By: A. Rivard, J.D. candidate, Pace Law School
What is Animallaw.com?
Animallaw.com is a comprehensive, free website that serves as a resource and clearinghouse for information on animals and the law. The website is available for the benefit of attorneys, law students, engaged constituents and all other animal advocates. Animallaw.com is entirely funded by the National Anti-Vivisection Society and sponsored by The International Institute for Animal Law (IIAL), a not-for-profit organization comprised of internationally renowned attorneys and judges. IIAL provides animal law programs, workshops, online resources such as Animallaw.com and offers grants as well. A disclaimer can be found on IIAL’s site, which states that it is neither licensed to practice animal law nor give legal advice. Rather, the mission of IIAL is to encourage, at the international level, the development of legal scholarship and advocacy skills on behalf of animals and as a result enhance the development of animal protection laws.
Is there Bias?
The International Institute for Animal Law, along with many animal advocates including animal law attorneys believe that increasing animal welfare and rights through the law is the next logical step in the social justice movement. While the news articles available on Animallaw.com may promote this sentiment, the legislative and legal resources are neutral and unbiased.
What is the Value of the Information on Animallaw.com?
Animallaw.com is particularly valuable for globalization purposes. Since the site utilizes a comprehensive online platform for animal law needs, it allows various ideas to be shared, opportunities experienced and ultimately methods to be implemented, internationally. IIAL’s “scope is broad and far-reaching in providing up-to-date resources on all aspects of animal law, whether it concerns stronger enforcement of existing laws, tighter regulations regarding the use of animals, the case for granting fundamental legal rights to animals, or the civil rights of those who defend animals.” Furthermore, the information on this site proves especially valuable for animal law attorneys and other legal practitioners working for non-profit organizations who may not have access to legal databases for purchase. Animallaw.com is also useful for policy makers, interested citizens and academics who wish to incorporate legal research into their writings.
Features on Animallaw.com
Animallaw.com has a concise and simple format organized for ease of use. On the left hand side of the website there is a menu bar, which lists all of the various categories of interest. Among the categories is a section titled, “Using Animal Law,” which explicitly states how to search for both current and pending legislation under the “Search Laws & Legislation” section. The “Model Laws” section of the website is a particularly unique and useful resource area. Local constituents, advocates and policy makers can utilize the model laws to build and create animal legislation within their states. Sample legislation topics include entertainment, hunting and product testing. The “Case Law” section is pretty typical in that it contains pertinent federal and state animal case law arranged by topic and listed alphabetically. However, it is unique in that it contains brief-like summaries instead of case opinions. The “News” section links to current articles pertaining to animal welfare as well as information on upcoming animal law seminars, conferences and symposiums. The “Bibliography” section, which is updated quarterly, contains multiple search bars in order to easily access new resources, like animal law books. Finally, the “Other Animal Law Sites” section links to other websites pertaining to animal law, such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund site and the Animal Legal and Historical Web Center. Attorneys, students and other advocates may find these additional websites beneficial in researching animal law.