Last month, the Rhode Island Senate voted to create a role for advocates with the authority to represent animals’ best interests in court, as I wrote in “Rhode Island May Provide Advocates for Animals in Court Cases.”
This month, the General Assembly also approved the bill and submitted it to Government Lincoln Chafee for his signature.
Right now, with exceedingly few exceptions, animals’ interests are not represented in courts across the country. Under the proposed Rhode Island legislation, animals would have representatives like the guardians ad litem whose role is to stand up for children’s welfare when it is at stake in a court case.
It is a very hopeful sign for non-human animals that both houses of a state legislature recognized that they have interests deserving of protection, and that their welfare matters.
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