain to fish have been conducted and have shown that fish do not show appropriate fear and anti-predator responses during a painful stimulation. This suggests that they are dominated by the pain state confirming its importance to the fish. However, social context affects the aggressive behaviour of fish when noxiously stimulated. In a familiar group, dominant trout perform much less chasing of conspecifics yet this suspension in aggression is not seen when placed in an unfamiliar group of fish. Therefore, responses to pain are more complex and not simple reflexes. Together, these results demonstrate that pain is an important stimulus for a trout and we should seek to minimise and alleviate pain where possible. Studies have demonstrated that fish are capable of exhibiting signs of fear including avoidance behaviour and they may also anticipate fearful events. Recent evidence shall be discussed with future directions suggested.

Do Octopuses Have Pain and Suffering?
Dr Jennifer MATHER (University of Lethbridge, Canada)

When one is studying a non-human animal, terms such as pain and suffering become difficult to define. We base our understanding of the presence of pain on the identity of receptors similar to the ones that cause pain in us, and brain regions similar to those in humans. These criteria are useless for octopuses, which are mollusks and thus worlds away from us in these characteristics. We will not be able to identify pain receptors without sophisticated testing. Instead we have to base our assessment on their behavior. Situations such as contact with stinging sea anemones and aversive stimuli such as small shocks in a learning study, from which they withdraw and avoid further contact, give us important behavioural cues. Yet animals of most phyla have such aversions and we do not assume therefore that they have pain. Instead, scientists often use the term nociception to indicate animals simply received and responded to such stimuli. Pain assumes a central nervous system assessment, and suffering assumes at least a simple form of 'mind'. To be evaluated as suffering, animals must have knowledge of past aversive situations and store such knowledge, presumably then using it later to change their situation or avoid such stimuli. It might particularly be suffering when an animal is forced, because of captivity or other restriction, not to avoid such a situation. Octopuses are famous for being learning specialists, and storage of learned information is routine with them. In fact, they may have a simple form of consciousness, so we can say that they likely have pain and seem to have suffering, and should thus be treated with respect.

Can we Infer Pain in Crustaceans from Behaviour Experiments?
Dr Robert ELWOOD (Queen's University, Belfast, UK)

Nociception is the ability to detect and respond to noxious stimuli by reflex reaction. No aversive feeling or experience of pain is suggested. For pain to be inferred various criteria should be fulfilled. The speaker reports on several experiments on crustaceans involving discrimination avoidance learning, prolonged rubbing and motivational trade-offs. The responses are more complex and prolonged to be explained by nociceptive reflex. When shore crabs are offered a choice of dark shelters in a brightly lit arena they swiftly learn to avoid one that is paired with shock. Prawns show prolonged rubbing of antennae treated with chemicals associated with pain in vertebrates and this is reduced with local anaesthetics. Hermit crabs trade-off their requirement for quality shells and avoidance of shock and those receiving shock show a long-term motivational change with respect to their current shell. They are also more reluctant to leave a shell in which they are shocked if exposed to odours of predators. These findings cannot be explained by reflex responses and instead are consistent with pain. The speaker also notes the reluctance to accept evidence on invertebrates that would be accepted as showing pain in vertebrates.

Welfare of Invertebrate Animals: Insects, Spiders, Snails and Worms
Dr Donald BROOM (University of Cambridge, UK)

The concept of welfare applies to all animals but not to plants or inanimate objects. Hence we can evaluate and discuss the welfare of invertebrate animals - such as snails, insects, spiders and worms - but this does not mean that they have all of the capabilities of more complex animals, or that we wish to protect them in the same way. One key question is "Should we respect the life of this animal?" A second, linked question is "Should we consider the needs of the animal if we interfere with its life?" A third is "Should we use anaesthetics and analgesics if we damage the tissues of this animal?" There are further questions, which affect people's treatment of animals, about the level of awareness which the animal has. For many people, the answers to the questions are affected by whether or not the animal is perceived to be a food item or likely to harm humans or their resources. However, if this is not a factor when a limpet, a swimming nudibranch, a butterfly, a honeybee, a jumping spider, or a phyllodocid worm is considered, many people would answer yes to two or more of the questions. Information about perceptual ability, pain systems, learning ability and various indicators of cognition and awareness is presented.

Experimentation on Pain: an Ethic Dilemma Facing with Science and Law?

