Animal Law

Subject LAWS40088 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 2 hour lecture per week.
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours.
Prerequisites: Legal Method and Reasoning; Criminal Law and Procedure; Administrative Law (may be taken concurrently).
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview: The subject examines Australian law which aims to protect the welfare of animals. The subject has three main components. First, the subject explores the history of the law of protecting animals generally. Second, the subject will explore ethical and theoretical justifications of animal welfare law. Finally, the subject examines current Australian state and federal legislation, regulations and general law which seeks to protect the welfare of companion animals and farm animals including those animals being exported for sale. The subject will also examine how such law has been invoked by protestors of animal cruelty in defence of charges brought against them. Included in the examination of Australian legislation is a consideration of, and to what extent, if any, the law in Australia requires reform.
  • To raise awareness of the intricate and overlapping network of law purporting to protect animal welfare;
  • To develop and sharpen skills to navigate the network of laws;
  • To challenge the way in which, and the extent to which, the law should protect animals, and those people who commit acts said to be in the interests of animal welfare.

Research assignment of 5,000 words (100%).

Prescribed Texts:

Malcolm Caulfield, Handbook of Australian Animal Cruelty Law (2008).

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Evaluation and synthesis of competing theories, rationales and ideas;
  • Develop skills to navigate and apply complex network of law;
  • Identify potential areas of law reform.
Notes: The research assignment in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.

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