Skip to Main Content

Animal Law: Overviews & Starting Points

Focus: Current sources to assist students in the BLS Animal Law course

Animal Legal & Historical Center, Michigan State University College of Law: Topical Introductions

A collection of 90+ Topical Introductions ranging "from companion animal issues (like dog bite laws, lost pets, and custody issues involving pets in divorce) to complex federal laws such as the U.S. Endangered Species Act or the Animal Welfare Act."  Publication dates vary.  Each Topical Introduction includes an "Overview," a "Detailed Discussion & "Related Information" (many links to pertinent articles, cases, laws & websites).  There are Topical Introductions on:

  • Companion Animal Issues & Pet Sale Issues
  • Farm Animal Issues
  • Federal Laws & Wildlife Issues
  • Service & Assistance Animal Issues
  • Equine Issues
  • Great Apes
  • Cruelty, Police Shooting Pets, Hoarding & Domestic Violence Issues
  • Veterinary & Pet Damages Issues
  • Pet Planning Issues
  • Captive Wildlife
  • Research Animal Issues
  • Animal Rights & Advocacy Issues

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) Material

On ALDF's home page, click: Menu.

Focus Areas provides overviews/descriptions of key primary law on:

  • Animals Used in Research
  • Captive Animals
  • Companion Animals
  • Farmed Animals
  • Wildlife

Issues discusses:

  • Challenging ag-gag laws
  • Combating puppy mills
  • Protecting animals from exploitation due to their fur

There are publicly accessible webinars categorized by topics:

  • Animals Used in Research
  • Captive Animals
  • Companion Animals
  • Farmed Animals
  • Wildlife

Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy: Animal Rights Fundamentals

A developing collection of videos & related scholarly papers on: 

  • Animal Ethics: Figuring Out What Is Right and Wrong
  • Animals as Property, Quasi-Property or Quasi-Person 
  • The Critical Role of States in Farm Animal Confinement and Sales Laws
  • Cutting Edge Issues in 21st Century Animal Food Product Labeling 
  • Laboratory Animal Law in the United States: Past, Present and Future 
  • Standing to Protect and Advocate for Animals
  • Wildlife: Related Acts and State Management Issues

Brooks Institute describes the initial presenters/authors as "some of North America's notable animal law scholars."

Tip: Check for upcoming 2023 videos & papers on: 

  • Animal Welfare Act
  • Animal Welfare Act  - Oversight of the Pet Trade
  • Farmed Animals - Transparency
  • Humane Methods of Slaughter Act

Congressional Research Service: Reports

Congressional Research Service Reports analyze hot topics before the U.S. Congress.  
Tip: Enter keyword(s), such as: 

  • animals biomedical research 
  • international trophy hunting 
  • laws protecting domesticated and captive animals
  • wildlife trafficking

Tip: Enter title of a U.S. federal law, such as: 

  • Animal Welfare Act
  • Endangered Species Act

Elgar Encyclopedia of Human Rights: "Animal Rights" Chapter (subscription)

Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare: "Key Animal Law in the U.S." Chapter

Faunalytics [research library]

National Agricultural Law Center, unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture [reading rooms]

U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library: Animal Health and Welfare

This library provides guides, guidelines and many other resources on:

  • Housing, Care and Welfare of Animals 
  • Animal Use Alternatives (3Rs)
  • Farm Animal Diseases
  • Insects and Pollinators.

It also contains resource collections on these U.S. laws:

  • Animal Welfare Act
  • Horse Protection Act
  • Humane Methods of Slaughter Act
  • Twenty-Eight Hour Law  

Additionally, it includes information on Animal Welfare Audit and Certification Programs.

Westlaw > Practical Law Practice Notes (subscription)