Legal protections for wildlife are one of many animal law subdisciplines. Depending on the jurisdiction, animal law may be a combination of legal statutes and case law that create an animal rights and welfare framework.

Subdisciplines include companion animals, wildlife, farmed animals, those used in research, and animals used for entertainment, such as those in zoos and aquariums. Animal law is global and involves almost every area of the law – administrative, constitutional, contracts, environmental, estate planning, family, intellectual property, and more.

Further, animal law intersects with other disciplines, including history, philosophy, and science.

The Animal Law Working Group, formed in October 2022, comprises a group of experienced animal lawyers and academics, as well as lawyers interested in animals and the law. We work to promote a greater understanding of how animals fit into the global legal landscape and to provide education and advice to all sectors of the UIA community, especially those that overlap with our discipline.

Through the exchange of knowledge and experience, we can improve animal lives and raise awareness of the inherent connection between animal welfare and human health and well-being. While many consider animal law a new legal specialty, it has been evolving for more than forty years and dates back as far as medieval Europe, when animals and insects were tried in courts for human crimes.

The role of our working group is to promote and expand global understanding of animals and the law by contributing resources and collaborating with colleagues to provide opportunities for education and discourse. As we grow the working group, we will provide news updates and educational webinars, and host in-person conferences and programs in collaboration with other UIA commissions. We encourage you to join the working group and become active in this dynamic and rapidly growing area of the law. Whether you want to add animal law to your practice or simply learn more about the work we do, all are welcome.

About the photo: Despite wolves’ disparate history of being idolized, vilified, and hunted to the brink of extinction, these keystone species continue to survive, often with legal support, in parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and even Egypt, home to Anubis, the most famous Ancient Egyptian wolf deity.

See more See less