First, we must recall that pain mechanisms result from a biological continuum that functions in stages, from nociception to cognitive suffering. Within this framework, painful animal testing takes place within two main scenarios: tests that cause pain, but pursue other goals, and tests in which the goal is to estimate pain. These tests lead to essential ethical dilemmas between the rights of humans and the rights of animals, because we must, in the first case, derive scientific or medical benefits for humans at the expense of animals, or, in the second case, submit, voluntarily and in a standardized way, groups of animals to painful stimuli for the benefit of humans. Many solutions have been applied to these dilemmas. From a scientific point of view, painful tests usually aim for minimal pain, the threshold at which pain appears. From a legal point of view, and only in relation to vertebrates, and, recently, cephalopod molluscs, many European or French legal texts have specified the legal limits of these tests. However, as is often the case in moral practice, proposed legal solutions, however necessary they might be, are only an arbitrary and partial response to the philosophical question of substance.

Animal Sensitivity, at the Junction of Philosophy, Science and Law: Convergences and Difficulties
Pr Jean-Luc GUICHET (University of Picardie, CNRS-University of Bourgogne, LFDA, Paris)

Animal sensitivity is no longer the object of a simple popular belief. This intuition, as straightforward as it seems, has exposed itself, through the critical filter of philosophy (especially of the Cartesian type), to accusations of interpretation and even of holding a bias. Against this interpretation others could be posited, whether mechanist in the Cartesian manner, or by proposing the putting aside of the mental aspect, as put forward by the behaviorists at a time not so long ago. Science, through its multiple and convergent approaches, both disciplinary and methodological, henceforth validates this notion and tends to give it the status of a "fact," while this is a term which is probabilistic. But the obligation of interpretation remains completely within the subjective modalities that belong to this sensitivity, in particular of pain, and this, considering the wide diversity of the animal condition. This is where a new neutralization becomes possible, incorporating the argument of the incompatibility of animal sensitivity with that of humans. Philosophy thus once again risks itself, this time to the interpretation of animal subjectivities, on the grounds of phenomenological ethology findings. However, ethics can be supported by the acknowledgement of this sensitivity, whatever the modalities may be, according to the a minima principle of benefit of the doubt and against a background of profound transformations of human sensitivity toward animal sensitivity. In turn, the law hesitates, regardless of scientific and social developments, to take the step of acknowledging animal sensitivity, even on the level of a principle, somewhat troubled by its own chain of logic and by the idea of leaving behind the reassuring anthropocentrism that, to date, has framed its approach to animals. The relation between humans and animals has never been so complex, even contradictory, as it is today, a situation which the law reflects, but which it must at the same time overcome in light of its obligation of coherence. This human-animal relation nonetheless has its own dynamic, which seems to inevitably lead-but when?-to such an acknowledgement in law of animal sensitivity.

Concluding Session I.

Pr Alain COLLENOT, (Veterinarian, Honorary professor of Embryology of University Paris 6, Vice-president of LFDA, Paris)

Day 2 - October 19, 2012


Welcome Speech

Pr Martine LACHANCE (Director of the GRIDA, University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada)

Introduction: From Science to Law, a Diversity of Juridical Approaches for Animal Sensitivity to Pain
Jean-Marie COULON, (Honorary First President of Chamber at the Court of Appeal of Paris, France)

The introduction to Session II of this symposium is called "From Science to Law, What Is the Range of Legal Approaches to Pain in Animals? "

The main idea is clear: scientific advances do not have an exact legal counterpart. Science prospers, but the law limps, in spite of the commendable efforts of international institutions and many countries. Yet that is the foundation of regulations for the protection of animal rights. Science directs ethics, which in turn gives birth to laws. We will be witnesses to a world tour of the taking into account of most animals' sensitivity and capacity to suffer.

Scientific knowledge becomes convictions that affect our consciences and our behaviour. Law struggles to adopt these scientific and ethical movements. The need for a legal framework, by definition, never subsides. If a judge's duty is to inquire, but to inquire quickly, that of a legislator is quite another. It requires a legal response that is increasingly reactive and adapted to animal rights. However, since responses vary and are ambiguous, the balance fluctuates.

