Presently Animal Law as a new branch of law is in an intense progress. The focus on animals and the endeavor to withdraw from the anthropocentric view makes the subject to something unique and unparalleled. The GJAL is participating in the development by publishing analyses both from a theoretical and practical point of view.
Our fundamental understanding of animals as legal entities is changing. Inter alia, it is no longer given that animals are, or should be, recognized in legal terms as 'objects' or 'things'. This change is also noticeable in the articles in the current issue of the Global Journal of Animal Law (GJAL). Aleksandra Lis and Tomasz Pietrzykowski analyzes in the peer reviewed article Animals as Objects of Ritual Slaughter: Polish Law after the Battle over Exceptionalness Mandatory Stunning the statutory rules and demands in the Polish Constitution, the Polish Animal Protection Act and the EU Regulation 1099/2009, with the interpretation made by the Constitutional Tribunal in Poland concerning stunning before slaughter in relation to the freedom to exercise religious beliefs. The effects of the ruling, as explained by the Constitutional Tribunal, include the legality of ritual slaughter irrespective of the purpose and the final destination of the meat produced by this method. The authors underline that this does not only mean that ritual slaughter is an exemption from the mandatory stunning in Polish law, but it actually means slaughter performed by commercial companies to deliver kosher and halal meat abroad, which consequence goes far beyond the scope of the constitutional complaint advanced by the claimants. The authors argue that the judgment is based on a conception of sentient animals as objects (of religious rituals) without consideration of their subjective interests.
In the peer reviewed article Puppy Farming and the Constitutionality of Breeder Regulation in Hong Kong, Eric KH Wong presents and analyzes comprehensively the legislation of puppy farming in Hong Kong. The author underlines that the law does not distinguish between the rightist position and the welfarist position, because they both aim to promote the rights and interests of animals. The problem, claimed by the author, is that animal welfare (the rights and interests of animals) is currently subsumed under a public health regulation. The topic highlight the tension between animal welfare and constitutional rights, touched on the property status of animals. The author argues that a number cap imposed through a properly drafted regulation should be constitutional. Additionally, animal welfare can validly justify restriction on property rights. The main question is the weighing of animal welfare against private ownership, when the former is neither regulated nor hindered by the Constitution. The author argues that both regulation and abolition of commercial breeding can be constitutional.
The current issue contains also a short book review by Tara C. Zuardo, a Wildlife Attorney at the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington D.C.: What Can Animal Law Learn From Environmental Law. The book is edited by Professor Randall S. Abate and published in September 2015 by the Environmental Law Institute.
The next issue of GJAL will be published in June 2016 and the dead-line for submissions is 31 March 2016.
On behalf of the Advisory Board of GJAL:Season's Greetings with all good wishes for the New Year!
Anna Birgitta Wahlberg