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The Influence of Animal Advocacy Groups in State Courts of Last Resort

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Since the 1970s, animal advocacy groups have attempted to improve the treatment of non-human animals by influencing public opinion and lobbying for legislation that protects animals. Empirical assessments of these efforts have reported mixed results. Animal advocacy groups also use litigation as a means of improving the treatment of nonhuman animals, but there has been limited empirical testing of the effectiveness of animal advocacy litigation. To fill this gap in the literature, this study examines the 188 animal law cases decided in state supreme courts from 1973 through 2005. It looks specifically at whether the participation of an animal advocacy organization increases the chance of a favorable decision, while controlling for legal and political influences on case outcomes. Logistic regression reveals that the presence of animal advocacy groups does not exert a statistically significant impact on case outcomes. Further analysis demonstrates, however, that animal advocacy groups are significantly more likely than nongroup litigators to pursue cases that are difficult to win.

Affiliations: 1: University of South Florida, Email:


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