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Animal Law: Introduction

Student Guide Author

Sophie Mashburn is a second-year law student at the University of Missouri School of Law. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science December, 2012. She is President of the student chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and an associate on the Journal of Dispute Resolution. 

This guide was originally created in support of Professor Diamond's Advanced Legal Research class for Fall 2014. The contents of this guide should not be taken as legal advice or as the work product of MU Law librarians.

Introduction & Scope

Known as one of the "recession-proof industries", the pet retail industry's booming growth reflects a shift in attitudes towards animals in American society. Historically considered merely property, livestock and pets occupied the same status as the kitchen table. However, as time has passed, proliferation of rescue groups, animal shelters, and animal advocacy groups has moved the relationship between humans and animals to a more meaningful place. Courts and legislatures are recongizing the human-animal bond and the law is responding. This research guide's purpose is to assist attorneys that may encounter animal law issues in practice. Under the general information tab, you will find resources that can guide you on any animal law topic, including other animal law resource guides.

This guide, however, provides more specific guidance on three common animal law problems. Criminal animal cruelty, pet trusts, and breed specific legislation are all basic and common animal law topics. All citations from online legal research databases are from WestlawNext and LexisAdvance.See the Online Services tab for more information about pricing of legal research products.


Navigating This Guide

Each tab provides secondary and primary sources relevant to the main tab topic. Within the primary sources tabs, you will have access to relevant statutes and caselaw, and within the secondary sources tabs, you will see a variety of helpful law review pieces, treatises, and practice guide resources that can help you navigate these specific animal law topics. 

Note: This guide is formatted in a way that the hyperlinks that connect to the sources will navigate you away from this guide to the page in question. Each source has a brief summary included in the guide itself. Links that use Westlaw or Lexis will require access to those databases to view the material. For pricing information see the Online Services tab.