LAWS3144/JURD7444 Animal Law

Lecturer: Tara Ward

What is this course about?
The course looks at the way humans think about and treat animals. It also looks at how the law treats animals – what status do they have under our law? What does that status mean for animals? Is that status changing? It examines the historical origins of the first animal protection laws, and looks at how well the law protects animals today. Specific regulatory frameworks governing animals are also examined, such as the laws and codes of practice relating to the use of animals for food, live export, research, entertainment, and companions. Finally, it looks at whether consumer law can lead to better animal welfare outcomes for the animals we use.

Why does this subject interest you?
This subject interests me because animals are everywhere in our lives, yet we don’t often think about the role the law plays in regulating our treatment of animals. It also interests me because animal law is still a relatively new area of law in Australia, and is pushing the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or status quo. Lawyers have a really important role to play in deciphering the legal framework that governs animals, and in engaging in creative ways of using the law to protect animals.

Do you have any advice to students who are interested in taking this course?
Students should be interested in animals, and prepared to think creatively about the law. Students should also be prepared to engage in questions about jurisprudence and ethics, and to have some preconceptions about humans and animals challenged.

What is the best aspect of the course?
One of the best aspects of the course is that it’s all about animals – from wildlife and pets, to farm animals and research animals. Another great aspect of the course are the guest lecturers, who range from historians and philosophers, to lawyers who actually practice animal law in Australia!