For information about the University’s phased return to campus and in-person activity in Winter and Semester 2, please refer to the on-campus subjects page.
Please refer to the LMS for up-to-date subject information, including assessment and participation requirements, for subjects being offered in 2020.
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This subject provides an introduction to the large and amorphous field of law referred to as 'animal law'. Students will survey areas of the law that affect non-human animals and their treatment by humans in particular. Beginning with some larger definitional and philosophical questions about animals, the subject then covers different contexts in which animals encounter the law: as victims of crimes, as human companions, as research subjects, as sources of entertainment, and as sources of food. The jurisdictional focus of the course is the U.S. and Australia with some attention to other jurisdictions and to international law. Issues at the intersection of animal law and religious practices, in the U.S. and Australia and abroad will also be discussed.
Principal topics include:
- Introduction to Animal Law: What are animals? Who are animals? Where are they? Are some species more worthy of protection than others? What are our obligations to them and why? How can we understand them as clients?
- Criminal law and animal protection
- Tort law and other civil liability and protection
- Animal welfare legislation and regulation relating to domestic animals, animals in entertainment and animal use in medical and scientific research and product testing
- Farmed animals and legal frameworks for animal welfare regulation
- Property law and the evolution of rights
- Contracts and custody disputes
- Wildlife and captive wildlife
- Animal rights: legal theory and practice: standing and personhood
- The development of animal law in other countries
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the extent to which the law adequately protects animals at present with reference to ethical and policy analyses of human and animal relationships
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of laws that relate to animals and human relationships with animals in Australia in comparison with the US and other countries
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the ethical assumptions and cultural norms driving the way the law currently governs relations between humans and animals
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as whether and how the law should grant rights to animals, reform to farmed animal welfare regulation and live export rules, and possibilities for law to encourage a transition out of animal use for food, scientific testing and other commercial purposes
Last updated: 9 July 2020