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Animal Law Research



Animal Law is concerned with the rights and welfare of nonhuman animals, as well as the requirements, responsibilities and liabilities associated with keeping or interacting with them.  Under this umbrella are wild animals as well as animals used for food and research, in entertainment, and as companions, pets or service animals.  This guide contains some research recommendations, highlighting key primary sources, secondary sources and current awareness sources. 

Know that you may not find "animal law" as a discrete topic area in research databases.  Instead, you might look to elements of property law, contract law, tort law, criminal law, environmental law, and agriculture and food law.

Piglet and Baby Sheep

"farm animals" by lboren2687

Primary Sources: Cases, Statutes, Regulations and Treaties

Federal legislation

These are among the most researched and cited of animal laws at the federal level:

Congressional Research Service (CRS) and U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports provide additional context on the federal legislation.

State legislation

Secondary Sources: Books, Articles

Using Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are a great place to begin if you're new to animal law research, or to consult later in your research for legal interpretation and analysis. To learn more about different types of secondary sources and how best to use them, visit the following guide:

Selected Treatises and Other Texts

News, Current Awareness, Research and Advocacy


Legal blogs (or "blawgs") are a good way to tap into current conversation.  Here are links to two blog listings:

Research and Advocacy

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Credit and CC License


Thank you to Stephen Wiles and Terri Saint-Amour for their work on the initial version of this guide.

CC License

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included and it is shared in the same manner.