Animal Rights in the Human Legal System

The struggle for human rights has gone on for ages,1 but the story of animal rights2 has only begun to be told.3 There are many facets to this emerging area of law, which mediates the tension between human needs and animal welfare.4 Its jurisprudence takes into account the various roles that society has assigned to animals, e.g., companion, servant or object, as well the implications of their participation or use in different sectors of modern life. Some of the key legal areas of confluence include: (1) animal rescue5; (2) protective legislation6; (3) law enforcement7 and forensics8; (4) elder care and end of life issues9; (5) abuse registries10; (6) environmental hazards11; (7) witness assistants12 and therapeutic and service roles13; and (8) development of advanced degrees and specialization in animal law.14

Our legal system must legislate and adjudicate for animals as well as human beings15 Thus, the evolution of animal rights might have a corollary impact on human rights.16 For example, a statute interdicting animal cruelty can rest on its own merits17 or on its implications for human behavior.18 Although animals have no vote in the human management of their affairs, their place in our laws is undeniable.

This article is a compilation of new and notable legal resources on animal rights and welfare.


  • Animal Law Caucus (AALL)
    “The AALL Animal Law Caucus was formed in 2010 to support the efforts of law librarians, academics and practitioners in the research, teaching, scholarship, and practice of animal law. Its purpose is to recognize and further the ongoing work of AALL members in this growing area of law. The Animal Law Caucus is a legal resource for non-human, animal related humane issues, which arise from and have an effect upon our legal system.”

  • Animal Protection Laws of the United States of America and Canada (ALDF)
    “Now more than 4,000 pages in length, the sixth edition of the compendium contains a detailed survey of the general animal protection and related statutes for all of the states, principal districts and territories of the United States of America, and for all of Canada; up-to-date versions of each jurisdiction’s laws; easy, clickable navigation; and fully searchable content.”

  • Animal Welfare Act: Background and Selected Legislation (CRS 2010)
    “In 1966, Congress passed the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (P.L. 89-54) to prevent pets from being stolen for sale to research laboratories, and to regulate the humane care and handling of dogs, cats, and other laboratory animals. The law was amended in 1970 (P.L. 91-579), changing the name to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Congress periodically has amended the act to strengthen enforcement, expand coverage to more animals and activities, or curtail practices viewed as cruel, among other things.”

  • Brief Summaries of Federal Animal Protection Statutes (CRS 2010)
    “This report contains brief summaries of federal animal protection statutes, listed alphabetically. It includes statutes enacted to implement certain treaties, but it does not include treaties. Additionally, this report includes statutes that concern animals but that are not necessarily animal protection statutes. For example, it discusses a statute authorizing the eradication of predators, because one of the statute’s purposes is to protect domestic and ‘game’ animals; and it includes statutes to conserve fish even though the ultimate purpose of such statutes may not be for the benefit of the fish. This report also includes statutes that allow the disabled to use service animals and statutes aimed at acts of animal rights advocates—i.e., the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, and the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act of 1994”

  • Model Animal Protection Laws Collection (ALDF)
    This is “the latest edition of the complete ALDF Model Animal Protection Laws Collection (PDF). Developed and edited by Director of Legislative Affairs, Stephan Otto, Esq.”

  • State Animal Cruelty Laws (ASPCA)
    “Laws relating to animals can vary widely from state to state. To enable you to find your state’s laws quickly and easily, the ASPCA has partnered with the Michigan State University College of Law’s Animal Legal & Historical Center to share its online database of animal-related laws, and their penalties, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This database is updated and expanded on a regular basis.”

  • U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings
    “Animal Legal Defense Fund Annual Study Ranks Laws Across the Country.” See Illinois Remains on Top, Mississippi Shows Most Improvement, ALDF Cases & Campaigns, Dec. 13, 2011. “A new in-depth survey of the animal protection laws of each state and territory in the U.S. confirms that there remain considerable differences in the strength and comprehensiveness of each jurisdiction’s laws. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) sixth annual report, 2011 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings – the longest-running and most authoritative report of its kind – is based on a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each jurisdiction, researching fourteen broad categories of provisions throughout more than 4,000 pages of statutes. Each jurisdiction received a numerical ranking based upon its combined score and was grouped into a top, middle or bottom tier. The ranking also highlights the best five and worst five states overall.”


