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An Introduction to Animal Law

This is a guest post by Ashley Sundin who was an intern with the Law Library’s Public Services Division this summer.

Animal law is a rapidly growing area of law, especially in the past decade.  The human–animal interaction comes in a variety of forms including companionship, agriculture, and science.  As a result, animal law extends into many areas of law including criminal, torts, property, and constitutional law.

This guide will provide an overview of the resources available covering animal law, wildlife law, and animal rights and welfare.

Whoopie and Englehurst Gillette two of the White House dogs with Robert R. Robinson (March 29, 1929).  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c31290.

Whoopie and Englehurst Gillette two of the White House dogs with Robert R. Robinson (March 29, 1929). Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c31290.

Books

For Beginners

General

Practice-Focused

The materials in this section explore animal law career options for those considering a career in animal law and provide litigation strategies for those currently working in this area of practice.

Foreign & International

State & Federal Law

You will find laws at the federal, state, and local levels that relate to animal law.  You can directly search for federal and state laws by consulting the United States Code and your local state statutory code.  Be sure to also take into consideration your local laws by consulting municipal codes. The Animal Legal Defense Fund site contains a finding aid that may prove helpful to locating legislation.

Cases

The following sites compile notable cases in the area of animal law.  You can also locate cases related to animal law using free sources on the web such as Google Scholar.  Alternatively, you can visit your local law library for access to subscription legal research databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Journals

Subject Headings

You can also search the Library of Congress catalog by browsing subject headings for books on this topic. Click “browse” and use the drop-down to select “SUBJECTS beginning with” or “SUBJECTS containing,” and then input a subject heading using one of the examples shown below. Finally, click on a result and you can browse the materials classified under that subject heading.  Here are a few examples of possible subject headings:

  • Animals–Law and legislation–United States
  • Animals–Law and legislation–[Country]
  • Animals–Law and legislation–[State]
  • Animals–Law and legislation–United States—Cases
  • Animal welfare–Law and legislation–United States
  • Animal rights–United States
  • Dogs–Law and Legislation–[Country]
  • Dogs–Law and Legislation–[State]

Online Resources

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2: Child Custody, Support, and Adoption

This post is coauthored by Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer, legal reference specialists. In Part Two of our Family Law Beginner’s Guide, we are shifting our focus to what the law says about children’s roles in the family—focusing on their custody and care.  Below, please find information and resources for legal researchers regarding child custody, […]

A Guide to Chinese Legal Research: Administrative Regulations and Departmental Rules

This is the second post in my A Guide to Chinese Legal Research series, following the first one published on January 30, 2014: A Guide to Chinese Legal Research: Who Makes What? My previous post on Chinese legal research introduced various types of documents having the force of law in China. Among them, the most […]

An Introduction to Water Law

Although I grew up in an arid western state, my first real awareness of the complicated rules governing water usage came when I saw the movie The Milagro Beanfield War in 1988.  The action in the movie centers around the accidental and illegal diversion of water by Joe Mondragon, which brings down the wrath of the state government […]

Discovery: A Beginner’s Guide

This post was co-authored by Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer, Legal Reference Specialists. We receive a wide array of questions here at the Law Library of Congress—from detailed foreign legal research, to tracing U.S. federal legislation, and everything in between—but one area of legal research on which we consistently receive requests for assistance is the […]

Preparing Witnesses For Trial: A Beginner’s Guide

This post was co-authored by Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer, Legal Reference Specialists. When discussing the use of witnesses at trial, attention often focuses on the use of witnesses in criminal actions, such as how eyewitness identifications are made or whether improper behavior, like witness tampering, has affected the outcome of a trial. However, witnesses […]

A Guide to Chinese Legal Research: Who Makes What?

With this post, we at the Law Library of Congress wish you a happy Year of Horse, which starts from tomorrow, January 31!    Many of the people coming to us for help with Chinese legal research have had the experience of being confused by the titles of the various legal documents.  “Regulations,” “measures,” “provisions,” “opinions,” “decisions…”  What are they?  […]