Special Issue "Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Public Policy, Politics and Law".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021) | Viewed by 16104

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alexandra Whittaker
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Animal and Veterinary Science, Faculty of Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
Interests: animal behaviour; animal neurobiology; brain; comparative law; humane animal treatment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Amy Cosby
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
Interests: natural resource and agricultural governance; animal law; land use conflict; food security and social licence to farm

Special Issue Information

Throughout much of the world, animals, whether captive or wild, share one common element: their protection, welfare and usage is governed by law. Law therefore plays a key role in promoting welfare, reducing harm and representing societal viewpoints on the purposes for which animals may be “acceptably used”, whether for meat, research or entertainment, and how these activities may be performed. However, it is frequently argued that laws are variably effective and can only provide minimum standards. Consequently, there is much debate about the nature of regulation, enforcement thereof, and the legal reform needed to improve outcomes for animals. In this Special Issue, we seek to provide robust discussion on these concepts.

We invite authors to submit both reviews and empirical research on all aspects of the legal relationships governing the welfare or protection of non-human animals. This includes discussion relating to animal protection, conservation and animal management laws across all jurisdictions. We particularly welcome cross-state or country comparisons, and papers providing insight into the effectiveness of law in animal protection. Papers of a theoretical nature proposing avenues for law reform are also of interest.

