International & Foreign Animal Law Research Guide
This guide helps researchers locate information on animal law in an international and foreign law context focusing on law that addresses welfare issues of companion animals, farm animals and animals used in research.
This guide helps researchers locate information on animal law in an international and foreign law context focusing on law that addresses welfare issues of companion animals, farm animals and animals used in research.
This guide is intended to help researchers locate information on animal law in an international and foreign law context. For help researching U.S. animal law, see our companion guide.
The focus of this guide is primarily on international and foreign law that addresses welfare issues of companion animals, farm animals and animals used in research. In this guide, there is less of a focus on international law for the protection of wildlife and marine animals. Here you will find links and information on international treaties, national laws on animal welfare, EU legislation, case law, books, articles and organizations.
Animal law is a broad subject, with governments and organizations worldwide constantly developing new concepts and approaches to animal welfare. Some issues include:
- the overpopulation of companion animals
- trade in exotic animals as pets
- animal fighting (e.g. dog and cock fighting)
- animal cruelty legislation
- humane transport of farm animals
- use of battery cages and gestation crates
- animal research in the cosmetics industry
- the fur industry
Books on international animal law and related interdisciplinary topics can be found in several places in both Wolff and Williams. If you would like to browse books in Wolff, you can find them at K3620, K3520 to K3525, and KD3424. See our U.S. -focused animal guide for suggestions on locating books in Williams.
Below are some good starting points, but to locate more resources, search the online catalog using keywords to narrow your search results. For example
- Animal Welfare INTL HV4711.A55 2006
This is published by the Council of Europe as part of a series called Ethical Eye and examines the ethical issues, religious viewpoints (from around the world) and the situation in Europe.
- Animal Welfare Law in Britain : Regulation and Responsibility INTL KD3424 .R33 2001
Though a little dated ( laws and regulations have been amended) this presents the background and analysis of key animal welfare law and legislation such as agricultural production, scientific procedures, and domestic pets.
- Animals, Ethics, and Trade : The Challenge of Animal Sentience HV4704.A52 2006 Includes several chapters on animal welfare issues in China, one on India and a section on international animal policy.
- Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures INTL BP134.N3 F65 2006
A general overview of Muslim and Islamic attitudes and philosophies throughout time to the present on such topics as wildlife conservation and religious laws on food.
- Basic Legal Documents on International Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation
INTL K3525.A35 B37 2000
International, regional, European Union and by use of the animal agreements are grouped together along with some brief annotations and ratification information.
- Compassionate Beasts : The Quest for Animal Rights HV4764 .M86 2001
Includes the chapter "Multi-Issue Advocacy in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia".
- In Defense of Animals : The Second Wave HV4711 .I6 2006
Includes the chapter "How Austria Achieved a Historic Breakthrough for Animals".
- The international handbook of animal abuse and cruelty : theory, research, and application INTL HV4708 .I57 2008
Covers a wide range of jurisdictions (Australia, Japan, Italy) as well as human animal relationships (domestic violence , child development, hoarding).
- Livestock, Ethics, and Quality of Life SF140.S62 L58 2000 Includes chapters on Asia, Latin America and Africa.
- The no-nonsense guide to animal rights HV4708 .G73 2006
An accessible introduction to a general history of animal rights in the West, plus a chapter comparing the treatment of animals world wide with an appendix at the end which list the major regional and international organization concerned with animal welfare.
- The WTO, Animals and PPMs INTL K3620 .N54 2007
Though more focused on the process and production methods (PPMs) in the international trade context there is a chapter on animal welfare.
Currently, there is no worldwide treaty governing the protection of animal welfare.
In 1978 UNESCO was presented the Universal Declaration of Animal rights. More recently animal welfare organizations (such as the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the ASPCA) are leading a campaign to gather 10 million signatures to present to the United Nations along with the text of a "Universal Declaration for the Welfare of Animals (UDWA)" There have been two animal welfare conferences which have produced two different text of the UDWA (Manila 2003) and the UDWA(Costa Rica 2005). They are still in the process of promoting the adoption of UDWA.
In addition to UDWA , another proposed text is the "International Convention for the Protection of Animals" [from Animal Legal & Historical Center]. For further discussion, see "Movement Toward an International Convention for the Protection of Animals - The Further Adventures of Four Rabbits" in Animal Welfare and the Law INTL KD3424.A75 A53 1989.
