The Marriage of Family Law and Animal Rights
The University of Sydney Law School
Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 216-220, 2006
This article examines the problem of 'pet custody', an issue arguably at the forefront of recent international developments in family law, especially in North America. Family pets enjoy a complicated position under Australian family law. On the one hand, their welfare is protected by state animal protection laws. On the other hand, they are inconsistently treated as mere chattels by the family law system when it comes to the disposition of assets following relationship breakdown. It is submitted that the interests of companion animals, and those of their human guardians, would be better served by removing this inconsistency, but not on the basis of a blanket implementation of a 'best interests' model analogous to that used in the resolution of parenting disputes.
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Date posted: May 25, 2010 ; Last revised: August 2, 2010