AUSTRALIA’S FIRST peer-reviewed animal law journal has been launched by journalist and barrister John Mancy.
The Australian Animal Protection Law Journal is edited by Mancy and published by the Legal Bulletin Service. Volume one was launched late in July and volume two is scheduled for release in December. Mancy hopes it will become a quarterly publication.
All articles are anonymously peer reviewed by animal law experts from Australia and New Zealand, and according to Mancy, it’s the first journal of its kind in Australia. “It’s meant to create a resource for all law affecting animals, and for the discussion of issues — both legal and factual — that affect animals in Australia. That hasn’t been done before,” Mancy said.
Animal rights group Voiceless helped get the project up and running, providing Mancy with a $15,000 grant to assist in the first year. Voiceless’ corporate counsel, Katrina Sharman, has written an article on layer hen housing laws for the first issue.
Mancy said that the journal was instigated to “give animals a further voice”. Animals, he explained, are currently not recognised by the law and lawyers have no standing to appear in court on behalf of them.
“This has enormous problems,” he said. “So there’s a great need for lawyers to find creative ways of nevertheless taking action on behalf of animals, particularly the 500 million animals in Australia that the law does not effectively protect.”
The need is perhaps amplified by the fact that there is now, according to Mancy, clear evidence of a link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans.
“The link … is no longer a matter of supposition; there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “In fact many of the most vicious criminals have started off treating animals with unspeakable cruelty… then they move on to children and women.
“As far as I’m concerned all this needs to be presented to the magistrate and the judiciary so that when a sentence is imposed it’s imposed in full knowledge of the seriousness of the act.”
Mancy hopes to see state animal protection laws amended through the introduction of open standing provisions, to give lawyers the opportunity to act on behalf on animals.
The journal’s cover, which features an animal’s eye with a map of Australia as its pupil, was designed by Christine Townsend who Mancy describes as the “founder” of animal liberation in Australia.