Animal Law Courses Spreading Across Canada

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly features an article entitled Animal law: from the classroom to the real world? that describes the emergence of animal law as a serious field of study and perhaps legal practice:

“If the law schools are any indication, animal law is a growth area. University of Toronto has just become the seventh law school to offer animal law on its curriculum, after McGill, Dalhousie, University of Alberta, University of Ottawa, University of Victoria and Université du Québec à Montréal(…)”

“Just as actually practising environmental law was seen as a pipe dream of law students in the ’60s and ’70s, but then became a reality for thousands of lawyers, animal law may become more than just law school courses and philosophical debates. As views change about the rights and realities of animal lives, so too may the laws and case law that cause lawyers to catch onto to societal trends. Just look at the students in [Lesli] Bisgould’s first animal law class at the University of Toronto. You just might mind find a future successful animal law lawyer.”

Here are a number of animal law resources:

  • The Michigan State University College of Law has created this very helpful collection about animal welfare law and associated topics. The site is heavily US-slanted, with information about animal law in different states, but there are resources about the animal laws of other countries too.
  • The University of Alberta Libraries have posted a research guide to animal law
  • The Lewis and Clark Law School (Portland, Oregon) publishes the review Animal Law. Volume 14, Number 1 has just come out.
  • The International Institute for Animal Law offers an online Bibliography of Animal Law Resources: “The bibliography is designed to assist individuals in researching animal law issues and will be a valuable addition to the ongoing development of the National Research Library for Animal Advocacy at The John Marshall Law School [Chicago]. It is presently anticipated that the bibliography will be updated online at the website, a project of the National Anti-Vivisection Society. “


  1. Actually, there are 8 law schools offering such a course if the list above is correct. Prof. Myron Gochnauer has been teaching a course titled “Animals,Values and Laws” for at least 4 years at the UNB Faculty of Law.

  2. I think, though I stand to be corrected, that the first course on animal law was given by Vaughan Black some years ago at UBC while he was on sabbatical there.