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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.
Principal topics are likely to 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
- Companion animals
- Animals in entertainment
- 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 Australia, the US and 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: 3 August 2022