Syllabus Animals and the Law 14-51-261 University of Windsor

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Animals and the Law 14-51-261

University of Windsor
Fall Semester, 2014

Jerry Simonelli, Instructor

Class Meetings
Classes will meet on Thursday from 4:00-6:50 p.m., in room CN G100.

Course Description
This course will consider statutory and case law encompassing human-animal interactions, the current status of non-human animals (hereinafter "animals") as living property, and balancing of competing interests within the context of traditional areas of the law. Beyond traditional areas of law, we will explore and debate whether the current legal status of animals as living property is antiquated and needs re-evaluation and modification to reflect evolving societal beliefs and values. In this regard, we will explore theories and proposals to grant rights and advance the legal status of animals, including proposals for granting personhood status.
The course will focus on Canadian law but will also selectively consider United States law and the laws and constitutions of other countries. This will enable us to evaluate the status of Canadian law in relation to other countries and provide insight into possible opportunities for advancement of Canadian law.

Course Requirements/Evaluation
PARTICIPATION (20% of grade): Regular and punctual attendance is expected. Reading of assignments, and preparation for and thoughtful participation in class discussions is required. Since the success of this course depends substantially upon class participation, you are expected to attend class and participate actively. If you miss class due to illness or other substantial reason, it is the student's responsibility to obtain notes from a classmate.

Final Examination (50% of grade)

Mid-Term Examination (30% of grade)

The exams will consist of multiple choice questions and may also include short answers and essay questions. During the exams (1) you will be allowed to refer to your casebook, articles that were assigned reading, handouts, your notes, and outlines you have substantially produced; (2) you will not be allowed to consult with anyone else in connection with the exam; and (3) laptops, cellphones, or any other electronic devices will not be allowed and you will not be allowed to access the internet for any purpose during the exams. The exams will be based on assigned readings (both listed in the syllabus and as posted for each class on CLEW), handouts, lectures (including those lectures not based on any assigned reading), and class discussions.

1. The following book will be the primary text for this course:
Animals and the Law (Irwin Law): This book was published late 2011 and is the first book on animal law that is specific to Canada. This book will be our primary text. It was written by Toronto animal lawyer and adjunct law professor Lesli Bisgould (referred to as "Bisgould text").
2. The following ARTICLES will also be required reading. Additional reading will be required as outlined under "Topics/Readings Per Class" below, as posted on CLEW, or handed out in class.
1) "Animal Law in Action: The Law, Public Perception, and the Limits of Animal Rights Theory as a Basis for Legal Reform" by Jonathan R. Lovvorn, Animal Law 12:133 (2006);

2) "The Rights of Animals - A Very Short Primer" by Cass R. Sunstein;;
Guest Lectures

We will have a few guest lecturers brought in to speak to the class at appropriate times when their expertise will coincide with the topics we are covering.

Office Hours

I am available to meet with students on any scheduled class days either before or after class. I am also available on non-class days by appointment. My contact information is:


A seating chart will be circulated during the first class, so you should occupy the seat that you intend to occupy during the semester. This will assist me in getting to know names and faces.

Electronics in Class

Laptop use in class will be allowed only for accessing class assignments/documents on CLEW or other class related matters. Viewing non-class related material during class is distracting to other students and disruptive for the class. Cell phone use, texting, or other electronic communication is not allowed during class. Please have all electronic devices (except laptops being used to access CLEW or other class related matters) turned off once class begins.

Missed Exam Policy

If you miss an exam, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor to arrange the make-up exam. The question format for the make-up exam may be comprised of any combination of essay, short answer, and multiple choice questions.

Special Needs

Students with special needs who require reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the Disability Office early in the semester to complete the necessary forms. Please speak to the instructor privately if you require accommodations in class.

NOTE: Reading assignments are lighter the first few classes as we frame and discuss issues. However, reading assignments are heavier later in the course. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to begin promptly addressing the reading assignments.

