[University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily - opinion]
In 2009, animal rights activist Bob Barker donated one million dollars to
the University Law School to create Virginia’s first Animal Rights Law
program. Host of the popular game show “The Price is Right,” Barker has
spent his life advocating for animals. His commitment to animal rights and
philanthropy in retirement should be commended.
recognizes that animal rights is a hot topic in American law and society.
Furthermore, humane treatment of animals should become a staple for all
levels of education in our nation.
Bob Barker’s donation is part of a wider Animal Rights Movement that has
made significant strides over the past decade to implement ethical
legislation and humane education. Already, almost half of American law
schools have animal rights curricula. This donation follows a string of
previous donations to other prestigious law schools, including Harvard,
Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Duke, UCLA and Northwestern.
Animal Law Program saw its first class, “Animal Law 9040,” appear in the
Fall 2009 academic semester. Law students tackled the extensive scope of
animal law and other ethical issues. According to Prof. Margaret Riley, head
of the University Animal Rights Program, the new course focuses on “legal
issues pertaining to animals, the laws that govern their treatment, as well
as a number of topics that fall within the general headings ‘animal law’ and
Progress in the ethical treatment of animals has
been made, but only through the tenacious efforts of animal rights
activists. The persistent mistreatment of animals in the United States lies
in the fundamental pitfalls of the American education system. Barker’s
Animal Law program should be the stepping stone for similar programs at an
undergraduate level. There is no justification for animal cruelty and
continued unethical practices. The University should embrace its chance to
become a leader in animal rights and should further establish instruction on
humane treatment at an undergraduate level.