The European Union has regional treaties on certain issues relating to animal welfare for a further discussion please see the section below on E.U. treaties
Usually, the best place to start research on foreign legislation is the Foreign Law Guide. The Foreign Law Guide is arranged by country and outlines major laws on a given subject. The subject "Animals and Animal Welfare" is included for each of the jurisdictions, but this relevant subject is blank for the majority of jurisdictions. Since the Foreign Law Guide is not a viable source for information on animal law, you may have to turn to the Internet and to secondary sources such as journal articles and books to locate foreign legislation on the topic. Be aware that you may only find summaries of laws, or that a reliable English-language translation may not be available.
WorldLII, while not having materials for all countries, can sometime have case law and legislation as well as links to other relevant resources. There is no subject heading for animals, however sometimes within a jurisdiction or a topic there is relevant information (e.g. in the Mexican legal research guide there is mention of the Protections of Animals Act.) In addition, if you click on advance search you can search by "All Legislation Databases".
Animal welfare legislation from various countries can be found scattered across various websites. The "World Materials" page of the Animal Legal and Historical Center is one example of a site that collects laws from several countries. Below is a list of national laws on animal welfare that are written in English, have been translated into English, or have English summaries. Please note how current the laws below are, will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so they are best thought of as a starting point to be updated by further research.
- Austria: Federal Act on the Protection of Animals (Animal Protection Act - TSchG) (Austrian Federal Chancellery)
- Bermuda: Care and Protection of Animals Act 1975 (Bermuda SPCA)
- Brazil: Constitution Article 225 sec. VII (International Constitutional Law); Federal Decree on Anti-Cruelty (Animal Legal & Historical Center)
- British Virgin Islands: Protection of Animals Act Chapter 94 in The Revised Laws of the Virgin Islands (only in print) amendments published in the official gazette14th April 2005 (only in print)
- Canada: Criminal Code §446 Cruelty to Animals (CanLII) Note: federal legislation.
- Costa Rica: Animals Welfare (GLIN) Note: English summary; Spanish full text
- Croatia: Animal Welfare Act from 1999 (Animal Friends Croatia)
- Fiji: Animals (Control of Experiments) Act (PacLII)
- France: Penal Code Article 521-1 Serious Maltreatment or Acts of Cruelty Toward Animals (Legifrance)
- Germany: Animal Welfare Act (Animal Legal & Historical Center) has been revised on May 18, 2006 (in German)
- India: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 ( The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) (India))
- Ireland: Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act, 1965 (BAILII)
- Jamaica: Cruelty to Animals Act (Supreme Court of Jamaica)
- Malaysia: Animal Act of 1953 Revised by Act 647 of 2006 Also included the Declaration of Animal and Bird Disease (Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia)
- Malta: Animal Welfare Act (CommonLII)
- Myanmar: Animal Health and Development Law (FAO- Animal Production and Health Division )
- New Zealand: Animal Welfare Act of 1999 (New Zealand Legislation PAL Project)
- Norway: Animal Welfare Act (The Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food) the new act entered into force January 1, 2010
- Papua New Guinea: Animals Act 1952 & Animals Regulation 1967 (PacLII)
- Peru: Protection of Domestic Animals (GLIN) Note: English summary; Spanish full text
- Philippines: Animal Welfare Act of 1998 (International Wildlife Law Project)
- Poland: Animal Protection Act (Animal Legal & Historical Center)
- Portugal: Protection of Animals Law (Animal Legal & Historical Center)
- Romania: Law no. 205 on the Protection of Animals (GLIN) Note: English summary; Romanian full text; Law no. 305 to Ratify the European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experiments and Other Scientific Purposes (GLIN) Note: English summary; Romanian full text
- Solomon Islands: Animals (Control of Experiments) Act (PacLII)
- South Africa: Animal Protection Act (Animal Legal & Historical Center)
- South Korea: Korea Animal Protection Law (International Aid for Korean Animals)
- Sweden: Animal Welfare Act Animal Welfare Ordinance (Government Offices of Sweden)
- Switzerland: Federal Act on Animal Protection of March 9, 1978 (Animal Legal & Historical Center)
- Taiwan: Animal Protection Law (Animal Legal & Historical Center) and Animals Protection Law (GLIN) Note: English summary; Chinese full text ; Amendments to Animals Protection Law - 17 May 2000, 17 January 2001, 21 December 2001, 7 January 2004, 11 July 2007 , ,16 January 2008 , 27 January 2010 (GLIN) Note: English summaries; Chinese full texts.