  • Handbook of Organizations Focused on Animals (AZA 2009)
    “The landscape of organizations focusing on animals is constantly changing. Therefore, the content of this handbook should be viewed as dynamic information. This is a ‘living document,’ which will be updated periodically as the information changes and groups come and go. The Handbook resides on AZA’s website as an interactive document. The information about each organization listed in the Handbook was derived directly from their individual websites. The Handbook is most useful as an online tool because it contains hyperlinks to each organization’s website and numerous other sites related to animals.” See Organizations/Schools with Focus on Animal Law and Legislation at p. 66.

  • How to Investigate Animal Cruelty in New York State – A Manual of Procedures (NYS Humane Ass’n 1996)
    This “is a comprehensive document which includes chapters on how to be prepared ahead of time – before you actually receive a cruelty complaint, how to receive and investigate a complaint, examples covering many situations, all NYS laws pertinent to animals – annotated with explanations, case law relevant to animal cases, basic animal care standards, appendices containing forms to use in cruelty investigations, handouts on various animal care topics, and articles pertinent to various animal issues.”

  • Humane Treatment of Farm Animals: Overview and Issues (CRS 2010)
    “Animal protection activists in the United States have long sought legislation to modify or curtail some practices considered by U.S. agriculture to be acceptable or even necessary to animal health. Members of Congress over the years have offered various bills that would affect animal care on the farm, during transport, or at slaughter; several proposals have been introduced in the111th Congress. Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees generally have expressed a preference for voluntary rather than regulatory approaches to humane care. Meanwhile, animal activists have won initiatives in several states to impose some care requirements on animal producers.”

  • Prosecuting Animal Fighting and Live Animal Cruelty Depictions: Legal Issues Under New York & Federal Law (NYC Bar 2012)
    “This manual has been prepared by the Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals. It is designed primarily for use by persons and agencies with responsibilities regarding animal fighting and animal cruelty in New York. This manual provides general information only and is not intended to advocate or to provide specific legal advice.”


  • Confronting Barriers to the Courtroom for Animal Advocates: Animal Advocacy and Causes of Action, 13 Animal L. 87 (2006)
    “On April 14, 2006, the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund of New York University School of Law hosted a symposium on how to overcome some common courtroom barriers faced by animal advocates. Panelists discussed cultural and legal transitions, legal standing for nonhuman animals, and potential causes of action. Symposium participants included prominent attorneys, authors, philosophers, and professors specializing in the field of animal protection law. The following articles have been adapted from transcripts of the symposium.”

  • Future for All: A Blueprint for Strengthening the Endangered Species Act (Ctr for Biological Diversity 2011)
    “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service have announced an effort to develop new implementing regulations for the Endangered Species Act to ensure that these regulations are ‘up-to-date, clear, and effective.’ To date, the details of the changes under consideration have not been released. In an effort to help the Obama administration develop a proposal that truly strengthens implementation of the Endangered Species Act, the strongest and most effective law for protecting biodiversity passed by any nation, the Center for Biological Diversity has developed the following set of recommendations for key programs.”

  • PETA Lawsuit Seeks to Expand Animal Rights, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Oct. 25, 2011
    “A federal court is being asked to grant constitutional rights to five killer whales who perform at marine parks — an unprecedented and perhaps quixotic legal action that is nonetheless likely to stoke an ongoing, intense debate at America’s law schools over expansion of animal rights.”

  • Protection for the Powerless: Political Economy History Lessons for the Animal Welfare Movement, 5 Stan. J. Animal L. & Pol’y 1 (2011)
    “In the last several decades, animal agriculture has experienced a dramatic shift in production methods, from family farms to concentrated industrial operations, with societal consequences comparable to the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. The new confinement operations raise significant moral questions regarding the humane treatment of animals subject to modern methods that emphasize economics over animal welfare. The success of the animal welfare movement, however, hinges on whether society will adopt regulations, based on moral considerations, that are directly opposed to its economic self-interest. The situation is remarkably similar to the plight of child laborers caught in the transformation of manufacturing methods during the Industrial Revolution. This article uses the history of child labor reform to construct a model for how society enacts protections for politically powerless groups, such as children and animals. Using the insights of new social movement theory, the article concludes that animal welfare reform will require a complex mixture of resources, including the difficult task of norm development. While the path to such reform is long, the child labor history shows that success is possible.”


