Animal Law Week 2019

Animal Law Workshop: I bought a sick pet: now what do I do? - Melbourne and Sydney


As part of Law Week 2019, ALI hosted a workshop in Melbourne and Sydney on May 13 to explore how individuals can take legal action against a breeder – without a lawyer - if their pet had an underlying health issue at the time of purchase.  

At the workshop, participants had the opportunity to get answers to key questions, such as:

What are my options?

What are the costs?

What are the steps?

ALI extends its thanks to all volunteer lawyers who assisted with the workshop, our sponsors Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and all attendees who made the event a memorable experience.

Melbourne volunteer lawyers Greta Walters, Avishan Bird, Anastasia Smietanka and Louise McNeil

Melbourne volunteer lawyers Greta Walters, Avishan Bird, Anastasia Smietanka and Louise McNeil

Animal Law Week 2018

Practical Animal Rights: Linking animal ethics and rights theory with legal advocacy — Gold Coast

Barrister Katrina Kluss

Barrister Katrina Kluss

This event explored animal rights theory and ethics and how these can be linked to legal advocacy. Our guest speaker, Queensland barrister Katrina Kluss, is a barrister practising in Brisbane, primarily in the areas of wills and estates, general commercial litigation, and insurance. She holds degrees in Law (Hons) and Psychological Science, and is presently completing her PhD in law at the University of Queensland. Katrina is the Queensland Co-ordinator for the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel, and volunteer counsel for the Animal Law Institute

How much is that sick puppy in the window? Using the Australian Consumer Law to hold puppy farms liable for negligent breeding — Melbourne

Barrister Anastasia Smietanka

Barrister Anastasia Smietanka

The issue of puppy farming and negligent breeding is a hot topic across Australia, attracting increasing media attention and political scrutiny. Consumer law is one important avenue through which animal law can be used to hold negligent breeders to account. An ALI founders, Victorian barrister Anastasia Smietanka delivered a presentation on how consumer law can contribute to increased welfare standards and what progress is being made in this space today.

Anastasia is a co-founder and key litigator of our organisation, and is a barrister at the Victorian Bar. She has been involved in the animal law movement for over seven years with leading organisations including the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel and Voiceless. She is currently also a member of the Legal Advisory Council at Voiceless, and on the Board of a number of animal rescue and foster care charities. She was the National Co-ordinator of the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel from 2012 to 2014 (and prior the Victorian Co-ordinator from 2009 to 2012), and was a speaker at the Voiceless Law Lecture Series in Melbourne 2013. She graduated from a Law/Media degree at the University of Melbourne in 2011 with an honours degree in French. While at the University of Melbourne, she was the President of the University of Melbourne Animal Protection Society. She lives in Melbourne with her four fur babies, an assortment of foster dogs and the occasional piglet. She is the co-founder of the Australia New Zealand Intervarsity Moot on Animal Law.

The complex life of marine animals and the legal fight to save them — Brisbane

During this event, we heard from two leading advocates in marine animal welfare - Dr Jonathan Balcombe and Jordan Sosnowski.

Dr Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

Dr Jonathan Balcombe, PhD

Dr Balcombe is a biologist with a PhD in ethology, the study of animal behavior. He is the author of four popular science books on the inner lives of animals, including Pleasurable Kingdom, Second Nature, and What a Fish Knows, a New York Times best-seller. He has published over 60 scientific papers and book chapters on animal behavior and animal protection. Formerly Department Chair for Animal Studies with the Humane Society University, and Director of Animal Sentience with The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, Jonathan currently serves as Associate Editor for the journal Animal Sentience. He also teaches a course in animal sentience for the Viridis Graduate Institute. Jonathan currently lives in south Florida, where in his spare time he enjoys biking, baking, birding, Bach, and trying to understand the lizards on his patio.

Jordan Sosnowski.

Jordan Sosnowski.

Jordan is the Advocacy Director at Action for Dolphins. She graduated from Monash University with a Master of Laws, Juris Doctor and was admitted as a lawyer in NSW in 2013. Jordan is an Associate Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

Animal Law Week 2017

Policy & Legal Reforms for Prosecutions in Animal Welfare — South Australia 

Ronan O'brien, Legal Counsel, RSpca South Australia

Ronan O'brien, Legal Counsel, RSpca South Australia

RSPCA South Australia has been entrusted to enforce animal welfare laws for more than 100 years. In this presentation, Ronan O'Brien (Legal Counsel, RSPCA South Australia) focussed on the current animal cruelty laws in South Australia, and highlighted the recent prosecutions that the RSPCA has run protecting animal's welfare. This includes investigations into offences under the Animal Welfare Act in relation to organised dog fighting.