Keywords

  • animal law
  • animal protection
  • delegated legislation
  • animal legal reform
  • animal cruelty
  • conservation law
  • wildlife protection
  • provisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Is One Health a Viable Strategy in Animal Health Litigation: Evidence from Civil Lawsuits in China
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2560; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092560 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 978
Abstract
Several litigation strategies are used to gain support from courts in order to protect animals. While the emerging litigation strategy themed in One Health stimulates judicial protection in the animal health sector, little is known about whether and how such strategies are supported [...] Read more.
Several litigation strategies are used to gain support from courts in order to protect animals. While the emerging litigation strategy themed in One Health stimulates judicial protection in the animal health sector, little is known about whether and how such strategies are supported by courts. In this article, we investigate how animal welfare litigation strategies influence judge’s choices within their discretion. We argue that litigators equipped with the litigation strategy themed in One Health are placed in an advantageous position in animal health cases, but that this tendency varies markedly across zoonoses. Specifically, we suggest that litigators utilizing One Health’s litigation strategy are associated with higher probabilities to win, whereas normal litigators are not. Further, we propose that litigators equipped with the One Health litigation strategy are awarded more damages from judges. We test and find support for our predictions using a cross sectional dataset of civil lawsuit cases centering on the animal health industry in Chinese mainland. Our findings indicate that courts indeed were persuaded by the One Health litigation strategy, even when bound by the discretion rules. At the same time, we suggest that for advocates who would like to litigate for animal welfare in the animal health sector, the litigation strategy themed in One Health might have potentially positive implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
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Article
Regulating Companion Dog Welfare: A Comparative Study of Legal Frameworks in Western Countries
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1660; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061660 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2314
Abstract
There appear to be growing concerns among experts, NGOs, and members of the public about the welfare of companion dogs. With farm and laboratory animals, legislative initiatives have long been considered valuable tools in the management of welfare whereas the use of legislation [...] Read more.
There appear to be growing concerns among experts, NGOs, and members of the public about the welfare of companion dogs. With farm and laboratory animals, legislative initiatives have long been considered valuable tools in the management of welfare whereas the use of legislation to protect companion animal welfare has received less attention. We aim to rectify this by comparing legislation with an impact on the welfare of companion dogs in eleven Western jurisdictions. The comparison also provides a basis for further consideration of regulatory initiatives. We identify the rules applying in the jurisdictions and classify them in accordance with the following categories: breeding of dogs with risks to the health of the offspring, reproductive limitations, sales, surgical interventions, day-to-day handling, and killing. We demonstrate that, overall, there is significant variation across the jurisdictions. However, the degree of variation depends on the specific category. Whereas most countries, with the USA being a notable exception, regulate sales of dogs and ban surgical interventions, there is considerable variation in the regulation of day-to-day handling and the killing of dogs. Furthermore, different jurisdictions employ different regulatory tools to ensure the desired level of welfare for companion dogs. Overall, there appears to be real potential for dialogue and mutual inspiration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
Article
Legal Complexities of Animal Welfare in Australia: Do On-Animal Sensors Offer a Future Option?
Animals 2021, 11(1), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010091 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1454
Abstract
The five freedoms and, more recently, the five domains of animal welfare provide internationally recognised frameworks to evaluate animal welfare practices which recognise both the physical and mental wellbeing needs of animals, providing a balanced view of their ability to cope in their [...] Read more.
The five freedoms and, more recently, the five domains of animal welfare provide internationally recognised frameworks to evaluate animal welfare practices which recognise both the physical and mental wellbeing needs of animals, providing a balanced view of their ability to cope in their environment. Whilst there are many techniques to measure animal welfare, the challenge lies with how best to align these with future changes in definitions and expectations, advances in science, legislative requirements, and technology improvements. Furthermore, enforcement of current animal welfare legislation in relation to livestock in Australia and the reliance on self-audits for accreditation schemes, challenges our ability to objectively measure animal welfare. On-animal sensors have enormous potential to address animal welfare concerns and assist with legislative compliance, through continuous measurement and monitoring of an animal’s behavioural state and location being reflective of their wellbeing. As reliable animal welfare measures evolve and the cost of on-animal sensors reduce, technology adoption will increase as the benefits across the supply chain are realised. Future adoption of on-animal sensors by producers will primarily depend on a value proposition for their business being clear; algorithm development to ensure measures are valid and reliable; increases in producer knowledge, willingness, and trust in data governance; and improvements in data transmission and connectivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
Article
Assessing the Uniformity in Australian Animal Protection Law: A Statutory Comparison
Animals 2021, 11(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010035 - 26 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1802
Abstract
Animal welfare is not included in the Australian Constitution, rendering it a residual power of the states and territories. Commentators have suggested that inconsistencies exist between the state and territory statutes, and that a uniform approach would be beneficial. However, there has been [...] Read more.
Animal welfare is not included in the Australian Constitution, rendering it a residual power of the states and territories. Commentators have suggested that inconsistencies exist between the state and territory statutes, and that a uniform approach would be beneficial. However, there has been no comprehensive assessment of the nature or extent of these purported inconsistencies. This review addresses this gap by providing a state-by-state comparison of animal protection statutes based on key provisions. Utilizing systematic review methodology, every current Australian statute with an enforceable protection provision relating to animal welfare was identified. A total of 436 statutes were examined, with 42 statutes being included in the detailed analysis. The comparison showed that animal protection laws are generally consistent between each Australian jurisdiction and were found to have similar shortcomings, notably including lack of a consistent definition of ‘animal’ and reliance on forms of legal punishment to promote animal welfare which have questionable effectiveness. It is argued that there is a need for attention to definitions of key terms and future consideration of alternative forms of penalties, but that a uniform federal approach may not be necessary to address these shortcomings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
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Article
Legal Complexities of Entry, Rescue, Seizure and Disposal of Disaster-Affected Companion Animals in New Zealand
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1583; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091583 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1101
Abstract
With the increasing societal expectation that animals are afforded greater protection in emergencies, the legal process from entering a property to rescuing a companion animal, through to how to dispose of such animals if they remain unclaimed has not been well examined in [...] Read more.
With the increasing societal expectation that animals are afforded greater protection in emergencies, the legal process from entering a property to rescuing a companion animal, through to how to dispose of such animals if they remain unclaimed has not been well examined in New Zealand. It is hypothesised that the legal framework for such a response is flawed. In this study, each phase of animal disaster rescue is evaluated against four key statutes that may apply in each phase, in that does any statute provide clear end-to-end provisions with clear legal authority to do so? The study found that all statutes evaluated contained flaws and that the current legal provisions are insufficient to provide clear authority for the sequential process of undertaking the rescue of animals during emergencies. A major flaw was discovered in the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, a key statute, that provided for the seizure of property and animals but omitted a procedure for the disposal of such seized things leaving them all in legal limbo. It is recommended that animal disaster laws be updated to be more animal inclusive. The method also may be applicable to assist evaluating animal disaster management legal frameworks in other countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
Article
Public Investment in Animal Protection Work: Data from Manitoba, Canada
Animals 2020, 10(3), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030516 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2063
Abstract
There is a dearth of research on animal cruelty investigations policy and work, despite its importance for protecting animals from illegal forms of cruelty. This study provides baseline data about the approach used in Manitoba, one of the only Canadian provinces where animal [...] Read more.
There is a dearth of research on animal cruelty investigations policy and work, despite its importance for protecting animals from illegal forms of cruelty. This study provides baseline data about the approach used in Manitoba, one of the only Canadian provinces where animal protection is publicly funded. By integrating statistical and qualitative data collected through interviews with key informants, this paper elucidates how animal cruelty investigations are organized and undertaken in the province. Although animal protection in Manitoba is publicly funded, the workforce responsible for undertaking investigations is a cross-section of public and private actors with different occupational classifications and working conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
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Review

