One immediate goal of the Animal Law & Policy Program is to provide Harvard students with the opportunity to take multiple Animal Law-related courses during their three years at the law school.

Animal Law

Each spring, Prof. Kristen Stilt teaches the primary Animal Law course, which includes attention to comparative and international law as well as religious and cultural issues. The course introduces students to the broad range of laws that affect non-human animals (“animals”), including companion animals, farm animals (with a particular focus on factory farms), animals used in the context of entertainment (such as zoos and aquaria), animals used in scientific experimentation, and wild animals. The course focuses mainly on the U.S. but will also include significant attention to the laws of other countries and to international law.

The course also engages with fundamental questions about animals and the law, such as: Are some animals more deserving of protection than others, and if so, on what basis? What role does culture and belief play in animal law—why are dogs considered pets in the U.S. and food in some parts of the world, for example? Does the status of animals as property pose an insurmountable barrier to increasing protections for animals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts of “animal rights” and “animal welfare”?

In the spring of 2017 the Animal Law course expanded to 3 credits.

Animal Law – HLS Course Catalog

Wildlife Law

The Wildlife Law Seminar will be offered in the Fall of 2018, taught by Jonathan Lovvorn. Mr. Lovvorn taught Wildlife Law at HLS in 2015 and 2016, and also taught a new Farmed Animal Law & Policy course in 2017. He also teaches Animal Law at Yale, NYU and Georgetown Law Schools.

Course Description:

This seminar will explore wildlife law and policy, with a focus on high-profile wildlife conservation disputes, including current controversies surrounding international whaling, captive marine mammals, endangered wolves, and dwindling polar bear populations. The seminar will examine the history and evolution of wildlife conservation law, and highlight the major constitutional, ecological, political, and economic issues that shape wildlife resource protection in the 21st century. The seminar will include an overview of key domestic and international laws protecting wildlife, including the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling. The seminar will also touch on the World Trade Organization and the role of international free trade agreements in both fostering and inhibiting global wildlife conservation.

Wildlife Law – HLS Course Catalog

Farmed Animal Law & Policy

In the fall of 2017 Harvard Law School offered a course on Farmed Animal Law & Policy taught by Jonathan Lovvorn, Senior Vice President & Chief Counsel for Animal Protection Litigation at The Humane Society of the United States. Mr. Lovvorn has taught Harvard Law School’s Wildlife Law course, and also teaches Animal Law at Yale, NYU and Georgetown Law School. This course is expected to be offered again in Fall 2019.

Course Description: 

This seminar will explore farmed animal law and policy, with a focus on high-profile issues concerning the use of animals for food, including current controversies over animal welfare, environmental degradation, public health, consumer protection, worker safety, and climate change. The seminar will examine the history and evolution of animal agriculture from early agrarian domestication to modern industrial farming, and highlight the major ethical, cultural, ecological, social and economic issues that shape farmed animal law and policy in the 21st century. The seminar will include an overview of key laws and regulations concerning farmed animals, as well as an exploration of current legislation, litigation, ballot initiatives and consumer-based campaigns to reform animal agriculture. The seminar will also compare farmed animal laws and regulations in different countries, and touch on the role of international trade agreements in both promoting and preventing legal protections for farmed animals.

Farmed Animal Law & Policy – HLS Course Catalog