CLASS 1 (September 4)

- Introductions;

- Status of Animal Law in Canada and the U.S.;

- Course overview including review and discussion of syllabus;

READINGS: No assigned readings;

CLASS 2 (September 11)

- What is Animal Law: discussion of scope of animal law and selective topics including guardianship, great apes, legal personhood, and where do we draw the line for personhood and rights for animals;

READINGS: Outlines to be posted on CLEW to serve as framework for class discussion;
CLASS 3 (September 18)

- Overview of the conditions of animals: companion, farm, research, entertainment;

- Impact on humans from CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations or "factory farms"): environment, public health, worker conditions;


1) Bisgould 162-173

2) "They Die Piece by Piece" , Washington Post, April 10, 2001;

CLASS 4 (September 25)

- Legal concept of "Necessity" and core ambiguity in the law;

- Evolution of thought about animal cognition, intelligence, capabilities, sentience, and rights from ancient Greeks to current animal rights legal and philosophical theories;

- Evolution of human rights: slaves, women, other groups;


- Bisgould 1-54;

CLASS 5 ( October 2) Anti-Cruelty

- What is an "animal" - exploring difficulties in legislative interpretation;

- Anti-Cruelty/Animal Welfare Laws (federal & provincial);


1) Bisgould 57-123;

2) Criminal Code of Canada, sections 444-447;

3) Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act: sections 1, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3 (see: "Animal Protection Laws of the U.S. and Canada";
CLASS 6: (October 9)

Mid-Term Examination (grades for mid-term to be provided students by October 30, 2014);


CLASS 7 (October 23) Food Animals:

- Overview of federal and provincial laws affecting the welfare of food animals; impact of court interpretations of laws;

- Common exemptions in provincial animal welfare laws; industry codes of practice;

- AG-GAG laws;

- Labeling in Canada and U.S. and consumer demand affecting change;

- Legislative proposals and legal strategies;


- Bisgould 173-200; (162-173 previously assigned);

CLASS 8: (October 30) Companion Animals:

- Puppy mills;

- Damages for injury to/death of animals and theories of liability including measure of damages and emergence of non-economic damage theories; review of Tennessee and Illinois statutes allowing non-econiomic damages and review of proposals for recognition of animal interests in tort law (proposals include those by American Bar Association, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Massachusetts Senate Bill 932 (2003), and Michigan State University Professor David Favre);

- VET malpractice;

- Pets in housing;

- Custody disputes in divorce and separation and emergence of "best interests" concept;

- Trusts for companion animals;


- Bisgould 127-160;

CLASS 9: (November 6) Research Animals:

- Understanding conditions and treatment;

- Laws regulating use of animals in research and addressing animal welfare;

- Ethical vs. practical considerations;

- "Direct action" and debate over tactics; Is property destruction and intimidation non-violent; Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act" (AETA) response in U.S.;


1) Bisgould 201-233;

2) "Negotion is Over";

3) "Non-Violence and the Animal Rights Movement" by Jerry Simonelli (to be posted on CLEW);
CLASS 10 (November 13)

Current Debates & New Directions: discussion of theories of leading animal law scholars; animal rights vs animal welfare approaches; theories of Professors Favre, Francione, Sunstein and other legal scholars; Proposals for the future;


- "The Rights of Animals - A Very Short Primer" by Cass R. Sunstein;;

CLASS 11 (November 20)

- Strategies/issues for evolution of law: legislative, political, economic, common law, ballot initiatives;

- Role of lawyers and legal system in movement for greater animal protection and rights;

- Other countries: constitutions and statutes (India, EU, Germany, Switzerland);


- "Animal Law in Action: The Law, Public Perception, and the Limits of Animal Rights Theory as a Basis for Legal Reform" Animal Law 12:133 (2006) by Jonathan R. Lovvorn;

CLASS 12 (November 27) Miscellaneous Topics (to be covered if/as time allows)

- International law including World Trade Organization (WTO), recent WTO upholding European Union (EU) ban on Canadian seal slaughter skins, CITES, International Whaling Commission (IWC), UN Charter for Nature;

- Wildlife;

- Patenting animals;

- Animals in zoos, aquariums, circuses, and rodeos;



- Bisgould 234-285

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