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Canadian Perspectives on Animals and the Law

contributions by Peter Sankoff, Vaughan Black, Katie Sykes, Lesli Bisgould, Maneesha Deckha, Sue Donaldson, Sophie Gaillard, Robert Howse, Cameron Jefferies, Eran Kaplinsky, Will Kymlicka, Camille Labchuk, Joanna Langille, Constance MacIntosh, Sarah Runyon, Mary J. Shariff & Angus Taylor

Irwin Law Inc.
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Agricultural, Environmental
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Canadian Perspectives on Animals and the Law provides an important new contribution to the debate on the legal status and treatment of animals in Canada. Twelve chapters by leading academics and practising lawyers address a range of doctrinal and conceptual questions, situating legal analysis in the broader context of ethical and philosophical debate about justice in human-animal relationships. Topics addressed include the Ikea monkey case, key shortcomings in Canada’s animal cruelty law, the relationship between animal rights and the rights of Canada’s indigenous peoples, and the emergence of animal protection in international law. This volume should be invaluable for scholars, practitioners and students eager to explore these matters in greater depth, and an excellent resource for law school courses on animals and the law.

About the authors

Peter Sankoff is a Professor at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law who specializes in animal law, criminal law, and the law of evidence. He is the author or editor of six books, including Animal Law in Australasia: A New Dialogue (Federation Press, 2009) and Animal Law in Australasia: Continuing the Dialogue (Federation Press, 2013). Peter has taught a course on Animals and the Law since 2006, and has also taught the subject as an invited visiting professor at Haifa University in Israel, the University of Melbourne in Australia, Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, and the University of Western Ontario. Peter currently sits on the board of advisors of Animal Justice Canada, a group of Canadian legal advocates working on animal law issues, and is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Animal Law and Natural Resources and the Global Journal of Animal Law. In 2008, while teaching at the University of Auckland, he was the recipient of an Assisi Award from the New Zealand Companion Animal Council for his contributions to animal welfare in New Zealand.


Peter Sankoff's profile page

Vaughan Black (LLB, Toronto; LLM, Berkeley) is a professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, where he has taught for more than thirty years. During that time he has also been the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Transborder Studies at Arizona State University, a visiting scholar at the UCLA School of Law, a visiting professor at the University of Auckland, the James Lewtas Visiting Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School (twice), a lecturer at The Hague Academy of International Law, and the Walter Owen Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. He has served as editor-in-chief of the Dalhousie Law Journal and associate editor of the Canadian Business Law Journal. In addition to numerous law review articles, he has in recent years written Statutory Jurisdiction: The Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act (with Stephen Pitel and Michael Sobkin) (Carswell, 2012) and Foreign Currency Claims in the Conflict of Laws (Hart, 2010).


Vaughan Black's profile page

Katie Sykes (JD, Toronto; LLM, Harvard; LLM, Dalhousie) is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University, and a JSD candidate at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. From 2002 to 2003, she served as law clerk to the Honorable Justice Louis LeBel of the Supreme Court of Canada, and from 2004 to 2010, she was an associate in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She has published on animal law and international law issues in leading journals, including the World Trade Review, the Canadian Yearbook of International Law, and the Animal Law Review.


Katie Sykes' profile page

Lesli Bisgould has been a litigator in Ontario since 1992. She began in the field of civil litigation and then spent ten years in her own practice in animal rights law, the only practice of its kind in Canada. She has written and lectured widely on the subject of animal rights and the law and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, where she instructs a seminar entitled “Introduction to Animals and the Law.” She has argued at every level of court and deputed at every level of government. In recent years, her full-time work has been in the fields of poverty and human rights law. She is currently the barrister at Legal Aid Ontario’s Clinic Resource Office where she assists caseworkers at Ontario’s community legal clinics with their appeals. All the opinions expressed in this book are those of the author alone and not those of Legal Aid Ontario or of the University of Toronto.


