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Horse’s case raises an important question: What would happen if animals could sue us?

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit against Justice's former 'owner' asking for at least $100,000 for veterinary costs as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering.

JOYEETA BISWAS: ‘It’s hard not to root for Justice the horse. When rescuers found him in March 2017, the 7-year-old then called Shadow, had been left out with little food all through the bitterly cold Oregon winter and had suffered so much neglect that he was 300 pounds underweight, barely able to walk, with skin scabbed over from lice and infection, according to court documents part of a lawsuit against the former owner. Additionally, his genitals were red, swollen and oozing. When a doctor examined his genitals, they were found to be permanently damaged by frostbite.

A year later, Justice is suing his former owner for neglect. An organization called the Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit against the former owner, Gwendolyn Vercher, in Justice’s name at the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the County of Washington, asking for at least $100,000 for veterinary costs as well as “non-economic damages for pain and suffering.” The money will be placed in a trust that will be used to look after Justice no matter who takes charge of him.

But behind what appears to be just an eye-catching headline and a poignant story may lie a set of far more consequential questions, the answers to which could upend human society and its relationship to animals… “If successful, this would be the first case to establish that animals have a right to sue their abusers,” Matthew Liebman, director of litigation of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, told ABC News. “And if that becomes precedent it would create the opportunity for animals to seek justice when their rights are violated.”

“We’re not seeking to establish federal constitutional rights for animals,” he said. “We’re not saying they should have the right to copyrights. All we’re saying is that where the legislature has already created rules for how animals ought to be treated when those rights are violated, animals ought to have the ability to go to court and collect money that goes into a trust to take care of them”.’ SOURCE…

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