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Review
Dog Tethering in Slovakia: Legal, Ethical and Behavioral Aspects and Dog Welfare Implications
Animals 2021, 11(3), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030594 - 24 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1540
Abstract
Long-term tethering of dogs, or their keeping under unsuitable conditions can result in issues related to changes in their behavior as they may not satisfy their basic needs of life. These needs are discussed in this paper, along with cases when dogs unnecessarily [...] Read more.
Long-term tethering of dogs, or their keeping under unsuitable conditions can result in issues related to changes in their behavior as they may not satisfy their basic needs of life. These needs are discussed in this paper, along with cases when dogs unnecessarily have to endure cruelty and pain. The unavoidable tethering of a dog must not cause trauma and must be arranged in a way that it guarantees physical comfort. Failure to meet the basic needs of an animal may result in manifestation of fear and subsequent aggressiveness. Owners of animals are responsible for their life and health, and their obligations include eliminating the possibility of them hurting themselves or other beings. The relevant adopted legislative provisions should provide protection to animals and be enforceable, which currently appears rather difficult. Controlling and observation of the legislative provisions related to the tethering of dogs raises some difficulties for animal protection inspectors. It is necessary to focus on the specificities of keeping conditions of various dog breeds and on their individual features. Based on research and the relevant Slovak legislative provisions, this paper discusses various views on the practice of tethering dogs from the point of view of public safety and the ethical consequences of permanent dog tethering. Data on dog tethering in Slovakia were evaluated based on a survey and Slovak legal rules governing this issue were analyzed along with various views of public safety and the ethical consequences of permanent dog tethering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
Review
Explaining the Gap Between the Ambitious Goals and Practical Reality of Animal Welfare Law Enforcement: A Review of the Enforcement Gap in Australia
Animals 2020, 10(3), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030482 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3072
Abstract
Previous research has identified a number of issues arising at all stages of the animal law enforcement process. These issues contribute to an enforcement gap between the written law, as it relates to the penalties laid out in statutes, and the reality of [...] Read more.
Previous research has identified a number of issues arising at all stages of the animal law enforcement process. These issues contribute to an enforcement gap between the written law, as it relates to the penalties laid out in statutes, and the reality of the animal law justice system. This paper identifies and investigates the contributors to this gap. The identified factors discussed are (1) the role of the public in reporting animal cruelty, (2) the ambiguity of the language used in animal welfare legislation, (3) the nature of enforcement authorities, and (4) the role of the courts. Thus, the causes of the enforcement gap are multifactorial, derived from all stages of the enforcement process. Further research on the enforcement model and public education, in addition to debate on legislative reforms, will be needed to address this gap. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legal Aspects of the Human-Animal Relationship)
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