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Animals and the Law (11:067:460:90)

(3 Credits)

Typically Offered: Spring semesters.

Prerequisites and Other Registration Restrictions: Junior or Senior status; strong writing skills are necessary.

Description: Animals and their legal status have become a hot-button issue in the media and in our lives, whether in regard to dog fighting, factory farming, the environment, or the companion animals that we often consider members of our families. This course is designed to show students how farm and companion animals are treated in the legal system in relationship to all of these issues, which is often very surprising to the layperson. Through case law, statutes, scholarly articles, and class discussion, we will explore the history of animal law in the United States and its common law tradition, legislation on the state and federal level, numerous legal issues regarding the treatment of farm and companion animals, and the legal consequences. Throughout the semester the course will highlight general principals of law and civics. This will be a rigorous online course that will demand students to demonstrate responsibility in following weekly reading and writing assignments. Students are expected to devote approximately 9 hours a week to this course, including class time, which may consist of readings, PowerPoint presentations, and podcasts. Further, this being much like a course in law school, students will be expected to use good logic in recognizing the underlying legal rules in cases and situations, rather than focusing on rote memorization of facts. The course will be challenging, but will likely change the way students view animals in relation to humans and foster some lively discussion.

Examinations: Weekly reading and writing assignments, online class participation, and a final paper.

Syllabus (301k PDF) (may be subject to change)


Dr. Nancy Halpern, DVM, Esq.