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Animal Law - JURD7444
 Blooming Flowers

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001 and LAWS1011; Corequisite: LAWS2311.
Excluded: LAWS3014, LAWS3130, LAWS3143, LAWS3144
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Animal law can be defined as the statutory and case law in which the nature - legal, social or biological - of nonhuman animals is an important factor. Law plays a substantial role in the ways in which our society relates to animals. As our society increasingly accepts that the protection of animals from cruelty and other forms of mistreatment is important, the study of legal matters relating to animals is important.

This course looks at the ethics and jurisprudence on the way humans think of and treat animals, the history and present status of animals as property, the law and science underpinning our approach to animal welfare, standing to represent the interest of animals, and the laws and codes of practice relating to the use of animals for food, research and entertainment.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

A candidate who has successfully completed this course should be able to:
  • analyse the major theoretical approaches to the protection of nonhuman animals;
  • identify the theoretical assumptions underpinning animal welfare legislation in NSW;
  • explain the differential operation of the law with respect to different kinds of animals; and
  • evaluate the role of law in protecting the interests of animals.

Main Topics

  • The legal classification of animals as property and the implications of treating them as property
  • The ethics of human treatment of animals
  • Anti-cruelty legislation
  • The history and profile of animal politics
  • The regulation of the use of animals for food
  • Ethical guidelines and laws relating to the use of animals for research
  • Animals in the wild
  • Companion animal laws
  • Animal welfare and environmental ethics; and
  • The role and regulation of veterinarians.


10% Class participation

30% Take-home exam

60% Research paper, 3500 word

Course Texts


  • Animal Law in Australasia (2009), edited by Peter Sankoff and Steven White
  • Course materials
  • Brooman S and Legge D, Law relating to animals, Cavendish Publishing, London, UK, 1997
  • Caulfield M, Handbook of Australian Animal Cruelty Law (2008)
  • Favre, D, Animal Law: Welfare, Interests and Rights, Wolters Kluwer, 2008
  • Francione G, Animals, property and the law, Temple University Press, US, 1995
  • Radford M, Animal welfare Law in Britain - Regulation and Responsibility, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2001
  • Regan T and Singer P (eds), Animal Rights and Human Obligations, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA, 1989
  • Singer P, Animal Liberation, 2nd edn, Pimlico, London, UK. 1995
  • Sunstein CR and Nussbaum MC (eds), Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions, Oxford University Press, New York, 2004
  • Waisman S, Wagman B and Frasch P, Animal Law, 2nd ed, Durham, North Carolina, USA, 2002
  • The Australian Animal Protection Law Journal


Refer to the course outline which will be provided by the lecturer at the beginning of the relevant semester.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.