Here’s a thought and it may happen one day. It has already happened in Switzerland for a while. Animals should have a lawyer representing their interests in court.
In matters of animal cruelty, there are two parties: the state versus the defendant. There could be a third party, an experienced animal rights lawyer to represent the animal, dead or alive, to ensure that the law is correctly applied and to fight for the rights of the animal unencumbered by deals and agreements.
Need to represent animals?
Such a lawyer could also make applications to court for declarations by a judge on complicated matters. I am thinking of the convoluted and essentially failed case against the veterinarian, Kristen Erin Lindsey, who shot an arrow through the head of a neighbour’s cat, Tiger. Many people wanted her struck off but she was suspended. I am familiar with the legal arguments and some of them were wrong. An experienced animal advocate representing Tiger could have achieved a more just outcome. Tiger needed his own representative in the many court battles.
He or she could also intervene in divorce matters to ensure that the pet went to the right home!
Antoine François Goetschel
Antoine Goetschel played this role for a considerable time in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. He was appointed an animal advocate in animal cruelty cases in 2007. The role was ended in 2011 and the veterinary office took over. I have no idea why because it is great idea.
Antoine is a passionate animal rights advocate. His role was to ensure that the animal rights law of Switzerland, some of the world’s strictest, was correctly applied.
One per state in US
There could be one experienced animal rights lawyer per US state. Not only would she intervene in criminal matters to fight for the animal’s interests but also provide advice on new state legislation such as proposals to ban declawing in New Jersey and New York state.
Arguably state legislators need the advice of an expert to guide them. Such a role would further animal welfare. The person would also be involved in legislation to control private zoos. There is need to restrict them through legislation.
This is a role that would be a voice for the voiceless. An important necessity.
In certain cases children have legal representatives. An animal advocate is a similar concept.