Animal Law is an emerging field of law which includes any and all legal matters relating to nonhuman animals. This includes companion animals like cats and dogs, wildlife, animals used in entertainment, animals raised for food, and animals used in research. Animal law encompasses a broad range of issues much like Environmental Law and crosses the boundaries of many of the traditional fields of law including tort, contract, criminal, and constitutional law. Examples include:
· Animal custody disputes in divorce or separation.
· Veterinary malpractice cases.
· Housing disputes involving “no pets” policies and discrimination laws.
· Damages cases involving the wrongful death or injury to a companion animal.
· Enforceable trusts for companion animals being adopted by states across the country.
· Criminal law encompassing domestic violence and anti-cruelty laws.
Increasingly Law Schools are teaching courses or holding seminars on Animal Law, including Penn Law, which currently holds a seminar course entitled Animal Law and Ethics. If you’re interested in learning more about Animal Law there are many resources available to you.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund
– this is a comprehensive website which includes information about their organization, programs, cases & campaigns, and further resources about Animal Law.
Animal Law Coalition
– is a nonprofit which advocates for animals. It offers many resources on the topic of Animal Law including articles, information about pending bills and cases, and current animal law broken down by state.