Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What is Animal Law?

Every time I use the phrase "animal law" around the uninitiated, I get cryptic stares followed by the question "what is animal law?" Although there's no way to give a simple and all encompassing answer to that question, this answer, courtesy of the Animal Legal Defense Fund's website and reproduced below, does a good job.

Animal law is a combination of statutory and case law in which the nature – legal, social or biological – of nonhuman animals is an important factor. Animal law encompasses companion animals, wildlife, animals used in entertainment and animals raised for food and used in research. Animal law permeates and affects most traditional areas of the law – including tort, contract, criminal and constitutional law. Examples of this intersection include:

* Animal custody disputes in divorce or separations.
* 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.

Currently, animal law is being taught at some of the most reputable and respected law schools in the country – including highly ranked schools such as Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Northwestern, University of Michigan and Duke.

No comments: