Faculty of Law

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2014


This unit examines the ways in which Australian law defines and regulates the relationship between humans and animals. It will introduce students to the key concepts, legal frameworks and regulatory regimes that apply to this area and will encourage a critical engagement with those principles and regimes. The unit begins by providing an historical overview of the status of animals as property in the law. It will then consider competing philosophical theories and interests that have motivated the evolution of law as it relates to the regulation and protection of animals.

The unit will then analyse a range of regulatory regimes under Australian state and federal law that apply to our interactions with animals, be those domesticated, wild or agricultural animals. This will include: the use of animals in scientific experiments, sport and entertainment, the regulation of the agricultural use of animals, animal welfare standards and free trade, the live export industry, issues relating to companion animals, and issues affecting wild animals such as hunting, endangered species, pests and zoos. Students will explore particular problem areas in these fields, as well as being introduced to discrete issues in animal protection litigation.

Although the primary focus of the unit will be upon the law in Australia, where relevant the approach in Australia will be compared to overseas jurisdictions and will be considered in the context of relevant international relations and regulation.


A candidate who has successfully completed this subject should:

  1. Understand and be able to critically evaluate competing philosophical theories that underpin legal and regulatory schemes involving animals;

  1. Be familiar with the legal status of animals and the historical development of animal law generally;

  1. Be familiar with the different legislative regimes (legislation and industry codes) that relate to the regulation and protection of animals and be able to critically assess them;

  1. Be able to engage in discussion regarding the case for ongoing reform regarding the regulation and welfare of animals;

  1. Be familiar with Australian and overseas jurisprudence relating to animal rights and be able to critically assess such jurisprudence;

  1. Understand the international dimensions of animal regulation through treaties and other agreements;

  1. Be able to research and write clearly, concisely and logically on issues relating to animal law.


Research Assignment (2,500 words) 50%
Final Examination (2 hours writing time plus 30 minutes reading and notation time)50%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Three hours per week.


LAW1104 Research and Writing and LAW1101 Introduction to Legal Reasoning