Animal Law Fundamentals is a documentary-style series of video presentations and scholarly papers on the fundamentals of animal law by some of North America’s notable animal law scholars. These videos and scholarly papers will continue to roll out over the next six months. The goal of this series is to make the fundamentals of animal law readily accessible to the public from premier subject matter experts.

Current Series

Animals as Property, Quasi-Property or Quasi-Person

Animals as Property, Quasi-Property or Quasi-Person

Angela Fernandez
Professor of Law
,
University of Toronto

It is often said that there are only two available legal categories for nonhuman animals, property or person. Faced with this stark choice, judges, legislators, and members of the public will likely place them in the property category. This presentation proposes an in between quasi-hood status – quasi-property/quasi-personhood – that can be used to downplay the property-like qualities of nonhuman animals and augment their personhood-like ones. This status can be used for a large number of nonhuman animals, both as individuals and at a species level, as a kind of sliding scale, as human understanding and views of nonhuman animals and what we owe them change over time.

Cutting Edge Issues in 21st Century Animal Food Product Labeling

Cutting Edge Issues in 21st Century Animal Food Product Labeling

George Kimbrell
Legal Director
,
Center for Food Safety
Adjunct Professor
,
Lewis and Clark Law School, Food and Agriculture Law

The U.S. system of food labeling, including and particularly animal food labeling, can best be described as byzantine and diffuse, difficult for an expert to understand and navigate, let alone the public. This presentation first provides a guide through the dizzying maze of animal food labeling, including its history, types, problems, and levels. At the same time the presentation explores the underlying legal drivers of our labeling system to address the core questions of why we label, what we label, and how we label. The second half of the presentation then explores several 21st century “ripped from the headlines” labeling controversies to further explain these principles. The presentation concludes by underscoring the role of labeling as a social construct and in the future growth of animal law.

Laboratory Animal Law in the United States: Past, Present and Future

Laboratory Animal Law in the United States: Past, Present and Future

Paul Locke
Associate Professor
,
John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Laboratory animal law in the United States is non-traditional, interdisciplinary, occasionally counterintuitive – and controversial. This presentation examines the federal laws, regulations, policies and practice of laboratory animal law, describes how these pieces knit together as a system, explores short-comings and most importantly, looks to the future. Right now, laboratory animal law is a system that was put into place to solve a mid-20th century problem. To best serve the public’s needs, to realize the full potential of biomedical research and science, and to better protect the health of human and non-human animals, laboratory animal law must evolve and lawyers must ignite and manage that change. A necessary first step is to drive the transition away from animal models to emerging technologies such as organs-on-a-chip, computational toxicology and other techniques that do not use non-human animals.  

The accompanying paper will be released Early 2023.

Wildlife: Related Acts and State Management Issues

Wildlife: Related Acts and State Management Issues

Eric Glitzenstein
Director of Litigation
,
Center for Biological Diversity
Lecturer on Law
,
Harvard Law School

For much of the nation’s history, the federal government played virtually no role in safeguarding, and regulating human interactions with, wildlife. Today, far-reaching federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), extensively regulate when, how, and where human activities may affect many species of wildlife and their habitats. How did this dramatic expansion of federal wildlife law evolve, and what are its strengths and weaknesses at the present time? This presentation will address that question in three parts. First, an explanation of the primary role that States played in wildlife regulation throughout most of the nation’s history. Second, a discussion on the three major Supreme Court decisions in the 20th century that construed the Constitution in such a manner that it paved the way for an expansive federal role in wildlife protection and regulation. Third, a focus on three important illustrations of this major federal role (ESA, MMPA, and MBTA), by describing the principal provisions of these conservation laws, as well as some of the limitations and loopholes that hamper their ability to effectively protect wildlife from myriad human impacts.

Upcoming Presentations

Standing to Protect and Advocate for Animals

Standing to Protect and Advocate for Animals

Katherine Meyer
Director, Animal Law & Policy Clinic
,
Harvard Law School

There are many laws on the books that were enacted to protect animals –in captivity and in the wild, including, e.g., the Endangered Species Act, the Animal Welfare Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Humane Slaughter Act, and the various state anti-cruelty statutes. However, if these laws are not enforced, they are useless for that purpose. While the federal government can always enforce these federal laws, and state authorities can enforce the state anti-cruelty statutes, unfortunately, they often fail to do so. And, because animals do not currently have the right to enforce these laws in their own name, humans need to step in and try to do so on their behalf. This is where the law of “standing” comes into play – who has standing to bring such cases? This presentation will discuss the law of standing to bring federal lawsuits to protect and advocate for animals, and will also briefly discuss the law of standing to bring cases in state courts as well.

Release date
Fall 2022

Animal Law and Ethics

Animal Law and Ethics

Lori Gruen
William Griffin Professor of Philosophy
,
Wesleyan University
Release date
Fall 2022

Animal Welfare Act

Animal Welfare Act

Delcianna Winders
Director of Animal Law Program
,
Vermont Law School
Release date
Fall 2022

The Critical Role of States in Farm Animal Confinement and Sales Laws

The Critical Role of States in Farm Animal Confinement and Sales Laws

Rebecca Cary
Senior Staff Attorney
,
Humane Society of the United States

As public awareness of the plight of farm animals has grown, so too has the call for more humane treatment. Consumers are demanding safer and more humane products on their grocery store shelves, and states have increasingly answered this call by passing ballot initiatives and other laws outlawing some of the cruelest confinement of farm animals and restricting the in-state sale of such products. As this presentation will explore, such confinement and sales laws fill a federal void in the regulation of on-farm treatment of farm animals. However, not everyone has applauded this new wave of farm animal laws. This presentation will address some of the ways states have legislated for farm animals before focusing on recent constitutional challenges to California’s confinement and sales laws from farm animal product producers and their allies. In doing so, the presentation will examine the constitutional authority for such state laws, and some of the outer limits of that authority—including constitutional vagueness, preemption, and the dormant Commerce Clause—while highlighting a challenge from pork producers that is currently playing out in the United States Supreme Court.

Release date
Fall 2022

Farmed Animals - Transparency

Humane Methods of Slaughter Act

Humane Methods of Slaughter Act

Kristen Stilt
Professor of Law
,
Harvard Law School
Faculty Director
,
Animal Law and Policy Program
Director
,
Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World
Release date
Early 2023

 

 

The Brooks Institute is providing these presentation and paper resources as an informational and educational public service, but it is neither an endorsement nor statement of Brooks Institute policy. Reference to any specific product, service, organization, or person does not constitute a representation by or opinion of the Brooks Institute. The views and opinions expressed and information provided by the presenters/authors are their own and their presentation does not imply an endorsement by the Brooks Institute.