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Fight for Beloved Swimming Spot Could have been Resolved with Mediation

It’s a sad irony that conflict often gets in the way of the very thing that’s being fought over. For decades, disputes have raged between residents of La Jolla and animal rights groups. The Children’s Pool beach in La Jolla, Southern California, was deeded to the city in 1931 as a safe swimming spot for children. In the 1990s, seals started to move into the area to birth and wean their young. Seals’ waste made the spot unsanitary for swimming and there were reports that people were harassing seals, causing mothers to abandon their pups. As a result, the city council voted to close the beach during pupping season from December to May. A residents group challenged this, and an Orange County Superior Court ruled that it was illegal for the city to restrict coastal access. The ruling would have reopened the beach during pupping season, but the city and animal rights groups appealed.

When human/animal conflict erupts in popular beauty spots or recreational areas, disputes can be protracted, and may even cost both parties’ their chosen use of the area. In mediation, decisions are made in the presence of all parties. Parties view themselves as stakeholders in the resolution, not just advocates for their own position. Boileau Conflict Solutions is home to the first animal rights clinic in the U.S. We are animal rights mediators with a long history of studying conflict resolution and designing effective methodologies to promote cooperative decision-making. We employ knowledge and techniques that we have developed from our research in game theory, psychoanalysis, communications theory, economics, and the law. We believe animals have legitimate life interests that can be represented fairly in a dispute. By considering animals as stakeholders, disputes can resolve more smoothly, with a true accounting of the human and animal costs to communities.

Unfortunately, when people feel threatened by animals or other humans, disputes can erupt in violence (as was the case during the decades’ long La Jolla dispute). That’s why we are available in all crisis situations — including situations that involve violence — 7 days a week, for free consultations. We believe animals and humans can achieve and benefit from peaceful coexistence. Please get in touch to see how we can help resolve your dispute and restore peaceful equilibrium in your local environment.

Read more about this story: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2017/may/16/la-jolla-childrens-pool-reopened-to-the-public/

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