LAWGENRL 413 : Animals and the Law


2024 Summer School (1240) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The history, philosophy, and ethics of humanity's treatment of animals; relevant legislation and case law. Topics include: the development of the humane movement; consideration of whether all animals should be treated as property and the justification for such an approach; the development of animal protection legislation and what it does for animals; and the emergence of a concept of Animal Rights; the use of animals in farming, entertainment, research, and in a companion animal context; enforcement and sentencing of animal welfare offending; and international trends and developments in animal law.

Course Overview

This course provides an overview of the legal framework regulating the use and welfare of animals in Aotearoa New Zealand. Topics covered in the course will include:
• introduction to and history of animal welfare regulation in New Zealand
• different philosophical approaches to animal protection
• intersection of animal law with other branches of law, including criminal law, property law, fair trading law and international law
• companion animals
• farmed animals
• animals used for research, testing, and teaching
• animals used in entertainment
• the enforcement and sentencing of animal welfare offences
• international trends and developments in animal welfare law

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: LAW 211 Restriction: LAW 462, LAWGENRL 442

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Laws

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically analyse the legal framework governing the use and welfare of animals in Aotearoa New Zealand and apply theoretical skills and intellectual creativity to formulate recommended solutions to identified problems. (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2 and 5.1)
  2. Evaluate different philosophical perspectives on human-animal relations and their implications for the normative content of animal law. (Capability 1.2 and 4.2)
  3. Identify and apply relevant legislation and case law governing human-animal relations to factual scenarios in order to reach reasoned conclusions. (Capability 3.2, 4.1 and 4.2)
  4. Critically discuss, debate and collaborate to articulate considered opinions on legal principles and reform proposals concerning the treatment of animals under the law. (Capability 6.1 and 7.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 25% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 65% Individual Coursework
Class participation (including participation in group activities, class discussions and in a class debate) 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam
Class participation (including participation in group activities, class discussions and in a class debate)

Workload Expectations

This is a standard 15-point course. There will be around 36 hours of lectures in this course. As a general guide, you should expect a workload of three hours outside of the classroom for each hour spent in class. The guideline for the total workload for this course is 150 hours.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

In-person attendance at lectures is required as there is a class participation element (worth 10% of the overall grade).
Lectures will be available as recordings. However, lectures will include learning activities that may not be picked up on recordings. 
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

There is no prescribed text. Course materials will include case law, legislation, book chapters, and journal articles relevant to the legal framework regulating the use and welfare of animals.
The following textbooks may also assist with your understanding of the topics discussed in class:
1.Neil Wells and Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere Wells on Animal Law (2nd ed, Thomson Reuters, 2018).
 2. Peter Sankoff, Steven White, and Celeste Black (eds) Animal Law in Australasia: Continuing the Dialogue (2nd ed, Federation Press, Sydney, 2013).

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student feedback has been taken into account. 

Other Information

There will be a quiz for students to complete in class. This will not contribute to the student's grade, but is intended to provide feedback on each student's learning progress in advance of the exam.
Students will also be provided with a handout (via Canvas) providing further detail on the assessments for this course.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course director, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a Student Academic and Support Adviser as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2023 10:56 a.m.