  • Animal Legal & Historical Center (Mich. St. U. Coll. L.)
    “On this site you will find a comprehensive repository of information about animal law, including: over 1000 full text cases (US, historical, and UK) over 1000 US statutes over 50 topics and comprehensive explanations legal articles on a variety of animal topics an international collection.”

  • Animal Legal Defense Fund
    “For more than three decades, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Founded in 1979 by attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life. Today, ALDF’s groundbreaking efforts to push the U.S. legal system to end the suffering of abused animals are supported by hundreds of dedicated attorneys and more than 100,000 members.”

  • Animal Protection Institute
    “Born Free USA is a national animal advocacy nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, contributions to which are tax-deductible. Our mission is to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife — including highly endangered species — in their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.”

  • Center for Animal Law (DePaul U. Coll. L.)
    “The Center for Animal Law focuses on teaching, research and analysis of state, national and international legislative and legal matters relating to the rights and welfare of animals, including animal cruelty, animal control, animals in entertainment and tort valuation of animals. Within the Center, the Dr. Florence Wissig Dunbar Program in Animal Law, created with the support of a law alumna, trains and supports law students and lawyers in the field of animal law, including sponsoring training and education of humane investigators, animal welfare advocates, and others working in the animal protection field.”

  • Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
    “The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization, backed by 11 million Americans. We work to reduce suffering and improve the lives of all animals by advocating for better laws; investigating animal cruelty; conducting campaigns to reform industries; providing animal rescue and emergency response; and caring for animals through our sanctuaries, emergency shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and clinics.”

  • International Institute for Animal Law (
    “ provides access to legislation and legal matters pertaining to the rights and welfare of animals. supports information concerning animal cruelty, animal control, laboratory animal welfare, the use of animals in education, product testing and in the laboratory, animal control issues, and general animal welfare. Presented by the International Institute for Animal Law, is intended to serve as a clearinghouse for animal-related legal information, from pending legislation through relevant case law digests. strives to present both objective and authoritative commentary, as well as guidance for individuals who wish to become advocates for animal issues. utilizes information contained on state and federal websites to link directly to official public access sources for law and legislation.”

  • National Center for Animal Law (Lewis & Clark L. Sch.)
    “The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS), in collaboration with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, is an animal law think tank and the umbrella organization of the nation’s premier animal law program. We work to ensure the interests of animals are considered in the legal realm and provide the best education to the next generation of animal law attorneys.”

  • Nonhuman Rights Project
    “The Nonhuman Rights Project is unlike any other organization in the world. Why? Because we’re the only group fighting for actual LEGAL rights for members of species other than our own. The way our law currently categorizes animals is wrong; it’s time for that to change. The NHRP was created in 2007 by attorney Steven M. Wise. Today this groundbreaking group is made up of dozens of smart, committed, and hard workers from many backgrounds. All have come together for one purpose: to break through the legal wall that separates humans from nonhumans, thereby gaining legal ‘personhood’ for nonhuman animals, beginning with some of the most intelligent animals on earth, like chimpanzees, elephants and dolphins.”

  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
    “PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other ‘pests’ as well as cruelty to domesticated animals. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.”


  • Admissibility of Opinion Evidence of Lay Witnesses as to Diseases and Physical Condition of Animals, 49 A.L.R.2d 932
    “It is the purpose of this annotation to present the cases which have considered the admissibility of opinion evidence of witnesses other than those who are members of a profession or holders of special and official positions having to do with animal diseases, husbandry, care, and treatment. Such witnesses may or may not have qualifications in those fields which make their opinions of more value to a finder of fact than those of mere observers.”

  • Applicability of State Animal Cruelty Statute to Medical or Scientific Experimentation Employing Animals, 42 A.L.R.4th 860
    “This annotation collects and analyzes the cases in which the courts have considered or determined the applicability of a state animal cruelty statute to medical or scientific experiments using live animals as subjects.”

  • Construction and Application of Ordinances Relating to Unrestrained Dogs, Cats, or Other Domesticated Animals, 1 A.L.R.4th 994
    “This annotation collects and analyzes those state and federal cases dealing with prosecutions for offenses under municipal ordinances relating to unrestrained dogs, cats, or other domesticated animals in which the courts have construed and applied such ordinances.”