We cannot do otherwise but show some concern about the reality despite the adoption of international and national norms of protection. France's example is typical in this regard. This country has introduced, within in its wide range of laws, a number of principles aimed at protecting animal rights but, out of caution, has not yet decided to adopt a clear and undeniable definition of animal sensitivity and capacity for suffering.

This is about the rule of law, its meaning and value. It is the product of debates between society's actors. It must be distanced from points of view that are too scattered and thus without impact. The protective laws in place have to be enacted so as to clarify the roles and responsibilities of legislators, public authorities, experts and judges.

The speakers will allow us to develop our theme, because they will make us think about legal realities that are both concrete and contrasted.

Oxen, the Yoke and the Plow? Science, Ethics and Law in which Order?
Pr Jean-Claude NOUET (Professor of Medicine, Honorary President and co Founder of LFDA, Paris)

How do these three fields influence each other? Do they form a linked chain? Or do they form an interactive whole? Doesn't arbitrarily selecting one amount to putting "the plow in front of the oxen"? The development of attitudes toward animals offers the beginning of an answer. The protection of animals from human violence, primarily motivated by compassion, extended from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th. It has generated laws benefiting domestic and working animals, and concerns about "individual" violence that is troubling to public order. But our laws have only provided such protection to animals that don't interfere with human uses, needs, and profits, which are at the source of "collective" violence.

The baton in the moral relay involved in this compassionate approach was grasped in the middle of the 20th century by schools of ethical thinking, which promoted respect for more than protection of animals and the preservation of wildlife. Since then, ethical arguments focusing on animals have extended the field of law to intensive and industrial farming, hunting animals for pleasure, and animal testing, fields that, each year in France, encompass hundreds of millions of animals in intensive production, dozens of millions in hunting, and millions in testing.

But ethical arguments have proven to be insufficient to stop the abusive exploitation of animals. Furthermore, such arguments are weakened by a variety of individual moral attitudes: it seems that ethical attitudes to animals operate in successive concentric circles of declining empathy, generally giving priority to cats and dogs, then to mammals and other vertebrates, and ending with invertebrates, which are most often considered to be either food or nuisances. Animals thus fall from a status of almost living beings worthy of compassion, even respect, to that of an object, even of an enemy. To this situation were added philosophical discussions that hid the real issues, which are animal suffering and the vanishing of animal species.

Since the beginning of the 21rst century, new methods of neurobiological and ethological investigation have re-started the debate on these essential issues. Scientific knowledge and advances will eventually be the drivers of the law, because if the law wishes to be independent and legitimate, it cannot ignore the existence of a scientific fact, the capacity to feel suffering, or the threat of disappearing species.

Thus the order of the three fields organizes itself into science and its advances, which refine ethical thinking, which in turn structures the development of the law. However, this apparently rigid and dispassionate framework cannot exclude the influence that must continue to stimulate compassion: "Between brain and hands, the heart must be the mediator."

Improvement of Animal Welfare in the World: the Share of the World Organisation for Animal's Health (OIE)
Dr Bernard VALLAT (Management director of OIE, Paris, France )

Since May 2005, the International Assembly of Delegates of the OIE, representing the 178 member countries, has adopted nine chapters of standards relative to animal welfare in order to integrate them into the Sanitary Codes of the OIE. These standards are applicable to the transportation of animals by sea, air and land; the slaughter of animals destined for human consumption; the killing of animals for sanitary control reasons; the control of the stray dog population; the use of animals for research and teaching; the welfare of farmed fish during transportation; and aspects of animal welfare related to the stunning and killing of farmed fish destined for human consumption. The OIE norms are systematically based on scientific foundations, because science is a common denominator among the 178 members of the organization.

Today, the OIE continues its work of standardization within new and important fields, such as the relationship between animal welfare and the different systems of animal protection currently in place around the world.

As part of its worldwide program in support of a lasting improvement in the conformity of National Veterinarian Services to the standards of the OIE, the organization, through its PVS tool (Performance of Veterinarian Services), has published the first international guidelines on veterinarian legislation, as well as recommendations concerning veterinarian education. The promotion of animal welfare is integrated into these programs aimed at regulating an acceptable worldwide relationship between humans and animals.

Through these actions, the goal of the OIE is to help its members apply the standards that it itself adopts, as well as improving animal welfare worldwide. Within this framework, the OIE supports, in particular, transitioning and developing countries, recognizing that the involvement of the Veterinarian Services and of the veterinary profession in this field is essential to achieve progress.

