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School of Law

LAW6175 Animal Rights

Students will gain an understanding of the history, theory, and current developments in animal rights law. The module will begin with an historical and legal analysis of animal protection laws in several jurisdictions (e.g. UK, US, EU, Switzerland) and will help students identify existing gaps in the protection of animals. Much will be made of the distinction between the historic and current paradigm of animal welfarism, where animals can be used for many human purposes subject to some restrictions, and an animal rights paradigm, where strong rights would forbid most exploitation of animals (e.g. animal experimentation and animal husbandry). The module will then introduce students to the theoretical literature making the case for the animal rights paradigm and consider its strengths and weaknesses. Finally, students will consider the expanding series of legal cases worldwide (e.g. in North and South America, India, and Australia) pushing for an animal rights paradigm based on legal personhood and individual freedom for animals. Students will consider the prospects of success for such litigation and consider the desirability of alternative animal rights approaches.

Mode of assessment

  • 100% Exam

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