  • Construction of Provisions of Statute or Ordinance Governing Occasion, Time, or Manner of Summary Destruction of Domestic Animals by Public Authorities, 42 A.L.R.4th 839
    “This annotation collects and analyzes those cases, both state and federal, in which the courts construed provisions of statutes or ordinances governing the occasion, time, or manner of summary destruction of domestic animals by public authorities.”

  • Designation of “Critical Habitat” Under Endangered Species Act, 176 A.L.R. Fed. 405
    “In 1973, Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C.A. SS 1531–1544, to provide a program for the conservation of endangered and threatened species, and for the preservation of their ecosystems. Accordingly, ESA: (1) mandated a listing procedure for threatened and endangered species; (2) prohibited actions—both in the public and private sector—that resulted in a “taking” of a listed species; (3) established procedures for land acquisition; and (4) provided for federal cooperation with the states and interagency consultation. During the congressional debate on ESA, the importance of habitat for species survival was emphasized. After the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 98 S. Ct. 2279, 57 L. Ed. 2d 117, 11 Env’t. Rep. Cas. (BNA) 1705, 8 Envtl. L. Rep. 20513 (1978), tested ESA’s critical habitat provision in 1978, Congress quickly amended ESA to define critical habitat as a specific geographical area occupied by a species, and to provide the Secretary of the Interior with criteria for determining critical habitat, in which economic considerations played a role. In Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434, 31 Envtl. L. Rep. 20504, 176 A.L.R. Fed. 733 (5th Cir. 2001), the court concluded that the agencies’ decision that it would not be prudent to designate a critical habitat for the threatened Gulf sturgeon was arbitrary and capricious where made in reliance on an invalid regulation. Sierra Club and other decisions that have addressed the designation of a critical habitat under ESA are collected in the following annotation.”

  • Propriety, Measure, and Elements of Restitution to Which Victim is Entitled Under State Criminal Statute—Cruelty to, Killing, or Abandonment of, Animals, 45 A.L.R.6th 435
    “In certain jurisdictions, animal abuse laws contain provisions authorizing awards of restitution to organizations or persons providing care and treatment to abused or abandoned animals. For example, in Com. v. Lee, 2008 PA Super 56, 947 A.2d 199, 45 A.L.R.6th 817 (2008), the court held that the trial court had statutory authority to require the defendant, convicted of cruelty to animals, to pay restitution to the shelter that had provided medical care to the defendant’s dog, as the section of the crimes code governing cruelty to animals permitted the authority imposing sentence upon conviction to require that the owner pay the cost of keeping, care and destruction of the animal. Other jurisdictions hold that a humane society is not a victim as defined under a general restitution statute and therefore is not entitled to restitution for the boarding and care of mistreated animals. This annotation collects and discusses all of the cases which have considered restitution under various state statutes due to animal cruelty or animal abandonment, as well as killing an animal, including the authority of the court to award restitution under a particular or general statute, restitution for particular costs and expenses, elements factored in the determination of the restitution award, and the reasonableness of the award.”

  • Recovery of Damages for Emotional Distress Due to Treatment of Pets and Animals, 91 A.L.R.5th 545
    “Many people are extremely close to their pets, so much so that injury to, or the death of, their pet, will be a traumatic experience for them. Emotional distress will certainly result where the owner sees or even hears about reckless or negligent behavior causing injury to or the death of a beloved animal friend. Nevertheless, the courts have reached opposite conclusions as to whether such injuries should be compensable, and if so, under what circumstances. For example, in Burgess v. Taylor, 44 S.W.3d 806, 91 A.L.R.5th 749 (Ky. Ct. App. 2001), the court ruled that a finding of intentional infliction of emotional distress or punitive damages is not precluded simply because the facts giving rise to the claim involve an animal. The court then held that the conduct of the boarders of horses who sold pet horses owned by another for slaughter was reckless, which thus supported the owner’s claim for the tort of outrage or the intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, other courts have reached a variety of conclusions, both in general and under the specific circumstances, as the following annotation illustrates.”

