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Trading in Sacrifice

  • Kristen Stilt (a1)
Extract

The international trade of live animals, especially animals sold for slaughter, creates significant challenges for international law. Nonhuman animals do not fit neatly into the legal world created by humans. In nearly every jurisdiction, animals are property, but they are not like all other property. The sentience of animals has been widely recognized and it forms the basis of anticruelty laws where they exist. You may destroy your toaster any way you like, but the laws of most jurisdictions protect how you treat your dog. This fractured point in the law, animals as property and yet not exactly property, is the source of confusion in national laws, leading to unsatisfactory answers to questions such as what damages should be paid when a companion animal is negligently killed or whether individuals should own wildlife as “pets.”

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 Strickland v. Medlen, 397 S.W.3d 184 (Tex. 2013).

2 Muhammad Taqi Usmani, The Islamic Laws of Animal Slaughter 25–50 (2006).

3 See Four Corners, Another Bloody Business, ABC (Nov. 5, 2012).

4 See About the ADAHI Project, The Saudi Project for the Utilization of Sacrificial Animals.

5 Id.

6 Id.

7 In 2010, al-Jazeera produced a short report on the infrastructural challenges of the slaughter during the hajj. See Hajj Streamlines Ritual Slaughter (Mirror), Youtube. In 2014, Saudi imported over one million animals and a total of 2.5 million were sold throughout the country for Eid al-Adha. See Syeda Amtul, 2.5m Animals Sold in Saudi Arabia During Hajj, Alarabiya (Oct. 12, 2014).

8 See About the ADAHI Project, The Saudi Project for the Utilization of Sacrificial Animals. In recent years, outside of Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh has received the largest amount of frozen meat.

9 Id.

10 The Four Corners program on Australian exports to Indonesia aired on May 30, 2011 and can be seen at Four Corners, A Bloody Business—2011, ABC (Aug. 8, 2011).

11 Shortcomings of the OIE and the Codes that it has produced are discussed in Anne Peters, Global Animal Law: What It Is and Why We Need It, 5 Transnat'l Envtl. L. 9 (2016).

12 See Kristen Stilt, Constitutional Innovation and Animal Protection in Egypt, Law & Soc. Inquiry (forthcoming 2017).

13 Peters, supra note 11, at 22.

14 Kristen Stilt, Animals, in The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law (Anver Emon & Rumee Ahmed eds. 2017); Stilt, supra note 12.

15 In 2006, the Egyptian animal advocates sought a legal opinion, or fatwa, on the issue of live exports from Muhammad Tantawy, who at that time was the Shaikh of al-Azhar, one of the two highest religious positions in the country. Ahmed Sherbiny, President of the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends, submitted the question, which described the conditions during long distance transport from Australia to Egypt and asked for the Islamic legal status of such transport. In his reply, Sheikh Tantawy stated, “Causing pain to the animal during transport as described in the letter is considered an action prohibited and forbidden in Islamic law, assuming, of course, that the situation is as described in the letter.” Fatwa on file with author.

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