For law professors looking for new tools to help explain core legal concepts, this book provides a fresh perspective on teaching such courses as Property, Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Remedies, Environmental Law and Wills & Trusts. Due to the ubiquitous presence and use of animals in our society, animal law overlaps with these and other areas of law.
The lessons we learn from these intersecting spheres of law are important and can help us reframe our understanding of individual substantive areas. For example, a person who owns a domesticated mouse cannot legally poison or cruelly kill the mouse, whereas it is standard practice — and legal — to trap, kill, or poison mice who come into our homes and are considered pests. If the behavior is the same, and the legal consequence is different, one may question whether the contextual differences support that outcome. Moreover, animals are legally classified as property. However, scientifically, animals are classified as living beings with certain capacities. While the law generally fails to explicitly distinguish between living beings (non-human animals) and inanimate objects, the dissonance between the scientific and legal realities creates anomalies within the law, which are surfacing with increasing frequency. The property classification of animals, in particular, results in inconsistent legal outcomes.
Analyzing animal law cases within traditional areas of law encourages critical thinking and questioning of the function of certain legal constructs, sharpens our legal analysis and tests the law’s ability to respond to changing realities.
Individual topics are available as ebooks. Each individual subject area ebook begins with the front matter for the entire book, including the "General Overview." If you teach a related course, and want to consider a subject area ebook for adoption (for example, the property chapter in a property course), contact email@example.com. If approved, we will send access to the requested ebook chapter:
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW CHAPTER
Including animal law cases creates a fresh lens through which to explore core constitutional law concepts, such as standing. For example, students can be asked to examine how and what sort of plaintiff would be able to allege standing to sue when the victim of an injury is a factory farmed, research or zoo animal, providing students with an opportunity to think creatively about the application and development of key constitutional law principles in a context that is increasingly relevant in our society, but which may be new to many students.
CONTRACT LAW CHAPTER
Studying cases that involve sentient living beings enables students to think more deeply about the role of contracts in American society. Issues raised by animal law cases include: whether the legal system adequately addresses the interests of animals in contracts in which they are the subject matter; and, whether, in a contract dispute, the animal(s) can or should be considered an “interested party.” More specifically, this chapter includes issues relating to leases, condominium bylaws and custody disputes, to name a few, where companion animals are at the heart of the dispute (both literally and figuratively).
CRIMINAL LAW CHAPTER