  • Validity, Construction, and Application of Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C.A. SS 2131 et seq.), 36 A.L.R. Fed. 627
    “This annotation collects and analyzes the decisions of the federal courts which have construed, applied, or determined the validity of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C.A. SS 2131 et seq.), enacted by Congress in 1970, as amended by the Animal Welfare Act Amendments of 1976 (P. L. 94-279, 90 Stat. 417, April 22, 1976). Included in the annotation are cases decided under the predecessor statute known as the Federal Laboratory Animals Welfare Act, which was enacted in 1966.”

  • Validity, Construction, and Application of Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.A. SS 1531-1543), 32 A.L.R. Fed. 332
    “This annotation collects and analyzes cases construing, applying, or considering the validity of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.A. SS 1531 et seq.)and its predecessor statutes, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C.A. SS 668aa et seq.)and the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 (16 U.S.C.A. SS 668aa et seq.). Cases decided under the predecessor statutes are included because they are helpful in interpreting the 1973 Act, under which there has as yet been little litigation; all three statutes were designed to preserve various species threatened with extinction, and the 1973 Act is largely an expansion of the practical means available to implement the purposes which were embodied in the 1966 and 1969 Acts.”

  • Veterinarian’s Liability for Malpractice, 71 A.L.R.4th 811
    “This annotation collects and discusses the cases in which the courts have considered whether, and under what circumstances, a veterinarian, veterinary surgeon, veterinary clinic, or veterinary hospital is liable for malpractice.”

  • What Constitutes Offense of Cruelty to Animals—Modern Cases, 6 A.L.R.5th 733
    “Prosecutions for the offense of cruelty to animals have been instituted for shooting, burning, or beating an animal, failure to provide necessary care to an animal, and for acts relating to organized fights between animals. Whether a conviction results may turn on a variety of factors—evidence presented by the prosecution that the alleged act occurred; evidence presented by the defendant that the alleged act was a necessary act of discipline or was in protection of a person or of property; and the court’s ruling on the statutory wording as to the degree of intent with which the defendant must have acted. In the recent case of Regalado v United States (1990, Dist Col App) 572 A2d 416, 6 ALR5th 1178, a prosecution for beating a puppy, the court held that the evidence supported an inference of discipline crossing over the line to cruelty and held that the statute under which the plaintiff was charged did not require proof of specific intent to injure or abuse an animal but required only proof of general intent with malice. This annotation collects and analyzes the cases decided in or after 1950 that discuss what constitutes the offense of cruelty to animals.”



  • Animal Law (ABAJ Law News Now)
    This site posts synopses about news and legal developments related to animal law from current news and legal publishing sources.

  • Animal Law Blog
    “This site features one practitioner’s observations and analysis of animal law news, litigation in her state of Illinois and around the country, criminal cases as time permits, as well as links to legislation and other animal law resources.” Includes extensive list of blogs, legislative tracking, bar association committees and other current awareness links.

  • Animal Law Blogs (ABA Blawg Directory)
    This is a collection of annotated blogs and online news services related to animal rights and welfare.

  • Animals (
    “ is an online advocacy platform that empowers anyone, anywhere to start, join, and win campaigns for social change. Millions of people sign petitions on each month on thousands of issues, winning campaigns every day to advance change locally and globally.”

  • Companion Animal Blog
    “As animal law continues to develop, more and more laws are geared towards companion animals. This includes everything from pet trust and dangerous dog statutes to zoning and land use laws for the expanding businesses of high class boarding kennels and doggie daycares. The goal of this blog is to serve as a place for everyone who lives, works and plays with pets to come together to discuss how the law can better our relationships with animals, and with each other.”

  • Top 45 Animal Advocacy Blogs (Veterinarian Colleges)
    “Advocacy for animal rights has been in existence for a while, but with the growth of the internet, activism has sky rocketed immensely. While many people are unaware of the animal cruelties present in today’s society, bloggers have used the internet as an outlet to create awareness. Charles Darwin once said, ‘The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man,’ and many of these top 45 bloggers would agree. These 45 blogs are well versed in this realm, and most of all, are passionate about animal advocacy. Animal advocates believe that animals have their own rights, just as humans do, and these top 45 blogs have set out to create awareness, reform, and change.”

