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Animal Law, Ethics and Enforcement: Home

The Timeless Debate


Introduction to animal law Resources for online research and study


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This research guide provides reputable sources for students of animal advocacy, law or policy, education, English, philosophy, psychology, sociology or those seeking materials on animal ethics, principles and protection.

To suggest additions to the guide, or to report inactive links, contact Valerie Lang Waldin, J.D., M.L.S. at January 2023

Key Concepts

Animal Rights is the philosophy according to which many or all sentient animals have moral worth that is independent of their utility for humans, and that their most basic interests—such as avoiding suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings. Animal rights means that animals are not ours to use for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation.

Animal Welfare allows these uses as long as “humane” guidelines are followed. 

Animal Law is the combination of statutory and case law that relates to or has an impact on nonhuman animals. It encompasses companion animals and wildlife and animals used in entertainment, for clothing, research and animals raised for food.

Companion animals are domesticated or domestic-bred animals whose physical, emotional, behavioral and social needs can be readily met as companions in the home, or in close daily relationship with humans.

Domesticated animals, as the horse or cat, have been tamed and kept by humans as a work animal, food source, or pet, especially a member of those species that have, through selective breeding, become notably different from their wild ancestors.