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Center for Animal Law Studies

Animals in Agriculture: Law and Policy

As the future of food takes a front row seat in public and economic policy discussions, this course will set out to deconstruct the legal framework underlying the use of animals for food. The course will familiarize students with the conditions in which animals are raised, transported, and slaughtered, as well as address federal and state laws that currently affect matters such as animal welfare, environmental (including climate change) impacts, global food sustainability, cultural and religious values, free speech issues, health concerns, international trade issues, and economic considerations in food pricing. The course will also discuss the pros and cons of current legal, political, and other efforts to revamp the current system of production, distribution, and consumption of animal-derived foods, including legislation, litigation, regulation, ballot initiatives, and consumer campaigns. Reference will be made to approaches taken to these issues in other countries. Since this is a constantly evolving area, the course will incorporate frequent discussion of current social and legal developments and students will be asked to participate in discussions and debates about these issues. All perspectives and approaches are welcome and open to critique. 

Students will be graded by a combination of a research paper, an oral presentation and general class participation. The paper will satisfy the WIE requirement or, with approval from the instructor, the Capstone requirement.