Pain of Animals and the Legislation of the European Union for Animal-welfare
Dr Andrea GAVINELLI (Head of Unit "Animal Welfare" at the General Direction "Health and Consumers" of the European Commission, Brussels, Belgium)

Public debate about animal pain involves cultural, ethical, religious and more often political and economic components. For nearly 40 years now, the European Union, through the European Commission actively contributes to creation and enforcement of animal welfare legislation and policy. The initiatives in the field of animal welfare are widely supported by animal rights activists and non-governmental organizations who call for improved living conditions for animals. On the other side there are business operators and stakeholders who draw attention to the financial investments which they have to face to comply with animal welfare requirements.

So far, the European Commission adopted two action plans for animal welfare and since 1970's carries on implementing animal welfare legislation. The animal welfare legislation is one of the most visible and effective way of dealing with poor welfare on farms, trucks transporting animals or at slaughterhouses in Europe. All the pieces of legislation in this field are justified by common value which is wellbeing of animals which do not suffer distress or pain. Pain of animals, as long as the EU law does not provide with a precise definition of it, seems to be considered as a matter of a fact and as such should be avoided by provision of good and comfortable conditions to animals wherever they are.

A Look at Some Remarkable Achievements of Animal Law within Seven European Nations (Austria, Germany, Great-Britain, Italy, Luxemburg, Sweden, Switzerland)
Dr Muriel FALAISE (University Lyon 3, France)

Over the centuries, the place of animals in society has evolved profoundly and favourably, and many now think deeply on this subject. The animal condition has become one of the 21st century's major societal preoccupations, with humans finally seeming to realize the responsibility conferred on them by their superior level of consciousness in relation to the weakest. Could the new century be a bearer of hope for the cause of animals? Nothing is less certain, as demonstrated by the infringements of the rights of animals and the absence of a legal framework adapted to their needs.

Although it is undeniable that, internationally, animals currently benefit from a certain level of protection, within the nations of Europe such protection remains fragmented, owing to the classes of animals involved and the degree of protection offered. In Europe, the recognition of animals' status as "sensitive beings" by the Amsterdam Treaty (1997) constituted a turning point in the global approach to the issue. It no longer seems indecent to want to protect animals using their "sensitive living being" quality, or the subject of emotions. To date, the animal condition largely depends on national attitudes and the legal status of animals. Therefore, considering the lack of European regulations in numerous fields and of the harmonization of various national laws, there are major disparities among members of the European Economic Area. Beyond the European tendency to impose certain minimal norms in matters of animal protection, many countries have engaged in the process of defining and recognizing a law for animals. This is the case for Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden and Switzerland. Under the laws of these countries, various principles have permitted a legal translation of animal sensitivity to operate. Major advances in these countries should provide a reference framework in order to design a European legal model for protecting animals.

Animal Sensitivity in French Law: from Strength of Words to Effectiveness of Penalties
Dr Sonia DESMOULIN-CANSELIER (University Paris I/ CNRS, France)

Animal sensitivity is textually recognized in French law. Beyond the legal affirmation of animals as "sentient beings" France's legal language has been enriched with diverse expressions that take into account animal complexity. Now, it is not only "pain" that is acknowledged, but also "suffering," "behavioural needs," and even "anxiety." This new variety within the lexicon is accompanied by a de-multiplication of texts about animal protection, partly because of the influence of European law. There are more and more animals concerned. Regulations are also increasingly precise, as well as based on scientific opinions emanating from recent findings in ethology. Sanctions for those who disregard an animal's sensitivity can be surprising. Lege lata, animals benefit from so much attention that we could have interpreted it as a sign of a net evolution in its status: from being an object of law to becoming the subject of rights. This analysis falters on many levels. Recognizing that animals are "sensitive beings" does not necessarily imply their inclusion within the category of persons, even within a purely technical legal vision. Above all, the strength of words, so important within the symbolic field, is limited by the lack of efficiency attributed to animal protection law. From the strength of words to the effectiveness of sanctions, there is still a long road ahead for French law.

Animal Sensitivity in Canadian Criminal Law: Tolerance or Indifference?
Pr Martine LACHANCE (GRIDA, University of Quebec, Montreal, Canada)

Various practices and institutions involving livestock, hunting, fishing, trapping, domestication for commercial or personal use or even medical experiments all have one common denominator: the massive use of animals. But such use is not come without animal suffering.

