Mitchell | Hamline School of Law
Course Information Pages

Animal Law (4700)

The field of animal law has grown exponentially in recent years, capturing the attention of practioners and academicians as well as the general public. Far from being a homogeneous area of study, animal law draws from and impacts many facets of "traditional" legal practice. This course will explore how animal-law issues are pushing courts and legislatures to consider hybrid applications of law covering a variety of practice areas. Examples include awarding damages for emotional distress and loss of companionship in tort law; applying the "best interests" standard to animals in family law; patenting of various life forms in intellectual-property law; and using pet trusts in estate planning. In this class, we will look at animal-related legal issues touching on these and other legal areas, including criminal law, constitutional law, contracts and property. In addition to analyzing cases, we will address key federal statutes such as the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Students will be able to identify current trends in animal law and potential areas of development both nationally and internationally. They will be able to apply sound legal analysis and presentation skills to legal issues related to animals.

The course will utilize a combination of teaching techniques: case study discussions, short in-class writing exercises, mock negotiations, student and instructor presentations, guest lecturers, and panel discussions, Our approach is to provide a learning environment that encourages active student engagement through interactive exercises, student presentations, and individual explorations.

This course would be limited to 18 participants, including auditors, in order to maximize participation and discussion opportunities.

Grading: One short case analysis, presented orally (20%); 12-15 page course paper (60%); class participation (20%).

Credits: 2

Offered: e/o Fall

Subject Areas: Constitutional Law and Civil Rights, Real Estate Law, Torts

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