find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Law reform for animals’ sake

Law reform for animals’ sake

AN AREA of law reform is anticipated to take centre stage in Australia, once legal professionals and law reformers realise its importance and their responsibilities, a fund for the protection of…

AN AREA of law reform is anticipated to take centre stage in Australia, once legal professionals and law reformers realise its importance and their responsibilities, a fund for the protection of animals says.

Voiceless, the fund for animals, gave a speech at the Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference 2006 (ALRAC 2006) this week, organised by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC). ALRAC 2006 brought together representatives of law reform agencies internationally for a program of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.

In a presentation based on the title ‘Peering over the gap or daring to close it? Confronting the obstacles to greater justice for nonhuman animals’, Brian Sherman and Katrina Sharman of Voiceless spoke about an area of law reform that is beginning to become important to both the international and Australian communities.

“Lawyers have failed to step up to advocate for animals in Australia and we are questioning the history behind the classification of animals of property that makes the ongoing exploitation acceptable. Just because the laws exist, does that make it right and beyond the realm of questioning?” Sherman, director of Voiceless, asked Lawyers Weekly.

Lawyers have an obligation and a duty to stand up for the rights of animals, Sherman and Sharman argued. “There is a huge number of animals that are put through the process of food production and that suffer a great deal.”

Voiceless was invited to speak in order to present their case to an influential audience of lawyers and law reformers, said Sherman. For the organisation, the aim is to put out a message that “animals have been forgotten in the law and have been suffering a great deal”. Animals need lawyers’ “expertise, their advocacy and their attention”, he said.

“I think the mere fact that we have an audience is extremely important for the social justice movement. We want to enhance the debate and discussion about the condition of animals and of animal rights,” said Sherman.

Sharman added that their organisation is hoping the ALRC will recognise that this is the cutting edge area of law and that animal law is moving into the mainstream. “Animal law is being taught in more than 60 law schools in the United States, including Harvard and Columbia and NYU. The University of New South Wales has taught its course for the second year running. Two law schools in New Zealand have taken up the banner this year as well.

“We are talking about a movement that is really starting to mainstream itself. We are hoping that institutions like the ALRC, and others that lawyers are involved in, will recognise that this is an area that is worthy of academic and practical exploration,” she said.

Speaking prior to the event, Sharman said she will be talking about some of the traditional obstacles to animal rights. “I will be looking at things like the traditional treatment of animals in religion and the scientific classification of animals and how that has helped create an ‘us and them’ mentality. I will be looking at some of the political and economical arguments for keeping animals in the position that they are in at the moment.”

While Sherman admits he is a “layman, not a lawyer”, he said he thinks of law in terms of “ideals of justice, fairness and equality”. “I turn to lawyers and lawmakers to really be the voice of the voiceless. This is about basic rights,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Law reform for animals’ sake
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...