In Quebec and Canada, as well as in many other states, the protection of animals against unnecessary physical suffering has been subject to rather weak legal framework. This can be explained by the fact that biomedical experimentation, industrial farming, and trapping are part of a continuum of practices that are rarely challenged, because they are deemed to be essential to the survival of humans and their culture; they improve health and prolong lifespan, they provide food and even clothing. These practices, which are justified by an argument of necessity, make difficult the construction of legal rules designed to safeguard animals against unnecessary suffering. This fact creates a legal area in which states continue to tolerate certain acts of cruelty as well as the pain and suffering inflicted on animals during a legitimate activity. Consciously or not, the precaution principle takes precedence over animal welfare.

The speaker will verify how animal suffering has been taken into account by the Quebec and Canada law systems, i.e. demonstrating the real roots of the concepts of animal pain and suffering in the Quebec and Canada legal corpus. Verifying the consistency of the actual legal system with the findings based on science requires a qualitative examination of Quebec and Canada legislative texts - laws and regulatory acts - that deal with animals. The use of normative science as an approach to law, will allow to determine the contents, the proper interpretation and, ultimately, the appropriate critical analysis of legal norms to ensure the protection of animals.

Does American Law Give Attention to Animals' Suffering
Pr Taimie BRYANT (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)

American legal texts, be they legislative language or judicial decisions, rarely include attention to animal suffering. Procedurally, too, animals are disadvantaged. They do not have standing to bring their suffering to a court's attention, and would-be human protectors rarely have standing sufficient to get to the "merits" of a case that involves animals' suffering. Since formal law seems inhospitable to such claims, advocates for animals have turned to the use of private legal agreements that impose duties to protect animals from harm. Examples include agreements that require the monitoring of animal treatment on movie and television sets, agreements between fast food businesses and their animal product suppliers to require better conditions and treatment of animals, and pet adoption contracts that forbid mutilating surgeries. None of these goes to the heart of the problem of animal usage and commodification, although it is understandable that advocates for animals attempt this avenue of "freedom of contract" in order to gain some modicum of legal recognition of animals' capacities to suffer. The speaker will explore some examples of these agreements, and will consider whether such agreements are likely to result ultimately in the formal law shifting in more humane directions.

The Rationality of Animal Suffering in Australian Law: The Ends Justify the Means
Pr Steven WHITE (Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)

In Australia, the law and policy of protection of animals from pain and suffering is diffused between the federal Government and the eight States and Territories. Reflecting a tacit understanding of constitutional responsibilities, the federal Government exercises a limited, formal legal role, directly regulating only the live export of animals and the slaughter of animals for meat for export, while adopting a coordinating policy role across a range of other settings. The States and Territories have each established a regulatory regime for the protection of animals, adopting the same broad model but with some important differences in the details.

While each jurisdiction purports to protect animals from pain and suffering, as an aspect of prohibiting cruelty or imposing welfare obligations, the commitment to non-suffering is inconsistent, pays selective regard to animal welfare science and is undermined by competing economic and cultural values:

In response to a range of reviews highlighting shortcomings with contemporary animal welfare regulation, the federal Government is coordinating the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, with key goals including better care of animals and national consistency in regulation of animal protection. While it's likely that increased national consistency will be achieved over the longer term, reducing animal suffering will continue to be subservient to other objectives.

Animals' Sensitivity and the Law in South America: an Evolving Legal Landscape
Pr David CASSUTO (Pace Law School, White Plains, N.Y, USA)

This paper offers a broad overview of animal-related laws in South America, focusing specifically on Peru, Brazil, and Argentina. Though the varied cultural and legal traditions in the region make it impossible to generalize with accuracy, certain broad conclusions can be drawn. This paper argues that cultural visions of animals are shifting and that the laws are evolving to reflect that new reality. The paper begins with a discussion of the challenges to effective animal protection laws before turning to an examination of the current laws and efforts to strengthen them. Many animal protection laws are hobbled both by ineffective enforcement and by de minimis penalties for their violation. This combination creates an environment where such laws can be routinely ignored. When this lack of legal will meets entrenched cultural traditions, the net result bodes ill for nonhuman animals.