- Tongo: Pounds and Animals Act (PacLII)
- Uganda: Animals (Prevention of Cruelty) Act (Uganda Law Reform Commission) Note: Uganda Laws Online(Georgetown Law only - requires password)
- United Kingdom: Animal Cruelty Laws (Animal Legal & Historical Center)
- Uruguay: Treatment of Animal Genetics (GLIN) Note: English summary only
- Vanuatu: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PacLII)
- Zambia: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (available through the International Portal on Food Safety, Animal and Plant Health)
Foreign case law can be more challenging to locate than foreign legislation. You may not be able to locate an English translation of a foreign decision.
In many countries, court decisions are not considered primary law and there may not be any official publication of decisions. Also, in some countries, only the country's highest court will issue its decisions. Periodicals and journals may be the best source for decisions--in fact, in many countries, legal periodicals act as unofficial sources for case decisions. Periodicals can also be used to find case summaries and citations to new case law.
If you have the citation to a foreign decision and cannot decipher the abbreviation for the case reporter, try the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations online or Index to legal citations and abbreviations INTL K85 .R3 2008
Below are selected print and electronic sources for foreign case law. For more guidance on locating foreign law cases, please see our Foreign & Comparative Law Research Guide.
- Foreign Law Guide (Georgetown Law Only) This is the best source to find out the name(s) of the official reporter for a country. Choose the jurisdiction, then look under "Court Reports."
- International Law Reports INTL KZ199.I58
- Law Reports of the Commonwealth INTL K3165.A495 L38
- Lexis (Georgetown Law Only) Currently, you must log into Lexis Advance, select the research tab at the top left of the page, and then select Lexis.com from the drop down menu to access foreign laws on Lexis. Once you reach classic Lexis, you can reach each country's information by following the pathways listed below. Lexis provides updated coverage of legislation from the following countries:
- Canada Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Canada > Legislation & Regulations > Federal > Consolidated Statutes of Canada
- China Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > China & Hong Kong > Legislation & Regulations > LexisNexis China Law Database
- Hong Kong Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > China & Hong Kong > Legislation & Regulations > Laws of Hong Kong
- Malaysia Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Statutes of Malaysia
- Mexico Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Mexico > Legislacion (Legislation) > Leyes Federales - Federal laws
- Puerto Rico Legal > States Legal - U.S. > Puerto Rico > Find Statutes, Regulations, Administrative Materials & Court Rules
- Russia Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Russian Federation > Russian Legal Texts
- Scotland Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Statutes of Scotland
- South Africa Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Butterworths Statutes of South Africa
- U.K. Legal > Find Laws by Country or Region > Commonwealth > Legislation & Regulations > Statutes of England & Wales
- Westlaw (Georgetown Law Only) provides coverage of legislation from the following countries:
- WorldLII : Countries
Provides links to courts or case law for many jurisdictions. There is no subject heading for animals however sometimes within a jurisdiction or a topic there is relevant information. Also if you click on "Advanced Search" you can search "All Case Law Databases"
- Global Courts
Is a portal that provides access to Supreme Court decisions of 105 countries, or a way of finding them.
- Manupatra (Georgetown Law only - password required)
Law of India database. It provides full text of Indian law in PDF format, including case law, legislation, regulations, ordinances, bills, and some secondary material.
- World Law Guide: Courts / Cases
Most useful if you can read the official language of the jurisdiction you are researching and have a good idea of which court the case is in, as this list links to courts for many jurisdiction of the world.
The E.U. has taken active approach to the many different aspects of animal law, since legislation on farm animal welfare was first adopted in 1974. The information below is focused on welfare issues of companion animals, farm animals and animals used in research; excluded are legal materials which focus on conservation and preservation. For more information on locating materials on those topics try our International Environmental Law Research Guide. In addition, in our European Union Research guide, you can find more general guidance on doing legal research for E.U..
In November 2009, an independent external evaluation of the current E.U. policy on Animal Welfare (EU PAW) was created. There is also the Community Action Plan on the Protection which is charged with coordinating, promoting and improving the E.U. policies on animal welfare. Created in 2006, when they have posted they have posted most of their working papers online. An excellent place for an overview of the international coordinating, creating and obligations of E.U. policies on animal welfare, is from the International Animal Welfare Issues section of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection.
