Animal Law in Australasia: A New Dialogue

Article excerpt

ANIMAL LAW IN AUSTRALASIA: A NEW DIALOGUE Sankoff, P. and White, S. (Eds) (2009) Annandale, NSW: Federation Press ISBN 978-1-86287-719-1 pp. 432 $69.90 RRP paperback

Animal law has only recently emerged as a recognised field of legal study in Australia, with a growing number of legal practitioners working in the area and a significant number of Australian law faculties now offering elective courses in the subject. Practitioners, legal academics and students with an interest in the area would welcome the release of the first scholarly book on the subject, Animal Law in Australasia. The book, a collection of chapters contributed by leading animal law scholars from Australia and New Zealand, seeks to provide both a detailed description of current law in Australia and New Zealand with respect to the nominated topics and a critical analysis of the issues at stake, in particular whether the various regulatory regimes are effective in enhancing animal welfare. The editors have emphasised issues of particular interest to the Australasian region. Although the intended audience for the book is lawyers and there is a degree of assumed knowledge inherent in the discussions, non-lawyers would find many of the sections of the book accessible and informative. Of particular interest to readers of Rural Society would be the sections on farm animal welfare, live export, wildlife and hunting.

The book has four parts. The first, an introduction to the core concepts of animal law and animal welfare in particular, includes a chapter introducing the animal welfare paradigm and its operation in animal protection laws (Chapter 1), a discussion of animal welfare laws in the context of modern agricultural practice (Chapter 2), and an analysis of several issues following on from the property status of animals, issues which are specific to companion animals (Chapter 3).

Part 2 moves the discussion to more theoretical issues. It includes a brief though effective introduction to the various philosophical approaches to animal protection (Chapter 4), an exploration of the inconsistencies which exist in animal protection laws, laws often based on the species and visibility of those animals (Chapter 5), and a discussion of the use of 'animal rights' talk by animal protection advocates (Chapter 6). …