This course will introduce students to the way in which the law – statutory, regulatory and common law — affects animals. It will include an examination of the relationship between humans and animals from both philosophical and practical perspectives, taking into account: the uses to which animals are put and scientific understanding of their capacities; the ramifications of the legal classification of animals as “property;” how the law impacts people’s relationship with companion animals; use of animals by industry, including agribusiness; current animal protection laws, state and federal, as well as efforts to reform such laws through legislation and litigation; “standing” and other problems of litigating on behalf of animals; and the way the law regulates the dissemination of information regarding animals. The course will encompass aspects of a wide variety of substantive areas, including criminal law, administrative law, torts, contracts, consumer protection law, first amendment and other constitutional issues, wills and trusts, domestic relations, comparative law, and more. All perspectives are both welcome and open to critique.
Students will be graded by a combination of final examination, an oral presentation, general class participation and a field research project.