Something we thought you might be interested in. Interviews with the playwright, animal law experts/ attorneys and artwork are available.
Subject: Story Idea: Animals On Trial, In Court from Middle Ages to Today,
Subject of New Play and Panel at John Jay College
It's one of the most oddball chapters of our bizarre justice system which began in the Middle Ages, the practice of putting animals through elaborate courtroom trials for crimes ranging from petty theft to murder. Though we seldom notice it, the strange practice of animals in the court actually continues to this very day!
Some of the most curious chapters from 500+ years of animals in court are the subject of a new theater piece premiering November 29 during the "Art of Justice Festival" at New York's John Jay College, America's most renowned criminal justice college. We think it would make a great story, one sure to generate some memorable water cooler and social media buzz among your readers and co-workers! With b-roll video from this theater/multimedia piece and interviews with the award-winning playwright Susan Yankowitz and NYU animal rights law professor David Wolfson, you can learn:
* The tale of Scooby, the Great Dane who was called as a witness to indentify the culprit in a 1996 murder trial in ;
* The sad saga of the termite colony that was arrested, hauled into court and burned at the stake for the destruction of a monastery in 18thcentury and the bees that meet a similar end after being found guilty of the "stinging murder" of a woman in 16th century ;
* Video of the arrest of a talking parrot that was accused of acting as "look-out" for a Colombian drug cartel in 2010;
* The 2009 arrest and trial of a goat for armed robbery in;
* The 1906 decision by a Tennessee judge to hang an elephant that killed its trainer and how it was echoed in February 2010 in calls for a trial for Tilikum, Sea World's "serial killing" orca;
* The strange humanity of animal justice Middle Ages-style --- how the cows, cats, dogs, bees, etc. hauled into courts were given defense attorneys, provided the same meals, clothes and jail accommodations as their human brethren, and the right to an appeal, if the judgment was death by hanging in the public square!;
* How legal precedents of early animal rights lawyers like 16th century Frenchman Bartholomew Chassenee led to today's animal rights movement.