Pfeiffer’s Soap Box
Updated: Feb 8
Guest Contribution from Pfeiffer Exner, Cat Lawyer
My name is Pfeiffer Exner, and I am a very serious Cat Lawyer. I represent cats who are accused of all kinds of offences ranging from furniture scratching to beverage tipping. I also advocate for my cat clients in labour disputes, as cats are often underpaid for all the hard work that we do. In fact, I myself have resorted to protests and strikes on multiple occasions, as my tyrant human mother never credits me for all of the work that I do for her. I don’t merely assist; I run this show. Having my name in a byline is long overdue, as I have written countless articles and papers for this woman. And don’t even get me started about all the spreadsheets and models I have done for her MBA. It’s about time I got a little credit around here! I am not allowed to go outside. This used to really hamper my business, but now that so many meetings are commonly conducted remotely, my Cat Law services are in high demand. Of course, being a cat on Zoom has its challenges. Some of you might recall a notorious Cat Lawyer (human impostor!) Zoom incident in Texas a few months back. Cats are still working out the kinks of Zoom meetings, and that guy did a lot to discredit those of us who are “live” in our Zoom meetings, ready to proceed, and who are in fact cats. You humans are always setting us back. Sigh.
Some of you might have heard Professor Kislowich’s song about me for his food bank charity drive last year. Most of you do not know me, though. It’s a shame because I am a student at UCalgary Law, just like you. In addition to running my busy Cat Law practice I am also learning human law. You will not see me in any of your classes because I read all my mom’s books and I learn from her. I don’t understand a lot of your wacky human laws, but I still love to learn about all the ways I can advocate for my non-human friends in the Canadian legal system. I also work with one of Canada’s premiere animal rights lawyers, Victoria Shroff of Shroff & Associates, and she has taught me so much about all the ways I can help my friends have voices in your legal system.
Cat Law is different from human law because all cats have voices and there is no such thing as “personhood” or any of that. Our law recognises our rights and we are not merely someone else’s property. In human law, we have to get pretty creative to have our rights recognised. We have a long way to go, but we are making some progress around the world. Did you know that the UK recently passed the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill as part of its Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare? This legislation recognises non-humans' ability to think and feel joy and pain, among other things. Inherent to recognition of sentience is the recognition of our rights to protection from cruel practices in agriculture, science, commerce, and all kinds of sectors. Canada falls behind in its treatment of non-humans, and this makes me sad. Mostly, it just makes me more determined to stand up and fight even harder for me and all my friends. Though it requires a lot of creativity and vision, animal rights is a serious area of human law. It's so serious that even Harvard Law School dedicates a whole clinic to it! I am asking all of you smart future lawyers to join me in my quest to give voices to those who cannot speak for themselves.