Saturday, March 6, 2010

Scales of Justice: In Zurich, Even Fish Have a Lawyer

Obviously this is an extreme example, but is the concept of having a "public defender" for animals valid?  Protecting animals from abuse is certainly a worthy pursuit, however, do animals have "rights"? And, if so, how is that right defined? What do you think??
WSJ: Last month, Antoine Goetschel went to court here in defense of an unusual client: a 22-pound pike that had fought a fisherman for 10 minutes before surrendering.  .Mr. Goetschel is the official animal lawyer for the Swiss canton of Zurich, a sort of public defender who represents the interests of pets, farm animals and wildlife. He wound up with the pike as a client when animal-welfare groups filed a complaint alleging animal cruelty in the fish's epic battle with an amateur angler.  The case emerged after a local newspaper photo showed the fisherman proudly showing off the four-foot-long fish—a scene that, to Mr. Goetschel, was reminiscent of a safari hunter with his foot perched on the head of a dead lion. "It is this Hemingway thinking," he says. "Why should this be legal when other animals have to be slaughtered in a humane way?"
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