Below is a listing the major E.U. treaties, directives and regulations on animal welfare issues, please note this not an exhaustive list of all the possible laws and regulations which could apply to animal welfare issues. Be sure to update your research!
The European Union has several regional treaties governing the protection of animals in transport, farming and experimentation.
- European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals
- European Convention for the Protection of Animals During International Transport (1968)
- Additional Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Animals During International Transport (1979)
- European Convention on the Protection of Animals During International Transport (Revised)
- European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes
- Protocol of Amendment to the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes
- European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter
- European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes
- Protocol on Protection and Welfare of Animals; a protocol of the Treaty of Amsterdam Amending the Treaty on European Union (Amsterdam Treaty)
An excellent source to check for current issues and proposed EU legislation on animal law is the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection. For example, there is a section on Animal Welfare which provides an excellent starting point for knowing which agencies are responsible for which type of legislation and enforcement. There are also surveys of public opinion and policy objectives. On the DG's site you can find, for example, the proposed regulation on the banning of the import, export and sale of dog and cat fur in the EU.
For more EU legislation on animal protection, see this list from EUR-Lex. [Hint: EUR-Lex is the top online source for researching existing EU legislation, while †IL, the Legislative Observatory and Pre-Lex are two places to search for proposed law.] See our research guide on the EU for more detailed information
Below are some of the key EU directives on farming animals, transport and animal experimentation. Be sure to update your research!
- Council Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs [this codified version repeals Council Directives 91/630, 2001/88 and 2001/93].
- Council Directive 2008/119/EEC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves [this codified version repeals Council Directives 91/629 and 97/2 and Commission Decision 97/182].
- Council Directive 2007/43/EC of 28 June 2007 laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production.
- Council Directive 1999/74/EC of 19 July 1999 Laying Down Minimum Standards for the Protection of Laying Hens.
- Council Directive 97/2/EC of January 1997 amending Directive 91/629/EEC Laying Down Minimum Standards for the Protection of Calves.
- Commission Directive 2001/93/EC of 9 November 2001 amending Directive 91/630/EEC Laying Down Minimum Standards for the Protection of Pigs.
- Council Directive 93/119/EC of 22 December 1993 on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Slaughter or Killing.
- Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 Concerning the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes.
- Council Directive 95/29/EC of 29 June 1995 amending Directive 90/628/EEC Concerning the Protection of Animals During Transport.
- Council Regulation (EC) No. 1255/97 of 25 June 1997 concerning Community Criteria for Staging Points and Amending the Route Plan Referred to in the Annex to Directive 91/628/EEC.
- Council Regulation (EC) 411/98 of 16 February 1998 on additional animal protection standards applicable to road vehicles used for the carriage of livestock on journeys exceeding eight hours.
- Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004, on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97.
- Council Directive 76/768/EEC of 27 July 1976 on the Approximation of the Laws of the Member States Relating to Cosmetic Products; this directive has been amended many times, including most recently Commission Directive 2006/78/EEC of 29 September 2006 amending Council Directive 76/768/EEC, concerning cosmetic products, for the purposes of adapting Annex II thereto to technical progress.
- Commission Directive 1999/11/EC of 8 March 1999 adapting to technical progress the principles of good laboratory practice as specified in Council Directive 87/18/EEC on the harmonisation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the application of the principles of good laboratory practice and the verification of their applications for tests on chemical substances.
- Commission Directive 1999/12/EC of 8 March 1999 adapting to technical progress for the second time the Annex to Council Directive 88/320/EEC on the inspection and verification of good laboratory practice.
- Directive 2003/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2003 amending Council Directive 86/609/EEC of the Approximation of Laws, Regulations, and Administrative Provisions of the Member States Regarding the Protection of Animals Used for Experimental and Other Scientific Purposes.
- European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EcVam) was created under Directive 86/609/EEC to be the main coordinator, liaison and resource for E.U. alternative test methods, their database (free but you have to create an account) has extensive technical information on many different kinds of alternative test methods including regulatory acceptance.
- Commission Recommendation of 18 June 2007 on guidelines for the accommodation and care of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes.
