Steven Tauber

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Steven Tauber is currently a professor of Political Science in the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida. He received a grant for “The Global Animal Advocacy Movement’s (GAAM) Influence on International Animal Law Outcomes.” GAAM employs a variety of techniques common to progressive social movements, including direct action, lobbying, and litigation. This proposal concentrates on GAAM’s litigation activities, which is an understudied topic. Specifically, it aims to support a research assistant to help build a database of animal advocacy litigation in International Law and in nations’ high courts. Extant animal law catalogues are helpful, but this database will be groundbreaking because it will be more extensive and readily convertible into quantitative analysis. Steven writes:

I hypothesize that activists can protect animals by pursuing litigation in courts throughout the world; however, legal, political, economic, social, and cultural factors constrain their ability to effectuate meaningful outcomes for animals. Some of this research is qualitative, but testing this hypothesis also requires building a quantitative database of animal law cases decided in high courts across the globe and in international courts. This database will include variables on the outcome of the case; extent of animal protection involved; the presence of activist groups; and legal, political, social, economic, and cultural factors surrounding the case. In addition to using this database to statistically test my hypothesis, I will make it available to the public.

In September 2022, Steven let us know that his work was progressing. The grant allowed him to hire a research assistant, Erin Olds, whose main task was to “build a database of animal law cases decided in nations’ highest courts.” Starting with with a list of 195 independent nations, Steven and Erin “developed a process in which he located cases and sent them to her, who read the cases and wrote a summary of the facts, issues, and rulings. This information is now located in an MS Word file.” Then, Steven used Erin’s summaries to build an SPSS database, which “consists of the case name, its source, and the outcome. It also includes variables on whether an animal advocacy group participated in the case, whether anti-animal organizations participated in the case, and whether the government participated in the case (either for or against animal interests).” The database also contains “political, economic, and social variables for each relevant nation, and characteristics of the case, such as the type of animal involved and the legal issues at stake.” At the moment, the database includes 202 cases from 165 countries. The database will be made available when it is complete.

In addition to creating the database, Steven presented preliminary results at the Law & Society Association Annual Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. He told the attendees that “preliminary results demonstrated that animal advocacy participation does not significantly increase the chance of a ‘pro-animal’ outcome. Conversely, government participation against animals’ interests strongly increases the chance of an ‘anti-animal’ decision. The preliminary results contribute to scholarly analyses of social movement litigation, and they offer lessons for animal advocacy movement litigation. Of course, the main impact of this project will not be fully realized until I complete data collection.”