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Edited by Nengye Liu, Cassandra M. Brooks and Tianbao Qin

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Edited by Nengye Liu, Cassandra M. Brooks and Tianbao Qin

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Edited by Nengye Liu, Cassandra M. Brooks and Tianbao Qin

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Edited by Nengye Liu, Cassandra M. Brooks and Tianbao Qin

Bringing together leading scholars from across a diverse range of disciplines, this unique book examines a key question: How can we best conserve marine living resources in the polar regions, where climate change effects and human activities are particularly pressing?
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Animal Welfare and International Environmental Law

From Conservation to Compassion

Edited by Werner Scholtz

At a time when the planet’s wildlife faces countless dangers, international environmental law continues to overlook its evolving welfare interests. This thought-provoking book provides a crucial exploration of how international environmental law must adapt to take account of the growing recognition of the intrinsic value of wildlife.
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Michael Bowman

From the time of its emergence, the modern international legal order has tended to evolve desultorily and reactively to political events, and without sufficient regard to any underlying philosophical principles or informing corpus of scientific knowledge. Insofar as it rests upon any intellectual foundations at all, these are essentially the speculations and assumptions of the eighteenth century European Enlightenment, which, despite their manifest inadequacies, have never been seriously re-examined. Accordingly, while the public international legal system contains numerous rules and principles designed for the protection of both humans and other life-forms, and at the individual and the collective levels alike, there is very little sign of coherence, coordination or due comparative cogency amongst them, resulting in a legal order that is fragmented and insufficiently effective – indeed, in certain respects positively counter-productive. Yet, through a scientifically and philosophically informed examination of these rules, and of the values that appear to underpin them – above all, the concept of dignity – it should now be possible to initiate the development of a truly coherent and convincing bioethical foundation and framework for protection, in more faithful reflection of the qualities of rationality and conscience that we humans have always claimed to possess.

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Werner Scholtz

The legal and moral significance of animals has generated a considerable corpus of scholarship. The discourse in relation to the moral significance of animal interests is characterised by the juxtaposition of advocates of animal welfare on the one hand and animal rights on the other. In general, law responds to animal interests through welfare legislation, which regulates the ‘humane’ treatment of non-human animals in order to mitigate animal suffering. Domestic jurisdictions respond to animal welfare concerns through anti-cruelty legislation. However, animal welfare legislation applies predominantly to domestic and agricultural animals. The situation in relation to the regulation of wildlife, both on the domestic and international plane, differs considerably from the approach to domestic and agricultural animals. Legal scholars have criticised the lack of wildlife welfare protection. The views in relation to the ignorance on wildlife range from despair expressed by one commentator who argued that ‘wild animal welfare law is sparse, bordering on the non-existent at the international level’ to glimmers of hope in the recognition that international environmental law is not wholly agnostic in relation to this issue. It is, however, abundantly clear that wildlife law (of the majority of jurisdictions) as well as international wildlife law do not contain welfare protection as an objective but rather the focus of wildlife law is to pursue the sustainable use and conservation of wildlife law. This approach is indicative of the anthropocentric and instrumental ethic that underlies the disconnect between the objectives of animal welfare and conservation.

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Steven White

This chapter considers the regulatory implications of a developing international emphasis on wild animal welfare, addressing the contribution that could be made by regulatory studies to the task of designing standards and standard-setting processes that will best give effect to a revised norm for wild animal protection. The chapter provides a brief overview of existing international standards and standard-setting processes for the legal protection of wild animals, including international regulatory regimes directly focussed on wild animals, such as CITES, as well as those which may indirectly undermine or advance wild animal welfare, including trade and animal health. The central argument of this chapter is that as animal, wildlife and international lawyers widen their concern to include protection of wild animal welfare as a first-order issue, attention must be paid to the standard-setting processes through which this norm might be given expression. A key strategic decision here is whether attempts to introduce specific welfare protections should be achieved by an enlargement of existing international environmental or other regimes, or instead be achieved through new institutional arrangements. If the path to reform lies in deliberate, policy-driven action by the international community, as much as the incremental development of soft law, existing treaties and the judicial decisions of international bodies, new institutional frameworks may be required.

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Werner Scholtz

Conservationists argue that trade may be conducive to the conservation of endangered species. This approach has surfaced on the international plane in the context of the deliberations of the CITES COP as well as in South Africa, which recently published draft regulations on the domestic trade in rhinoceros horn. South Africa is home to the majority of African rhinoceroses and also faces a poaching crisis. The ‘sustainable utilisation through commercialisation’ approach, however, ignores the emergence of the importance of wildlife welfare in law. Hence, this chapter assesses the link between trade in rhinoceros horn and the conservation of rhinoceros in the context of the relationship between animal welfare and conservation.

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Joan E. Schaffner

Human animals protect that which we value. The type and amount of protection afforded is a function of the type and level of value assigned. Traditionally, humans have assigned instrumental economic value (of differing levels depending upon the context) to wild animals as commodities primarily for human consumptive uses, e.g. hunting and fishing, and some non-consumptive uses, e.g. viewing. However, wild animals exhibit other values for humans, and as sentient beings with interests of their own, have intrinsic value independent of their utility to humans. To a very modest degree, domestic anti-cruelty and welfare laws and provisions in international treaties that prohibit especially cruel methods of killing wild animals reflect an understanding of the intrinsic value of wild animals. However, the standards set often are inadequate to provide robust protection for wild animals and are difficult to enforce. A true appreciation for wild animals’ intrinsic value that justifies their moral significance is a key to providing greater legal protection for their interests and well-being.