Lesli Bisgould's profile page

Maneesha Deckha (BA, McGill; LLB, Toronto; LLM, Columbia) is associate professor of law at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include critical animal law, post-colonial feminist theory, health law, and bioethics. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the McGill Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, Hypatia, the Medical Law Review, and Sexualities. She has received grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In 2006, her seminar on Animals, Culture and the Law received the US Humane Society’s Animal and Society New Course Award. In 2008, she held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University. She is currently completing a book on feminism, post-colonialism, and animal law.


Maneesha Deckha's profile page

Sue Donaldson is an independent researcher and author based in Kingston, Ontario. She is co-author with Will Kymlicka of Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights (Oxford University Press, 2011), which was the winner of the 2013 Book Prize from the Canadian Philosophical Association. Their joint work is developed further in recent articles in Oxford Journal of Legal Studies; Canadian Journal of Political Science; Journal of Social Philosophy; Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review; and Law, Ethics and Philosophy. Her animal rights play, Stirring the Pot, appears in Phaenex: Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture.


Sue Donaldson's profile page

Sophie Gaillard is the lawyer and campaigns manager for the Montreal SPCA’s animal advocacy department. She joined the Montreal SPCA in September 2013, after graduating from the Faculty of Law at McGill University and articling at the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions office in Montreal. Throughout law school, Sophie was actively involved in McGill’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter. She also interned at a number of animal protection organizations, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Animal Justice Canada. In her role as lawyer and campaigns manager for the animal advocacy department, Sophie works closely with the Montreal SPCA’s cruelty investigations department, providing inspectors with legal guidance, as well as acting as a liaison for prosecutors and law enforcement.


Sophie Gaillard's profile page

Robert Howse (LLB, Toronto; LLM, Harvard) is the Lloyd C Nelson Professor of International Law at New York University School of Law. He has been a visiting professor at, among other institutions, Harvard Law School, Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Paris 1 (Pantheon-Sorbonne). His books include Leo Strauss: Man of Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2014), The Regulation of International Trade (with Michael Trebilcock and Antonia Eliason; fourth edition, Routledge, 2013), and The WTO System: Law, Politics & Legitimacy (Cameron May, 2007). He has been a frequent consultant or adviser to government agencies and international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Inter-American Development Bank. He has also been a consultant to investors’ counsel in a number of investor–state arbitrations. Robert is a member of the Board of Advisers of the NYU School of Law Center for Law and Philosophy. He serves on the editorial advisory boards of the London Review of International Law, the Journal of World Investment & Trade, Transnational Legal Theory, and Legal Issues of Economic Integration. He is co-founder of the New York City Working Group on International Economic Law.


Robert Howse's profile page

Cameron Jefferies (LLB, Alberta; LLM, Virginia; SJD, Virginia) is an assistant professor and Borden Ladner Gervais Energy Law Fellow at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law. He specializes in international oceans law and wildlife conservation, and teaches courses in international environmental law, sustainability law, professional responsibility, and Canadian public law. He is the author of a number of articles that examine international and domestic shark conservation, and his doctoral dissertation examines the future of international marine mammal management in light of current legal, scientific, ethical, and cultural considerations. He has also pursued shark conservation by contributing to the global Fin Free movement through education and awareness initiatives and lobbying.


Cameron Jefferies' profile page

Eran Kaplinsky (LLB, Tel Aviv University; LLM, SJD, University of Toronto) is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Alberta. Eran’s scholarship focuses on municipal, planning, and property law. He has taught courses in these areas at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and Université de Sherbrooke, in addition to the University of Alberta. This is his first scholarly contribution in the area of animal law.


Eran Kaplinsky's profile page

Will Kymlicka is the Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University. He is the author of seven books published by Oxford University Press, most recently Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights (2011), co-authored with Sue Donaldson. His previous books include Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (1995) and Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity (2007). In 2013, he delivered the HLA Hart Memorial Lecture at the University of Oxford on Animals and the Frontiers of Citizenship.


