Animal law

Animal Law is a small but growing field of law encompassing diverse practice areas such as consumer law, commercial disputes and criminal practice. In Australia each year millions of animals are bred, farmed, tested on, and killed and the only guidance for their treatment is set by industry ‘codes of practice'. Animal Law requires lawyers to think creatively, using their skills to protect creatures that have no formal legal recognition outside of their status as property.

People passionate about this area of law must be willing to volunteer, as most of the work available is pro bono. The organisations listed in this guide are growing steadily in size with increasing capacity to litigate and influence government decision. It is important to note that currently the majority of lawyers who work in this area need to maintain fulltime work in other fields of law. If you would like to get involved, and you are a student, start by enrolling to study Animal Law at one of the 15 universities across Australia that offer the subject. Next, join an animal welfare organisation, whether it is legal or advocacy and campaign focused.

Students can apply for the Voiceless internship program offered in conjunction with UNSW. Practicing lawyers can offer their time and skills at the Lawyers for Animals - Animal Law Clinic at Fitzroy Legal Service or with the Barrister Animal Welfare Panel.

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