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Humans have raised, trained, worked, fought, confined, lived with, experimented upon, collected and displayed, bought and sold, eaten, and disposed of animals for thousands of years.
The law under the umbrella of 'animal law' regulates these human uses and interactions with animals. Animal law is extremely diverse cutting across every substantive area, jurisdictional boundaries, and source of legal authority. Although most countries have enacted Animal Welfare Acts and Endangered Species Laws, just to mention a few, the law currently is designed primarily to protect the interests of humans as owners of animals or as users of environment resources. The animals’ inherent interests, if considered, are secondary.
This text surveys the laws allegedly designed to protect animals, identifies the themes that link them, analyzes and critiques them in light of their consideration and protection of animals’ interests, and explores characteristics of a future legal system that would adequately protect animals’ inherent interests.JOAN SCHAFFNER is an Associate Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School and Directs the George Washington Animal Law Program. She is the 2009-10Chair, ABA TIPS Animal Law Committee; Founding Chair. AALS Section on Animal Law; and Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.