Periodical literature is a good way to obtain background information, locate the text of a foreign law, a citation, or locate information about a subject. Westlaw and Lexis provide excellent coverage of U.S. law reviews, but you should consider expanding your journal research to foreign journals and indexes for more comprehensive and global coverage. For information on other journal databases, see our Using Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research for a complete list.
In addition, see our guide on Locating Journal Articles: Foreign & International, as there are foreign and international law journals databases linked to, as another way to research this topic in the foreign and international law context. Since animal welfare is topically interdisciplinary, try our online catalog as another option for searching for what materials are available both electronically and in print.
If you already have a citation and would like to read the article, simply type the journal name as a title search in the library catalog. The results will tell you if we have print, electronic, or both. Be sure to check coverage dates or volume numbers to determine if your particular volume or issue is available. If the library does not have the journal article, you may request the article through interlibrary loan and we will ask another library to make a photocopy.
Articles on international/foreign law aspects of animal law can be found published in a number of sources, including many American law journals. You may find relevant articles in journals that do not otherwise focus on international or foreign law topics. For example, the journal Animal Law in print K1 .N4575 and available online includes both articles with an American law focus as well as those with an international/foreign law focus.
Below are listed a few of the most commonly used resources for locating articles on animal welfare in the foreign and international law context.
- Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) (Georgetown Law Only).
A multilingual index to articles and book reviews appearing in approximately 490 legal journals published worldwide. Online access from 1985 to the present. Please note while this is not a full text database interlibrary loan can obtain many of the articles if a copy is not available at any of the Georgetown libraries. This is the best resource to search for foreign language legal journal articles.
- Cambridge University Press Journals (Georgetown only)
This full-text database offers both legal and non-legal journals published by Cambridge University. We suggest using advanced searching and you can limit by selecting "law" from the subject list. Titles include Cambridge Law Journal, Journal of African Law, World Trade Review, Legal Theory, and much more.
- Oxford University Press (Georgetown only)
Full-text database of both legal and non-legal journals published by Oxford University. You can limit to a particular journal or to the subject law. Journal titles include Chinese Journal of International Law, International Journal of Law and Information Technology, International Journal of Transitional Justice, American Law and Economics Review, and much more. Online access to many of the frequently-cited Oxford journals.
There are many organizations worldwide that monitor or advocate for law on animal welfare issues. Some organizations post relevant laws to their websites, others produce reports or other documents on various issues. Surveying the websites of animal welfare organizations is a good way to find out what are some of the hottest issues -- always good topics for seminar papers!
- Animal Defense Fund
Through their press releases and blog tab, though U.S. focused, there is mention of foreign and international issues and laws related to animals.
- CIFW (Compassion in World Farming)
Based in the U.K. this organization focuses on human farming practices through out the E.U. with sister organizations in South Africa, France and the Netherlands
- Eurogroup for Animals
Is a coordinator for many animal welfare groups to offer commentary on to various E.U. institutions on animal welfare issues.
- European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE)
Organizes the campaigning and lobbying by many different animal welfare groups for a ban on scientific testing on animals in Europe.
- Gateway to Farm Animal Welfare
Is part of the The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In their "whats new" section on their home page they include information on relevant websites. Their document section includes national legislation from around the world as well as links to publications, scientific and technical papers as well as codes of practice and recommendations.
- Humane Society International
The international arm of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has a section on Animal Cruelty Around the World and another section on global and regional Policy and Trade issues.
- International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Has digitized their magazine which does not have a lot of legal information about the issues, but is a good place to learn where there are major campaigns or actions in response to animal issues through out the world. They also have a blog which covers animal issues internationally.
- World Society for the Protection of Animals
This world organization has a latest news section as well as interactive world map of animal welfare issues.
- POSTNote Animal Procedures
The U.K. Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology publishes short briefing notes (POSTnotes) this note from 2001 outlines the law and trends on the use of animals in scientific research in a brief and accessible way.
- The Institute for Critical Animal studies (ICAS) publishes an online only journal of general scholarly work on animal welfare issues
- Transatlantic Animal Welfare Council (TAWC) currently hosted by Eurogroup for Animals was launched on April 29, 2010 is an ad hoc committee to help promote legislative harmonization in the U.S. and E.U. of animal welfare law and policy. This declaration lists their goals and which organizations are involved.
Link update 7/13 (hec)
Revised 5/10 (ras)
Links revised 8/08 (ras)
Revised 5/07 (aeb)
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