1. Global animal law education including professional online training
2. Global Governance and Implementation of animal welfare for co-dependent humans and animals
3. The evolving role and legal accountability of the (veterinary) professional in animal welfare;
4. Understanding “Animal Welfare” and its relevance to global issues including sustainability, climate change, food safety and more;
5. Animal abuse and domestic violence – how to protect and compel change
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The education courses of IAL have been taught in law schools and veterinary schools around the world in face-to-face lectures, seminars and online.
The courses provide you and your team with an understanding of the foundational concepts, development and terminology of animal law in addition to demystifying the legalese of animal welfare legislation and thereby enables you to understand your own and legal obligations. It also gives you an objective, credible and balanced view of the many opinions and stakeholders involved in issues of animal law both domestically and internationally. This enables you to more fully understand today's debates on animal welfare which in turn will put you in a position to sensibly and authoritatively participate in relevant discussions and forums that affect you and your profession.
"I was concerned this course would simply recite the Animal Welfare Act – this was not the case. The course was excellent. It explained the law very well and the information learnt was put in to practice immediately." Jane Taylor, (Animal Health Officer)
"One of the best courses I’ve done in 15 years of Animal Health work". Gill McGregor, (Enforcement Manager)
"I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the course also - and more importantly - how much I have learned. I didn't think I would learn that much that was applicable to a regulatory role but all the agriculture, research and trade material was such a good introduction into areas that can have such a big effect in my field - a light has been turned on. Thanks." Alison Ineson (Veterinarian)
People often make initial assumptions that the discipline of animal law is restricted to considering the conflicts between the interests of animals and humans. While it is true that human interests are frequently prioritised, closer examination also illustrates that humans and animals share many common interests. The One World One Health programme for example, and increasing attention by organisations like the OIE to issues of global implementation of animal welfare standards are indicators that the way forward requires an approach of “humans and animals” rather than “humans or animals”. Conservation, climate change and disease control are examples of contemporary issues that face all living creatures on planet Earth.
Sustainability is another example of a key topic that comes under the heading of global governance which must incorporate a sound and broad understanding of issues of animal welfare. Considerations of sustainability naturally extend to debates regarding the welfare of the factory farmed animal, necessary changes in animal husbandry, and the requirement by humans for safe and traceable food.
Veterinarians today are expected to be more than just good clinicians. They must also have a clear understanding of the expectations of them by the public, their peers and the law. They also need to be familiar with the essentials of animal welfare law as it applies to them. The growth of animal law as a legal discipline coupled with developments such as the recent award in some courts for “emotional damages” has enormous implications for the veterinary profession which largely trades off the relationship between humans and their animals. It means that now, more than ever before, veterinarians are not only expected to know and abide by the law as it applies to them; but are increasingly more likely to have clients asking questions via their lawyer if veterinarians don't.
Most veterinarians are goodhearted individuals who genuinely care about the well-being of their patients and the owners. Veterinarians, like most other professionals also face conflicts in the course of their professional activities. The challenge then is how to protect and enable veterinarians to fulfil their moral, ethical and legal duties regarding contemporary issues such as reporting suspected cases of abuse, resolving inherited disorders, and overcoming dilemmas in prioritising the animals welfare with other interests.
Animal welfare has been described as a concept that extends previous duties regarding animal protection to incorporate positive duties of care based on the concept of the Five Freedoms. Considerable confusion continues to exist between concepts of animal welfare and animal rights, which prevents a large number of people from recognizing that the issue of animal welfare involves a lot more than simple consideration about how to treat an animal.
Animal welfare is multifactorial, multi-disciplinary subject which has enormous relevance to contemporary issues, both nationally and internationally. Although there are a still a few who consider themselves “yet to be convinced” about the importance of animal welfare, even cursory examination reveals that animals play a significant role in society, the environment and the economy. It logically follows that the issue of animal welfare also plays an enormous role in issues of sustainability, climate change, food safety and more.
Understanding the broad interpretation and application of animal welfare is as important to the individual and local business/corporate as it is to national and international bodies, who set future policy, strategy and law in these areas.
In England, statistics show that one man and two women die every week as a result of domestic violence. The problem, at least the parts that can be measured, is estimated to cost the economy 0.04% of English GDP. But problems of domestic violence are not restricted to England - it is an issue that occurs worldwide.
There is substantial evidence that indicates that there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence. For many this science-based research is simply evidence of what common-sense already tells them - that if an individual has a propensity to violence and inflicts mental or physical injury on one living being then they are just as likely to inflict an injury on another living being, whether that be human or animal. As a consequence, abuse of animals has been recognized as a potential indicator of a wider ambit of violence.
With this recognized the question is, how do we apply the research that validates that link by assisting and protecting those who are responsible for detecting and reporting suspected cases of abuse so that meaningful outcomes for both the perpetrator and victim can be implemented.