Sunday, May 12, 2013

Habeas Porpoise? Really?

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I love it.

Arie Trouwborst, Richard Caddell, and Ed Couzens, whose article about the orca Morgan in Transnational Environmental Law I mentioned previously, have a follow-up post at the Cambridge journals blog.
The Amsterdam District Court reviewed the previous decision, yet after consideration upheld the finding that Morgan’s transfer was legitimate. We consider this verdict to be demonstrably legally flawed. The Court based its determination primarily on a surprising appraisal of the ASCOBANS text, finding that a removal of an orca for rehabilitation purposes did not constitute “intentional taking” (such taking being precluded under the treaty). Moreover, the Court considered that enduring captivity was justified by the need to conduct research pursuant to obligations under ASCOBANS. This is deeply perplexing, since ASCOBANS does not consider permanent captivity for research (or any other) purposes acceptable. The judgment remains highly unsatisfactory in the light of these and other treaty obligations, while the Court seemingly ignored evidence that the facility to which the orca had been transferred does not engage in substantive research into cetacean ecology.
It must have been difficult for people to keep a straight face while arguing that Morgan’s captivity at Loro Parque was about research. It’s very obviously a theme park in which animals are exploited for human entertainment.

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