Nevertheless, the outlook is improving. The sentience and intrinsic worth of nonhuman animals has begun to play a role in animal laws even when that means curtailing entrenched traditions. There is also increasing interest in protecting animals from wanton cruelty and ensuring that respect for life crosses species boundaries.

Animal Suffering and Comparative Specific Regulations of Some Socio-cultural Practices in the European Countries
Pr Maria-Theresa GIMENEZ CANDELA (Independent University of Barcelona, Spain)

Practices that put animals into situations that subject them to suffering and which are justified by socio-cultural foundations have not been completely eradicated in the countries that form our European environment. Our legal systems therefore have regulatory frameworks that range from tolerance to repression, thereby shaping a complex legal map.

The two questions on which this communication is articulated are the following:

The first question aims to spark a discussion about the compatibility between legislative declarations regarding the recognition of animals' capacity for suffering ("sensitive beings")-which should be taken into account as a regulatory principle of the EU's legislation, as was recognized in the Lisbon Treaty itself-and maintaining shows in which animals are featured, mutilation, ritual sacrifices, hunting and fishing, which are embedded and regulated in our European territories and which seem to contradict these general principles by using tradition, custom, beliefs or culture as barriers to criticizing and eliminating such practices.

The second question seeks to identify the legal measures that have been put in place to date and whether or not they effectively reflect all that the law can and should do for animal welfare and the prevention of animal suffering.

This communication wishes to open a debate as to whether the law in relation to animals should modify its traditional vision and, instead of mainly seeking to regulate, which makes the coexistence of humans and animals difficult-as we have done until now-should begin to turn its attention to how to improve the situation of animals that suffer for the reasons listed above, by incorporating a scientific approach suitable to animal diversity, a legal language adapted to the needs of the market (thus making the law clearer and more comprehensible) and by encouraging respect for animals in educational and professional training within all levels of society.

The Legal Consideration of Animals' Pain and Suffering in Human Wildlife Interactions
Pr David FAVRE (Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA)

Wildlife is a legal category not a science based standard. Wildlife as individual beings feel pain and have the capacity to suffer as do domestic animals. But wildlife by definition has no human owner, no human to provide care and protection, nor a human to protect against the harms that might be inflicted upon them by other humans. Humans use wildlife around the world for a great diversity of reasons: food, clothing, drugs, wealth creation and entertainment being just some the major categories. Is there any duty to protect these animals from pain and suffering? This question will be considered at three levels of government: international, national and local. Because the death of wildlife is the usual end result of human activity, consideration of pain issues is inherently difficulty and most often not a factor in the act of killing wildlife. As possible examples a number of wildlife species will be considered, including: whales, bob cats, elephants, sharks, and migratory birds. It will be suggested that if the use of wildlife by humans must continue, then much needs to be done to apply the same standards of concern for animal well-being that exist for domestic animals.

Animal Sensitivity in the Law of the Future
Dr Antoine GOETSCHEL (Past Animals' Attorney of Zurich, Switzerland)

From a global perspective, animal sensitivity is not sufficiently protected by the majority of the laws enacted for animal protection. Most of the 30 national laws that we have analyzed concerning the interaction between humans and animals insist on punishing cruelty toward animals. However, cruelty is only invoked when severe injuries are caused to an animal. Rare are the judgments in which the term cruelty includes acts causing mainly psychic suffering, such as when an animal's suffering is manifested through stereotypically abnormal behaviours.

A modern law respecting animals, such as that of Switzerland, must not only protect the animal's "integrity" (see, for reference, "animal dignity" as noted in article 120 of the Swiss Constitution, as well as in South Korea), but also the interests of some animals in their social interactions. For example, it is prohibited to cage guinea pigs and birds in isolation from others of their species because sociable animal species require appropriate social contacts with their counterparts (article 13 of the 4555.1 Decree on animal protection, 04/23/2008). It can thus be noted that in this roundabout way, the legislator declares at least that withholding social life constitutes a punishable infraction.

Animals used for testing should also benefit from the Lisbon Treaty, which respects animals as sensitive beings. But a long road is still ahead until national and international animal protection standards improve in their favour.

A serious and complete legal acknowledgment of animals as living beings with full sensitivity is possible, and urgent.

Concluding Session II and Symposium Summary

Louis SCHWEITZER (President of LFDA)

GRIDA’s goal is to define a modern, legal approach to issues of animal security and welfare that combines its purpose and the appropriate juridical instruments

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