Regulation of Wild Animal Welfare

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White, Steven
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Deborah Cao & Steven White

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This chapter will address some of the key issues in the regulation of the treatment of wild animals. Given the potential scope of the field of 'wild animal law', the account provided here is necessarily highly circumscribed. The chapter will focus on the interplay between animal welfare and nature conservation legislation and, mostly, terrestrial rather than marine animals. Part Two of this chapter will address the issue of what constitutes a 'wild animal', including the property status of wild animals. Wild animals are traditionally distinguished from domesticated animals, such as companion and farm animals, on the basis that domesticated animals are under the direct control of humans, while animals in the wild are 'free', in the sense of not being subject to ownership. However, this simple dichotomy cannot adequately describe the range of settings in which wild animals may be located. These categories overlap, so that the treatment and property status of the same type of wild animal may fluctuate according to the context (or jurisdiction) in which it is found. Parts Three and Four of this chapter respectively explore the regulation of the welfare of wild animals through the application of animal welfare legislation and nature conservation legislation. While animal welfare legislation focuses on the treatment of individual animals, nature conservation legislation, by and large, is concerned with animal species as elements of the broader environment. Environmental ethics are more influential in a conservation context than animal ethics. Importantly, as will be illustrated through an examination of the different regulation of the treatment of possums in Australia and New Zealand respectively, underlying cultural attitudes have an important bearing on whether animal species are protected or targeted for eradication, with these attitudes sometimes at odds with the ethical implications of animal sentience. Part Five of this chapter explores the ways in which wild animals are used in captivity, briefly examining the regulation of the welfare of wild animals used in zoos and in circuses.

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Animal Law in Australia and New Zealand



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Law and Society

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