AR-News: (US-wa) Pain defined in horse cruelty case - Court reinstates convictions; a victory for animal rights

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Mon Jan 26 09:44:29 EST 2004

[from Seattle Post Intelligencer]

The two old horses were so underweight that their ribs, bones and jaws
stuck out. They had bad teeth and little food or shelter where they were
kept in southeast Pierce County, court documents say.

But prosecutors had trouble proving that these horses actually suffered
pain -- a requirement for convicting someone of animal cruelty.

Now, in a victory for animal rights advocates in Washington, the state
Court of Appeals in Tacoma has established for the first time just how
much pain is needed for a cruelty conviction.

The answer is: not much. The court said "mild discomfort" was enough to
convict the keepers of the bony horses, and it defined pain as everything
from "mental uneasiness" and "dull distress" to "unbearable agony."

"This is landmark," said Adam Karp, founder and board member of the
Washington State Bar Association's animal-law section and an adjunct law
professor at Seattle University. "It will guard against psychic pain as
well as physical discomfort."

full story:

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