Filter category

Feature post image

The Elephant in the (Court)Room: Interdependence of Human and Animal Rights in the Anthropocene

On 21 May 2020, the Islamabad High Court issued a remarkable judgment in the case of Kaavan the elephant (among other “inmates” [8] of the Marghazar Zoo), affirming “without any hesitation” that “animals have legal rights” [59]. Chief Justice Athar Minallah held that the “pain and suffering of Kaavan must come to an end”, and ordered his release and relocation to an elephant sanctuary [62]. This marks yet another pioneering judgment on animal rights, joining the ranks of courts in India, Argentina, and Colombia, inter alia. As these Courts have done, the Islamabad High Court’s judgment propels the discussion on the proper treatment of animals within human societies from the predominant welfare paradigm to that of rights, which promises to provide stronger enforceable protections for animals. Compared to welfare laws (which merely impose certain animal welfare duties on humans) and conservationist approaches (which seek to protect animal species as a whole), under the rights framework individual animals are endowed with basic rights of their own. Though law inevitably remains anthropogenic,…

Read more

Subsequent Practice in the Whaling Case, and What the ICJ Implies about Treaty Interpretation in International Organizations

Today the ICJ delivered its long-anticipated judgment in the Whaling Case (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand Intervening), finding Japan’s whaling program in breach of the Whaling Convention on several counts. It is a rich judgment, which will be more fully digested over the next few days. In this post I want to draw attention to…

Read more

ICJ Decides the Whaling in the Antarctic Case: Australia Wins

This morning the ICJ delivered its judgment in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening). Australia won on almost all counts, and by 12 votes to 4. The Court’s principal reasoning is that while Japan’s whaling programme involved ‘scientific research,’ a concept that the Court did not want to define with particular precision,…

Read more