Briefcase: Animal Law

Guest: Sarah Morath


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As the public's attitudes change toward the treatment of animals, so has the law. Sarah Morath, with the University of Houston Law Center, researches the legal issues related to animals and explained how animals treated by the law.

"Even though many people love animals like family members, animals are still considered property under the law," Professor Morath said. "Laws regulating the treatment of animals vary depending on the category pets, wild animals, and agricultural animals. For example, Connecticut allows abused pets to have legal representation. Yet, agricultural animals are exempt from state animal cruelty laws."

And Morath says the legal profession's view of animals keeps evolving. "Over 150 law schools offer a course in animal law," she said. "With research on the existence of animal emotions, and the connections between animal abuse and violence against people, animal welfare has become an increasingly important issue."