An Equiery Plea to Maryland Attorneys Who Own Horses

More lawyers who happen to be horse people to join the Maryland State Bar Association’s Animal Law Section and/or at attend the 4thAnnual MSBA Animal Law Symposium.

As many regular readers of The Equiery are aware, there is a fundamental philosophical difference between advocates for animal rights and advocates for animal welfare.  Animal rights activists believe that any use of any animal for any reason (which includes riding horses or showing dogs) is constitutes specism, with is akin to slavery and is morally untenable. Animal rights activists seek to make fundamental changes in our laws, often under the auspices of welfare. These fundamental changes include attempting to eliminate the ability to own animals, replacing ownership with “guardianship” and redefining pets (which can be owned) as companion animals, and redefining horses (currently considered livestock, which provides the legal premise for our disease control) also as companion animals instead of livestock. The Maryland Horse Council is opposed to attempts to change the legal definition of livestock, as is The Equiery.

MHC has been successful over the years in fighting a variety of bills that creep up, usually under the mantle of “welfare” but which would fundamentally dismantle equine ownership.

The challenge, to date, is that in most cases, animal welfare organizations (such as MHC) are in a reactive position.

However, there are options, and the MSBA’s Animal Law Section and Symposium is one of those options.

Equine industry lawyers who have served on the MSBA’s Animal Law Section report feeling disheartened and discouraged by the lack of other like-minded attorneys involved, as the section becomes more and more dominated by those attorneys who tend to swing more towards animal rights (rather than welfare). This is relevant because the MSBA Animal Law Section is often asked to advice and comment by lawmakers on legislation while it is still in the developmental phases, before a bill is even entered. The Animal Law Section has the opportunity to influence legislation behind the scenes, prior to the public ever seeing it, while lobbying groups, such as the Maryland Horse Council, are reduced to responding to a bill only after it becomes public.

We need more animal-industry lawyers on the MSBA’s Animal Law Section.

And we need more such people to attend the Annual Animal Law Symposium. And one need not be a lawyer to attend the symposium. Your publisher attended the symposium last year, and it was clear that, for every “animal welfare” proponent at the meeting, there were five to eight animal-rights leaning proponents there. The majority was so definitive that the lunch committee abandoned any pretense of providing food options for vegans/vegetarians vs. omnivores, catering exclusively to the vegan/vegetarian majority!

So, please, regardless of whether you are an attorney or not, if you are interested at all in animal law, please go to this symposium. Topics include:

  • Implications of Strict Liability & Solesky on Companion Animals and Service Animals
  • Developments to Protect Commercially Bred Dogs and Egg-Laying Hens on Farms
  • Dealing with Media, Public Pressure, and Scrutiny in Animal Cruelty Cases
  • Damages in Dog Bite and Other Animal-Related Litigation
  • Wildlife Issues:  Coyote and Fox Penning and Wildlife Trade
  • Feral Cats and the Law

Click here to learn more about the MSBA’s Animal Law section.

Maryland State Bar Association’s 4th Annual Animal Law Symposium
April 22nd, 2013 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Westminster Hall
519 West Fayette St.
Baltimore, Maryland