girl ipsa loquitur: Unhappy Animal Right Activists Come From California...<br><span style="font-size:75%;"> PETA, Cows & Sovereign Immunity</span> Email me!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Unhappy Animal Right Activists Come From California...
PETA, Cows & Sovereign Immunity

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"Happy Cows ", as the advertisement goes, "Come from California." This is what the Milk Producers Advisory Board would like us to believe because they want us to buy California dairy products; mainly "Great Cheese". This is not a public service announcement, kids, telling us just how nice it is here in sunny California for our happy bovine friends. It's an AD.

So, as you can imagine, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (The ACLU of the animal realm) has a problem with this and they've filed suit in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleging that the MPAB's "Happy Cows" advertising campaign is false and misleading. "Far from enjoying the idyllic existence depicted in the ads, PETA's suit charged, most California dairy cows spend their lives in dry dirt lots while being repeatedly impregnated and then eventually slaughtered." (Please see linked article)

How happy, in reality, do you suppose these cows to be?

Apparently, though, the issue in the case did not turn on whether or not the cows are happy but rather on whether or not the MPAB is a "person" within the meaning of the law. It's a public entity and not a natural person, nor a corporation, nor a firm, partnership, joint stock company, association or other organization of persons.

Apparently, it's a sovereign.

PETA has suggested that the only reason to exempt MPAB from operation of this law is to protect it from interference with the exercise of its sovereign powers. This makes pretty good sense, right? Since when is it within the sovereign power to engage in unfair business practices?

However, the panel of the California 1st District Court of Appeal disagreed with PETAs contention that this advertisement fell outside the scope of sovereign powers.

"[W]e have no hesitancy in concluding there would indeed be an 'infringement of sovereign power' for the [board] to be subject to suit under the [unfair-competition law] for the content of one of its promotional campaigns," the panel said.


I am just a lowly law student but I have to wonder; is this the correct test? The infringement of sovereign power test? And if so, I must ask... Shouldn't we apply it to Executive Power as well? (I think that having to defend a tort law suit while also sitting as president probably counts as interference)

If the application of sovereign immunity is appropriate any time the contemplated action might be an 'infringement of sovereign power', then it's difficult to imagine when we might be able to curtail the wrongful acts of the sovereign. Let's assume, for the purposes of this argument, that the "Happy Cows" campaign would be unlawful if it were offered by corporate cheese producer Cheddars R Us. In this hypothetical PETA would prevail, the advertisement would be enjoined and Cheddars would have to get a new ad campaign.

But the exact same advertisement, although unlawful when produced by Cheddar, would remain "at large", deceiving the public-- not because it was an essential part of the operation of the sovereign but because It's Good To Be The King. The test, as articulated by the panel of the California 1st District Court of Appeal boils down to "If it will bother the King then we will not allow it, no matter whether the King was right or wrong or engaged in important King activities". How, otherwise, does enjoining the unfair ad infringe on sovereign power?

And since when is acting like a private market participant even within the sovereign power?

As a Monday morning quarterback, I wonder if PETA failed to properly frame the issue. The question ought to be whether or not engaging in deceptive advertising is a sovereign power at all.

And in light of this decision I have a promotional suggestion for Pakistan (In conjunction with Nike but we'll use the sovereign state primarily) ~

Soccer Balls come from "Happy Kids" and Happy Kids come from PAKISTAN!

While we're at it, let's hit chocolate & cigarettes as well.


Blogger PA said...

You're suprised that PETA has a hard time framing a decent lawsuit? Yeah... maybe it's because they are trying to inact human rights, not even guaranteed around the world, for animals. Cows are animals and not humans. The sadest part of PETA is that they could be doing something worthwhile... fighting injustice/slavery/child prostitution/on and on and actually helping people... but they chose to spend countless millions on things like poor cows. If they knew anything about cows they would know it is torture to NOT MILK them.

I think by "ethical treatment of animals" some have reinterpreted this to mean "equal treatment of animals to humans."

PETA forms poor arguements legally because they exist to make the far left happy. The headline counts more than the case.

On a sidenote. The commercials are great!

5:19 AM  
Blogger Carson Day said...

Unhappy animal rights activists cannot explain how it is that animals have "rights" if they hold to Darwin's views (or neoDarwinian).

On any evolutionary outlook, nature is what it is -- red in tooth and claw. So if human "animals" want to kill happy cows, this is no different than a lion killing a deer.

If you were a good Darwinian, you should have a more "free for all" attitude. In short, evolutionism and the idea of "rights" do not comport.

But this means neoD's and punctuationistas need this happy inconsistency -- or animals would have no rights, including people. Evolution doesn't help here either, since moderns have decided it is fine to own animals, but not humans, which implies that humans are not animals. It is a distinction that cannot find explanation in an evolutionary account, for it is consistent only with the biblical account of creationism.

I have yet to seen a Neo-D explain, given his (or her) views, HOW slavery could be wrong. And I must admit, the glaring omission peaks my interest.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Morris said...

I would be more then happy to "milk" you. If you know what I mean.

Ask Morris

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you, Someone has to do it...

12:07 AM  

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