What Do Animal Welfare Lawyers Do?


Quick Answer

One aspect of an animal welfare lawyer's job is to ensure that pets, livestock, wildlife and animals used in entertainment are free from cruelty and abuse. They also work with individuals and nonprofit agencies such as the Humane Society to pursue cases of animal abuse and neglect, as well as raise awareness of animal protection laws. Animal welfare lawyers typically don't work directly with animals.

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Full Answer

The requirements for becoming an animal welfare lawyer include obtaining an undergraduate degree and a law degree. Students often need a high grade-point average to help gain acceptance into law school. Classes on legal writing in law school prepare students for litigation to protect animals. After law school, graduates pass the bar exam in their state to become a lawyer. Animal welfare lawyers may be employed by a private practice, join a firm specializing in animal law or work for a nonprofit agency with a mission of defending animals.

The practice of animal law takes into account the fundamental essence of animals; for instance, whether and how they feel pain and whether they experience emotions. Animal law pertains to many types of nonhuman creatures, including companion animals and those used in the entertainment industry, wild animals and those used in medical research and for food. Cases handled by animal lawyers may include pet custody in divorces, housing discrimination, cruelty against performing animals and veterinary malpractice.

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