~Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928
Animal law is the body of law involving human interaction with non-human animals, a relationship that goes back to prehistoric times. As companions, commodities, edibles, assistants, performers, sacrifices, and experimental media, animals were historically considered property, and as such, human indifference and greed often resulted in cruel fates for those animals.
Happily, times and sensibilities are changing. "The rise of animal protection laws in the United States over the last several decades is mainly a response by legislators to the heightened concerns of Americans about animal welfare, especially that of their pet dogs and cats. People also became worried about the treatment of animals used in laboratories...and highly social and intelligent wild species..." --Jordan Curnutt, Animals and the Law (2001)
"Animal law can touch on all aspects of civil and criminal law. However, it is more than that; there is usually a passion for the well-being of animals that drives human interests. For many, this passion ripens into a belief that animals deserve more respect than is reflected in the present legal system. The law currently does not fulfill what many of us believe is an obligation to the animals sharing our lives and our world." -- David Favre, Michigan Bar Journal (2013)
Here is your hands-down best starting place for information on animal law! Federal and state laws with summaries and direct links, cases, local ordinances, pending bills & legislation organized by jurisdiction and by animal species. Animal law by topic or location worldwide, maps & comparative tables of state laws, news, new cases and topics, and a FAQ section all contribute to making this site both comprehensive and extremely useful.
"The question is not 'Can they reason?' nor 'Can they talk?' but, 'Can they suffer?' "
Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789)
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