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PROFESSOR HENRY MARK HOLZER

A half-century ago, at Society for Animal Right’s annual meeting in 1972, Professor Holzer first articulated his vision of using the law—Animal Law!— as a tool on behalf of Animal Rights.  His speech, entitled “Lobbying in the Courts,” explained how rights-oriented groups such as the NAACP, ACLU, National Consumer League, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others, had successfully used the American legal system as a tool to foster their political, religious, cultural, and economic agendas. Professor Holzer emphasized that, for better or worse, “if five members of the Supreme Court of the United States can be convinced that a given thing should or should not be done, opposition of even the House of Representatives, United States Senate, and President of the United States could be overcome. One can ‘lobby’ successfully in federal and state courts simply by convincing only a few judges,” Professor Holzer argued.

After Professor Holzer’s speech, during the infancy of the Animal Law movement Harvard University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs sponsored an in-depth study of the emerging animal protection movement. The study examined the movement’s tactics, strategies, and long-term goals. Harvard recognized that there was a conceptual dichotomy in the movement by observing in its Report that “philosophically, animal protection organizations can be classified as abolitionists or regulationists [welfareists]. The abolitionists, such as International Society for Animal Rights . . . constitute a minority within a movement. They are, however, also the most diligent, tactical, and clear thinking. They use the law, publications and education to work for their ultimate goals.” (Italics added.)

 

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