Animals and the Law in Australia

In Australia, the State and Territory governments legislate to protect animal welfare. The legislation varies between the states. It can be downloaded from AusL11 Database:

The Code which governs research using animals is national - Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council: Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (8th edition, 2014).

One of the purposes of this code is: - to promote the development and use of techniques that replace the use of animals in scientific and teaching activities. One of the general principles of this code is: - replacement: Techniques that totally or partially replace the use of animals for scientific purposes must be sought and used wherever possible.

Institutions that use animals for scientific purposes are required to establish an Animal Ethics Committee directly responsible to the governing body of the institution. This Committee is supposed to ensure, on behalf of the institution, that all care and use of animals is conducted in compliance with the code, including applying the Replacement principle. The Committee receives applications to conduct research. The aim is to approve only those studies for which animals are essential and justified and which conform to the requirements of the code. Part of the form researchers are required to fill out includes a section on replacement (viii)

Explanation of why animals are needed for the project, including: - A list of any potential alternatives to animal use - Whether any of these alternatives would be used , and if not - Why alternatives are unsuitable

When planning a project, researchers are urged to ask: ‘Can the aims be achieved without using animals?’

On-line resources

Lawyers for animals:

Aniaml law and ethics (online journal)

Australian Law Reform Commission Journal: First issue of 2008 on Animal Law -

Australian Animal Protection Law Journal (set up by a Voiceless grant in 2007)

Sharman, K. 2002, Animal Law in Australia, Animal Legal and Historical Web Centre.

Voiceless: is animal law


Bruce, A. 2017 Animal Law in Australia: an Integrated Approach, Second ed. Lexus Nexis, Australia.

Cao, D. 2015 Animal Law in Australia and New Zealand, Second ed. Thomson Reuters Pubs.

Caufield, M 2009 Handbook of Australian Animal Cruelty Law, Animals Australia, Melbourne

Eadie, E. 2009 Animal Suffering and the Law, Seaview Press, South Australia.

Sankoff, P et al (eds.) 2009 Animal Law in Australasia: A new dialogue, Federation Press, Sydney.

Sankoff, P et al 2013 Animal Law in Australasia, Vol. 2, The Federation Press, Sydney

Schaffner, J 2010 An Introduction to Animals and the Law, Palgrave Macmillan, UK.

Seymour, G. 2004 ‘Animals and the Law: Towards a Guardianship Model’, Alternative Law Review, 4 (29).

White, S. 2003 ‘Legislating for Animal Welfare’, *Alternative Law Review, 6 (28).

Wise, S 2000 Rattling the Cage: Towards Legal Rights for Animals Perseus Pub. Cambridge.

Studying Animal Law

University of Wollongong: Animal Law (LLB 368) Undergraduate Course. This subject explores the way in which the law constructs the relationship between human and non-human animals. It includes discussion of animal experimentation.

University of Adelaide: Animals and the Law (ANIMLSC 325ORW) Undergraduate Course. This course looks at the ethics and jurisprudence of the way humans think of and treat animals, the history and present states of animals as property, and the statutory and case law in which non-0human s play a part.

ANU: Animals and the Law (LAWS 2234) Undergraduate Course. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the legal, ethical, regulatory, economic and social issues that are associated with human interaction and animals.

Practising animal law

  • The Law Society of NSW: Law

  • The Animal Law Institute, Australian non-profit community legal centre dedicated to protecting animals and advocating for their interests through the Australian legal system

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