The Federation Press

Animal Law in Australasia

A new dialogue


The original laws protecting animals from human mistreatment arose from community concern in the 19th century, and today community expectations are even higher. Most Australians and New Zealanders assume that their animal welfare laws still provide sufficient protection for animals, that cruelty is the exception and that, when exposed, the perpetrators are prosecuted. They are wrong on all counts.

This book is a scholarly examination of the legal relationship between humans and animals in Australia and New Zealand. It asks whether existing laws really do protect animals, and, where the law comes up short, how it could be improved. The questions explored go beyond animal welfare and challenge the reader to think about the nature of legal interests, and practical and ethical contexts for a range of laws.

Australian, New Zealand and international academics and practitioners cover topics ranging from core concepts and theoretical questions around “animal welfare” and law, to specific matters of concern: animal cruelty sentencing, live animal export, recreational hunting, and commercial uses of animals in farming and research.

Sue Kedgley, launched Animal Law in New Zealand on 19th March 2009 with over 100 people in attendance. The launch page enables you to watch edited videos of the four speeches, read a blog of the proceeding, and see some pictures. Visit the page at:


This compilation is the first major Australasian textbook to be released in the burgeoning field of animal law ... it presents the substantive law one would expect of a textbook ... the contributors include academics in law, science and politics, practising lawyers, inhouse counsel for animal protection organisations and a politician. Between them they cover issues practical and theoretical, local and international, and canvass the legal regulation (or more accurately deregulation) of cruelty across a range of sectors, such as farming, science and sport. ... This book will doubtless provoke further debate and critical analysis as public consciousness of the plight of animals increases. - David Glasgow, Secretary, Lawyers for Animals Inc., LIJ May 2010

The book is compelling reading for anyone with a strong interest in animal welfare, but is also a commendable read for students of jurisprudence, and those interested in a broader understanding of the concept of the law and the way in which legal regulation can promote social good. - NZ Lawer, June 2010

Animal Law in Australasia is a comprehensive effort with 17 chapters by 15 contributors. Despite the number of authors there is a consistency of style throughout that is testimony to the efforts of the editors.
It is refreshing, then, to see a book such as this - scholarly in approach but accessible in style - refining the quality of discourse and framing, as the subtitle proposes, a new dialogue. - Auckland University Law Review, September 2009

Animal Law in Australasia is a highly informative and well researched text on the current Australian and New Zealand law regulating the interaction between humans and animals. It is an ideal reference as it provides extensive footnotes, a case table, a legislation table and a detailed index. It would be of general interest to anyone intersted in the field of animal law, and animal protection law more specifically, but readers without legal training may find certain sections less accessible...this first edition does an excellent job of examining a broad range of legal issues in relation to animals and provides an invaluable resource. - Rural Society Journal, Vol 19 Issue 3, 2009

For the sake of the hundreds of millions of animals that suffer incalculably in Australia and New Zealand each year, hopefully this book will serve as a catalyst for positive change. The book is a heavy and often dispiriting real, but its underlying message is an optimistic one. By drawing upon the best principles of justice and compassion that underlie liberal democracy, Animal Law in Australasia shines a beacon of light for our legislators and judges to follow if they are brave enough to withstand the sheer power of the opposing force. - Deakin Law Review, Volume 14 No 1, 2009

...for those interested in the area who would like to find out more about the opinions of practitioners, academics and other leaders inthis field, it is a book worth exploring. - Law Society Journal of NSW, August 2009

A change is finally in the air for nonhumans
...for anyone involved in the legal side of animal welfare and rights, this book will provide a scholarly review of what’s going down in the southern hemisphere. - Vegan Voice, No 38 June-August 2009

This book is a scholarly examination of the legal relationship between humans and animals in Australai and New Zealand...The questions explored go beyond animal welfare and challenge the reader to think about the nature of legal interests, and practical and ethical contexts for a range of laws. - Law Society of South Australia, June 2009

Table of Contents

Peter Sankoff and Steven White

Part I: Core Concepts in Animal Law

The Welfare Paradigm: Making the World a Better Place for Animals?
Peter Sankoff
Farm Animals and Welfare Law: An Unhappy Union
Katrina Sharman
Companion Animals: Valuation and Treatment in Human Society
Lesley-Anne Petrie

Part II: Jurisprudential Challenges in Animal Law

Exploring Different Philosophical Approaches to Animal Protection in Law
Steven White
Australasian Animal Protection Laws and the Challenge of Equal Consideration
Siobhan O’Sullivan
The Use and Misuse of ‘Rights Talk’ by the Animal Rights Movement
Deidre Bourke

Part III: Animal Welfare in Australasia - Specific Challenges for the Region

Live Export of Farm Animals
Malcolm Caulfield
Animal Welfare Codes and Regulations – The Devil in Disguise?
Arnja Dale
Scientific Experimentation on Animals: Are Australia and New Zealand Implementing the 3Rs?
Paula Gerber
Animals in the Wild, Animal Welfare and the Law
Steven White
Recreational Hunting – Regulation and Animal Welfare Concerns
Dominique Thiriet
Animal Cruelty Sentencing in Australia and New Zealand
Annabel Markham

Part IV: Looking Abroad and into the Future

European and International Legislation: A Way Forward for the Protection of Farm Animals?
Peter Stevenson
Animals, Ethics and International Law
Alexander Gillespie
Collaborative Advocacy: Framing the Interests of Animals as a Social Justice Concern
Elizabeth Ellis
Animal Welfare in a Federal System: A Federal Politician’s Perspective
Andrew Bartlett
Animal Law: A Subject In Search of Scholarship
Peter Sankoff

Table of Cases
Table of Statutes

Of interest...