1 See generally Steven M. Wise, Legal Personhood and the Nonhuman Rights Project, 717 Animal L. 1, 1-2 (2010)(“The defining moment for the eighteenth century slave James Somerset was when he became legally visible. He was a legal thing when he landed in England in 1769, having been captured as a boy in Africa, then sold to a merchant in Virginia, Charles Steuart, for whom he slaved for two decades. As a legal thing, James Somerset existed in law for the sake of Charles Steuart, for legal things, living and inanimate, exist in law solely for the sakes of legal persons. They are invisible to civil judges in their own rights. Only legal persons count in courtrooms, or can be legally seen, for only they exist in law for their own benefits. Legal personhood is the capacity to possess at least one legal right; accordingly, one who possesses at least one legal right is a legal person. James Somerset’s legal transubstantiation from thing to person at the hands of Lord Mansfield in 1772 marked the beginning of the end of human slavery. Persuading an American state high court to similarly transform a nonhuman animal is a primary objective of the Nonhuman Rights Project.”).

2 The resources appearing in this article fall under the rubric of animal law

See Animal Law Program (ALDF)(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.”). Michael Schau, Animal Law Research Guide, 2 Barry L. Rev. 147, 148 (2001)(describing difference between animal rights, concern the limits of using animals and their inherent rights as sentient beings, and animal welfare, focusing on the treatment and care of animals).

3 2 Barry L. Rev. at 147 (“The body of law governing our use of and relationship to animals is one of the fastest growing areas of legal studies. Despite the existence of federal statutes concerning animals, animal law did not gain significant notice in legal education programs until the 1980’s. Today the subject is taught in several law schools, and leading animal law experts have published a casebook. Animals affect many areas of American life, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. Animals participate in many aspects of human life, including our entertainment, gaming, hunting, fishing, medical research, farming and companionship. Law regulates much of this participation; for example, migratory bird statutes and local gaming laws probably cover the wild birds we see in our backyard. Animal law is a combination of statutory and decisional law in which the legal, social or biological issues concerning animals are an important factor.”)

See generally Animal Law Issue, N.J. Law. Mag., Aug. 2005.

4 See Kathy Rudy, A Change of Heart, Chron. Higher Ed.., Nov. 27, 2011 (discussing the complex views of animal rights advocacy and the need for recognizing the affects of humanity in the interconnectedness between humans and animals).

5 See, e.g., Shapiro v. City of Glen Cove, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43276 (E.D.N.Y. May 5, 2005)(“Shapiro has suggested no ‘reasonable legal alternative’ to the de minimis trespass committed by Horvath, and the court finds none. She believed that an animal might be in need of immediate help, and looked in the building to see if that was the case. She did not exacerbate the trespass by entering the building, but immediately turned to the reasonable legal alternative of calling the Animal League and the police. Under these circumstances, the court finds that the trespass was justified as a matter of law.”).

6 See, e.g., Bill Expands Animal Cruelty Offenses, LaCrosse Tribune, Oct. 30, 2011 (“A Republican legislator has introduced a bill that would allow prosecutors to charge anyone who causes great bodily harm to an animal with a felony. Under current Wisconsin law, anyone who mutilates, disfigures or kills an animal in a cruel manner is guilty of a Class I felony punishable by up to three-and-a-half years in prison and $10,000 in fines.”); Calif Animal Welfare Laws Evolve, Face Challenge, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov. 13, 2011 (“[T]he California legislature has passed or altered 30 laws to improve the lives of animals — from sharks to dairy cattle, even animals hunted for sport. And it has banned the butchering of downer livestock — animals too sick or too weak to walk — a measure the justices seem inclined to overturn.”)

But see Denise Lavoie, Animal Rights Activists Challenge 2006 Federal Law, Salon, Dec. 15, 2011 (“Five activists represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights filed the lawsuit in federal court in Boston, asking that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act be struck down as unconstitutional because it has a chilling effect on lawful protest activities.”).

7 See, e.g., John Caher, Novel Settlement Expected to Benefit County, SPCA , N.Y.L.J., Oct. 31, 2011 (“An upstate SPCA has apparently worked out a unique settlement in which an animal-loving attorney who showed up on the doorstep of the county jail with 25 cats becomes a ticket-writing special deputy sheriff, and the SPCA collects half the ticket revenue.”); Debra Cassens Weiss, Yes, the Government Is Forcibly Implanting Microchips; 6th Circuit Allows ‘Dog-gonest’ Suit, ABA Journal Law News Now, Nov. 8, 2011.

8 See Animal CSI (ASPCA Animal Lessons)(includes list of resources); Kristen Gelineau, Use of Animal Forensics on the Rise, USA Today, May 28, 2007.