Will Kymlicka's profile page

Camille Labchuk (BA (Hons), Mount Allison; JD, Toronto) practises animal rights law in Toronto, and also serves as Director of Legal Advocacy for Animal Justice Canada, Canada’s only animal law advocacy organization. As a lawyer, Camille represents individuals and organizations in animal law cases, defends animal advocates, and seeks out litigation that enhances the interests of animals. As an advocate, Camille’s work includes documenting the commercial seal kill on Canada’s East Coast, exposing suffering on farms, and campaigns against trophy hunting, circuses, zoos, aquariums, shark finning, puppy mills, and more. Camille is a former board member of Mercy for Animals Canada, which investigates conditions on factory farms and promotes compassionate food choices. She is also an executive member of the Ontario Bar Association’s Animal Law Section. She is a frequent lecturer on animal law topics. Before becoming a lawyer, Camille managed communications for Humane Society International/Canada.


Camille Labchuk's profile page

Joanna Langille (BA (Hons), Toronto; MPhil, Oxon; JD, NYU) is a Furman Academic Fellow at New York University School of Law, an SJD candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and a 2014 Trudeau Scholar. From 2011 to 2012, Joanna clerked at the Ontario Court of Appeal. She is currently the Managing Editor of the University of Toronto Law Journal and has published in the Yale Journal of International Law and the NYU Law Review. Joanna is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the New York Bar.


Joanna Langille's profile page

Constance MacIntosh (LLB, Osgoode; MA, Alberta) practised Aboriginal law for several years before joining the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, where she has taught Aboriginal law for a decade. She is currently the Director of Dalhousie’s Health Law Institute. Much of her research is about how Canadian law intersects with the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada. She recently completed work as an expert panel member for the Council of Canadian Academics for a report on Food Security in Northern Canada, and as a member of the Independent Panel advising the Nova Scotia government on hydraulic fracking.


Constance MacIntosh's profile page

Sarah Runyon practises in the field of criminal litigation and appeals with the law firm of Marion & Company. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree at Carleton University, where she was awarded the university’s Senate Medal for outstanding academic achievement. She later obtained her law degree from the University of Victoria, where she received numerous academic accolades, including the JSD Tory Prize for both oral and written advocacy, and served as editor-in-chief of the Appeal law journal. After graduation, Sarah served as law clerk to the British Columbia Supreme Court.


Sarah Runyon's profile page

Mary J Shariff (BSc, Winnipeg; LLB, Manitoba; LLM, Trinity College Dublin; PhD, Trinity College Dublin) is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba. She currently teaches Bioethics and Law and Contract Law in the JD program and Legal Research and Theory in the LLM program. She is a Research Affiliate of the Centre on Aging and the Desautels Centre for Private Enterprise and the Law, both at the University of Manitoba. Her principal area of research is bioethics and law, and her work includes research related to death, aging, palliative care, global bioethics, the environment, and animals. Her works have been published in the McGill Journal of Law and Health, Health Law in Canada and the Canadian Medical Association Journal. She is co-author of the 4th edition of Canadian Medical Law: An Introduction for Physicians, Nurses and Other Health Care Professionals (Carswell, 2013).


Mary J. Shariff's profile page

Angus Taylor (PhD in Social and Political Thought, York University) teaches philosophy at the University of Victoria. He is the author of Animals and Ethics: An Overview of the Philosophical Debate (Broadview Press, 2009).


Angus Taylor's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Given its relative brevity, the book covers an impressive breadth of subject matter. It provides readers with a large amount of substantive material about domestic and international law. This material is presented in a highly accessible and engaging manner overall. Legal discussion is sufficiently but not unnecessarily technical, and more conceptual material is grounded in current and familiar topics. [ . . . ] This book will be of interest to a varied readership given the wide-ranging implications of this area of law. Developments in animal law have a diverse impact on industry development, international and domestic policy, the agricultural industry, local and international businesses, the charitable sector, the entertainment industry (controversies over the Calgary Stampede come to mind), scientific and medical research, and Aboriginal rights claimants. Animals and the Law is a must-read for legal professionals, academics, and students with interests in these areas and in animal law specifically."

Michelle Korpan, Saskatchewan Law Review 2016, Vol. 79

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