The Animal Legal and Historical Center, run by the Michigan State University College of Law, is perhaps the most comprehensive website about animal law. The site allows one to search contents by several variables, including jurisdiction, issue, and species. Unique content includes maps and comparative tables of laws and detailed summaries of several animal law issues. One can also find briefs and pleadings.
The New York city council is currently considering a proposal that would require convicted animal abusers to register in a manner similar to sex offenders. For more information see the Los Angeles Times story.
Christopher D. Stone’s seminal work, Should Trees Have Standing?, a rallying point for the then burgeoning environmental movement, was originally published in 1972. The book set off a worldwide debate on the basic nature of legal rights that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. At the heart of the book is an argument that the environment should be granted legal rights. What about animals?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a controversial animal activist organization, has claimed that orcas should hold the same constitutional rights as humans. PETA brought a lawsuit against SeaWorld in San Diego and Orlando for enduring “slave”-like conditions at the theme parks. To the surprise of some legal skeptics, a U.S. judge considered the case.
But in February 2012, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller dismissed the lawsuit that had sought an order forcing SeaWorld to free five orcas. Judge Miller ruled that a lawsuit on behalf of the orcas could not be brought under the anti-slavery 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the amendment pertains to human beings, not animals. Read the decision here.
The Animal Legal and Historical Center at Michigan State University College of Law is a terrific resource for researching all aspects of animal law. The site includes a database of domestic and foreign case law, statutes, articles, and news. One can also search for briefs and historical materials.
The International Institute for Animal Law collects laws affecting animals from around the country. Pulldown menus simplify the research progress. If Biscuit or Xena is traveling with you across the country, this site offers citations and texts to her liability and protections along the way.
The Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis and Clark Law School has an extensive set of resources, including links to animal protection laws in the U.S. and Canada, forms, bar associations and organizations, and information about handling a variety of animal neglect or abuse issues.