Aust grant to develop animal law course

January 30, 2010

Amber Hall receives a Voiceless award from co-founder and managing director Brian Sherman, left, and Voiceless ambassador Hugo Weaving.

A grant to Australia's Southern Cross University will help its law school develop the country's first animal law unit available by distance education.

Southern Cross University's School of Law and Justice received the $A5000 grant from the Animal Protection Institute, Voiceless, for the animal law education project.

The project is a partnership between the School of Law and Justice and the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre. It is being led by law lecturer Anne Schillmoller and Southern Cross University law student Amber Hall.

Head of the School of Law and Justice, Dr Jennifer Nielsen, said she was excited about the project.

"We will be the first law school to develop an animal law unit that will be available by distance education," Dr Nielsen said.

"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."

Project supervisor Anne Schillmoller said that animal law education was vital to raise awareness of issues relating to human-animal interactions.

"In many respects 'animal law' is as much about humans and our responsibilities towards non-human others, as it is about animals," Ms Schillmoller said.