SOUTH AFRICA: The Legal Status of the Lizard

The most important legal decision for lizards in 200,000,000 years has been handed down by a South African court. In Johannesburg Isaac Alter, owner of a curio shop, was haled before a court because two of his native (Negro) employes had separated 30 live lizards from their valuable skins. Cruelty to animals is an offense under South African law. But the case raised a nice point of biolegalism: is a lizard an animal? Ruled Magistrate C. J. Humphreys: "An animal is a sentient being which takes food in a digestive cavity, has the power of voluntary motion, and a...

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