Did you know that lawsuits have been filed against some animals throughout history, but the animal side actually won one of them?
There have been cases in the legal world where animals were tried and punished in various courts. The elephant is tried and then executed. The pig is tried and executed. The rooster is tried and executed. The rooster’s fault is laying eggs. There is a rooster associated with witchcraft and executed.
But there is an animal that wins one of the cases. The rats won the case filed against them. In 1522 in Autun, France, rats were accused of eating and destroying barley crops. While the prosecution prepares a case against the rodent gang, a lawyer has been appointed to defend the rats. barthelemy de chasseneuz.
This lawyer skillfully defended the rats. On the first day of the trial, the lawyer stated that he could not understand which mice they meant because the prosecutor’s office accused “some mice”. The judge reluctantly postpones the case, and the prosecutor prepares the indictment to appeal to all of Autun’s rats. At the second hearing, the lawyer claims that it was difficult for his clients to come to court because they were widely dispersed. The case is postponed to a later date. On the third day of the hearing, they see that the defendants still haven’t arrived. The lawyer demands that the mice come to the court safely in the face of the danger posed by “spiteful villagers and bloodthirsty cats”. He insists that his clients need a safe passage area.
The patience of both the judge and the opposing party is about to run out. With this last argument, it becomes clear that this case will be a difficult one. The court cannot decide on a fourth trial date and gives the verdict: the rats have won.
Probably if the accused rats had come to court they would have won again. No one could say no to a defense like this:
“We ate the barley because we needed to eat something like other living things. The real problem is why did people leave the barley outside and wait for us to eat it? You were not going to share the harvested barley with us. You took the land, but you did not produce anything for us to eat.”
source: the criminal prosecution and death punishment of animals book (the criminal prosecution and death punishment of animals) 1906 / author: e.p.evans