9 See John Kass, Boomers Plan on Long-Term Care — for Pets, Chi. Trib., Dec. 19, 2002 (“New York veterinarian Robert Reisman is involved in animal abuse cases, and works closely with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When does keeping an aging pet alive become cruelty to animals? ‘If you’re saying it’s abusive for an animal to live in that state, to some extent you have to think it’s abusive for a person to have to live in that state,’ he said. ‘I mean, there’s a national debate about that.’ It was stunning because he wasn’t being flip. The vet sincerely, calmly expressed his belief, equating the life of an animal to the life of a human being. I’m sure he’s not alone.”); Debra Cassens Weiss, NY Animal Lovers Can Once Again Be Buried with Pets, Thanks to Lawyer’s Effort, ABAJ Law News Now, Dec. 20, 2011.

10 See Steve Yoder, Tracking Animal Abuse (and Abusers) on the Web, Crime Rep., Jan. 16, 2011 (“The growth of on-line public registries and tracking sites of animal abusers could reduce the number of crime victims—both human and animal—say activists. But researchers who examine sex-offender and other similar criminal registries aren’t so sure. Shon Rahrig once left a cat with a broken jaw and several broken bones. But thanks to a website called, he will find it hard to get away with abusing an animal elsewhere in the U.S. ever again.”)

See, e.g., Samantha Brix, Suffolk Approves Animal Abuse Registry Bill, Riverhead News-Review, Oct. 12, 2010 (“The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved a bill Tuesday to create a law establishing a county registry for animal abuse offenders, the first of its kind in the nation. The new law allows the county to create a public registry of convicted animal abusers, in which the names, aliases, addresses and photographs of animal abusers would compiled in a searchable database, much like the state’s sex offender registry. The convicted abusers would pay a $50 annual fee for upkeep of the registry, and those who fail to register would be charged $1,000 or face jail time.”).

11 See, e.g., Nuclear Accidents and the Impact on Animals (IFAW 2011); Jenny Marder, What’s the Fallout for Dogs Near Fukushima?, PBS Newshour, Nov. 10, 2011.

12 See Courthouse Dogs; Marianne Dellinger, Using Dogs for Emotional Support of Testifying Victims of Crime, 15 Animal L. 171 (2009).

13 See Animal-Assisted Therapy (Wikipedia).

14 See, e.g., World’s First Advanced Degree in Animal Law (Lewis & Clark Law School).

15 See, e.g., DOJ Challenges Ruling That Restricted FDA Enforcement Authority, Blog of Legal Times, Nov. 11, 2011(“The U.S. Justice Department’s consumer protection branch will ask a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling in Florida that restricted the enforcement power of food and drug regulators to punish pharmacies that compound animal medication. The department’s legal team filed a notice of appeal Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, where a judge in September rejected the government’s effort to shut down Franck’s Lab, Inc. over allegations the pharmacy was skirting food and drug laws in manufacturing new animal drugs.”).

16 See Stephen A. Plass, Exploring Animal Rights as an Imperative for Human Welfare, 112 W. Va. L. Rev. 403 (2010).

17 See Bueckner v. Hamel, 886 S.W.2d 368, 377-378 (Tex. App. Houston 1st Dist. 1994) (Andell, J., concurring) (“Scientific research has provided a wealth of understanding to us that we cannot rightly ignore. We now know that mammals share with us a great many emotive and cognitive characteristics, and that the higher primates are very similar to humans neurologically and genetically. It is not simplistic, ill-informed sentiment that has led our society to observe with compassion the occasionally televised plights of stranded whales and dolphins. It is, on the contrary, a recognition of a kinship that reaches across species boundaries. The law must be informed by evolving knowledge and attitudes. Otherwise, it risks becoming irrelevant as a means of resolving conflicts. Society has long since moved beyond the untenable Cartesian view that animals are unfeeling automatons and, hence, mere property. The law should reflect society’s recognition that animals are sentient and emotive beings that are capable of providing companionship to the humans with whom they live.” (footnotes omitted)).

18 See, e.g., Frank R. Ascione, Animal Abuse and Youth Violence (2001); The Animal Abuse-Human Violence Connection (PAWS).

Posted in: Ethics, Legal Ethics, Legal Research