Animal Law Introduction

From the October / November 2013 Issue of Pet Connection Magazine, available here.

by: Rebeka Breder

Animal Law is a new area of legal practice in Canada. It is similar to where Environmental Law was about 20 to 25 years ago. While there have always been some forms of environmental disputes, the term “Environmental Law” really started to be used only at that time. Similarly, wildlife and general animal issues have also always existed, but it is only now that we are starting to hear about the term “Animal Law”. When I was 12 years old, I wanted to be an environmental lawyer. This was not for environmental reasons per se, but I wanted to be a lawyer to help wildlife and animals. At that time, “Animal Law” did not exist (or at least not in Canada), but I can now say that I am on my way to fulfill my true dreams of being an Animal Law lawyer.

What is Animal Law? It should be clear that Animal Law is not animal rights. Animal Law entails both the defence of animals and their rights, as well as what animal rights people would consider the defence or prosecution of “anti-animal rights” types of matters.
Animal Law is a very broad area of legal practice that includes the following:

  • animal custody disputes;
  • condominium – landlord and strata disputes;
  • wildlife issues, including hunting and culls;
  • municipal issues in relation to the keeping of pets, “nuisance” wildlife
  • discrimination laws;
  • animal cruelty;
  • veterinary malpractice cases;
  • providing for pets in wills, enforceable trusts, agreements, etc;
  • boarding or grooming problems;
  • disputes involving breeders and their customers
  • product liability (ie: pet food)
  • dangerous dog” applications;
  • cases involving the wrongful death or injury to a companion animal;
  • consumer fraud.


Did you like this article? Keep an eye out for ‘Veterinary Malpractice’, also by Rebeka Breder, right here in the Pet Connection blog.

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