Giving voice to all creatures
A joint project between the SCU Law School and the Northern Rivers Legal Centre (NRLC) has been awarded $5000 by Voiceless: the Animal Protection Institute.
The project involves developing an animal law unit for SCU students and also for the NRLC to offer education on animal law for the wider community and current members of the legal profession.
“There is growing interest in animal law and growing public awareness around animal welfare and animal rights. The unit will cover a range of issues related to animal law, including live animal exports, animal welfare in domestic and agricultural settings, prosecutions for acts of cruelty, and the regulation of the use of animals in research and animal-related industries. We want to promote a better understanding of how the rights of animals should be respected and reflected at law,” Dr Jennifer Nielsen, Head of the School of Law and Justice, said.
The project is being co-ordinated by SCU lecturer Anne Schillmoller and law student Amber Hall.
“In many respects animal law is as much about humans and our responsibilities... as it is about animals,” Ms Schillmoller said.
“Animal rights is not about legal rights, it is about moral rights,” Ms Hall said. “The right not to suffer, the right not to live in squalor, filth or continuous confinement. Currently animals have no such rights, reduced in legal status to that of a chair, plant or piece of clothing. We have a duty of care to animals of this planet and we think decision makers need to start taking animal protection seriously.
“As some SCU law students will become ministerial legal advisers, parliamentarians and judges it is important they know of the issues facing animals in Australia and the opportunities and roadblocks for legal change.”