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Law Courses Catalog

Animal Legal Philosophy

Although animal law is still considered to be a relatively new field of law having emerged as a distinct area of study in the 1970s, questions regarding the moral status of animals and our legal duties, if any, toward them date back to the roots of Western civilization. In light of this early philosophical attention paid to the legal standing of animals, the objectives for this course are two-fold: first, to track the historical development of animal legal philosophy from the early Greeks to modern jurists; and second, to interrogate if, how, and whether our legal system can and should extend legal protections, legal rights, and even legal personhood to animals given their relationship to the twinned concepts of law and justice.

This course is taught in a seminar-style format. Students will engage with scholarly essays and legal cases. Students will be evaluated based upon participation, a presentation, and a final paper, which will satisfy the WIE requirement or, with approval from instructor, the Capstone requirement.