"Rethinking the Legal Needs of Wild Welfare in Australia"

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Presenter:  Misty Fish, Doctor of Philosophy Candidate, School of Law

Date: Oct 01, 2015

Time: 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Contact person:  The LEBA Research and Postgraduate Office
T: 8946 6156
E: lebaresearch@cdu.edu.au

Location:  Moot Court - Yellow 1.3.48


In Australia, understanding what is ‘animal law’ and how it can be used in the protection of wild animals is becoming increasingly multifaceted, including but not limited to, animal welfare and environmental conservation.  There is minimal research in thinking that animal welfare and environmental conservation can be two sides of the same coin.  As human populations increase, there is argument to suggest that human population increases are resulting in degradation of animal habitats and animal species living within specific habitats.  Encompassing a broad spectrum of approaches, it is proposed that animal law should be thought of as being part of, and encompass, a combination of not only philosophical approaches, rights of animal species and welfare but importantly, conservation.  Conservation and environmental law are not often considered as part of the traditional ‘animal law’ framework which is predominantly designed around animal welfare, however it is proposed that conservation is an essential aspect in ensuring wild animal welfare and contributes to a strong association between the broad spectrum of approaches.

The thesis will contend that wild animal welfare is not being sufficiently protected due to inconsistencies and contradictions between the legislative provisions of animal and environmental law.  A marrying up between both animal and environmental law is necessary so that those laws protecting negative environmental impacts can take into consideration wild animal welfare.  This would extend current animal welfare and environmental laws than the law presently in place.  The research will therefore explore the current state of Australian animal and environmental law, focusing on how these laws interact to wild animal welfare, establish a proposal that rethinking the legal needs of wild animals is necessary in order for their welfare to be better considered and protected in law.  Specifically, the proposal will discuss enforcement provisions, being an area of law which can combine animal and environmental law to represent a connection that these laws are essentially two sides of the same coin, and legally should be enforced and thought of as such.  Further research is recommended to test this proposal from a legal perspective as current research has been predominantly within scientific frameworks.


Misty is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts at Charles Darwin University.  She is interested in researching and analysing animal and environmental law and how changes could be made to adequately protect both areas into the future.  Misty has a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Charles Darwin University and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University.  Misty was admitted to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory as a legal practitioner on 11 December 2012.  Misty’s honours paper titled ‘The Paradox Between Companion Animals Being Considered Property and Legislating for Their Individual Welfare’ was a catalyst for her further research in the area of animal law.  Misty’s research interests are related to animal welfare, environmental studies and studies of human population impacts.  Misty is a volunteer for various animal welfare organisations and is involved in fundraising for research and rehabilitation projects for orangutans in Indonesian Borneo.”