Ronan started his career in Canberra working in the Attorney-General’s Department, mainly within Private International Law.  Returning to Adelaide, Ronan worked as a criminal defence lawyer, particularly at the Youth Court, within the Legal Services Commission.

For the past four years, Ronan has been in-house Legal Counsel for RSPCA (SA).  His main duty within this role is to prosecute offences under the Animal Welfare Act which have been investigated by the RSPCA Inspectorate.  During his time there he has prosecuted approximately 300 cases of animal cruelty. 

Licence to Kill: How Our New Wildlife Laws Threaten Animals and Democracy — ACT

This presentation examined recent changes in the regulation of wildlife in NSW and the ACT. The Animal Defenders Office explored why these changes make it easier to harm and harder to defend wild animals, and how the Eastern Grey Kangaroo is the main target of the new measures.

Tara Ward is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Animal Defenders Office. Tara is a member of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (ACT Government), the ANU Animal Ethics Committee, and Voiceless’ Legal Advisory Council. Tara teaches Animal Law at the University of NSW, and is a co-founder and organiser of the Living Green Festival, Canberra’s long-running cruelty-free festival.

Mike Rosalky volunteers as a lawyer and director for the Animal Defenders Office, a not-for-profit animal law centre based in the ACT. Mike assists and advises clients about animal law matters, speaks to groups about the animal law framework in Australia, and advocates for animal law reform through public forums and meetings with ministers. Outside this role, Mike works as a government lawyer.

When Will Animals Get The Justice They Deserve? Panel Session Discussing The Enforcement of Animal Protection Law — Queensland


  1. Dr Steven White – Animal Law Academic, Griffith University

  2. Tracey Jackson – RSPCA Prosecutions Officer

  3. Adrian Braithwaite – QLD Barrister


Adrian Braithwaite (QLD Barrister) has specialised in crime and misconduct law for the past 16 years. He was a solicitor at Gilshenan and Luton Legal Practice for 14 years, 7 as partner, before going to the bar. He conducts both defence and prosecution cases, is on the Commonwealth DPP prosecution panel, and regularly prosecutes for statutory agencies such as the RSPCA. 

Prior to joining Gilshenan and Luton, Adrian worked as a barrister in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and as an investigator with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Adrian was one of the inaugural recipients of specialist accreditation in criminal law by the Queensland Law Society in 2006 and has previously served as a Director of the Queensland Drug and Alcohol Foundation. He presently sits on the Proctor, Specialist Accreditation and Symposium Queensland Law Society committees.

Dr Steven White is a lecturer at Griffith Law School in Brisbane. He teaches property law, foundations of law and animal law. He recently completed a PhD in the area of animal protection law, and has published widely in the field, including edited collections and in leading law reviews. His most recent book was a collection co-edited with Professor Deborah Cao, Animal Law and Welfare: International Perspectives.

Tracey Jackson (RSPCA) has 15 years’ experience in law enforcement, and for almost 10 years specialised in investigation of child abuse and sex offences. She served for 4 years as the Assistant Chief Inspector for RSPCA Qld, spearheading policy development and working collaboratively with executive levels of government in developing key pieces of legislation that have set new national benchmarks in animal welfare law. She worked as a paralegal for 3 years with Couper Geysen – Family and Animal Law, where she dealt with the animal-law matters and RSPCA prosecutions. She has recently returned to RSPCA on a full-time basis as the Prosecutions Officer.

A Commission for Animal Welfare?  — NSW

Dr Jed Goodfellow, a Senior Policy Officer at RSPCA Australia, provided insights on the Productivity Commission’s recent landmark report into the regulation of Australian agriculture and its proposal for the establishment of an Australian Commission for Animal Welfare. Jed’s presentation canvassed the development of the report, its implications for animal welfare policy in Australia, and the likely course of the impending political debate surrounding its recommendations.

Jed has taught Animal Law at Macquarie University on an annual basis since 2012 and recently completed a PhD examining the animal welfare regulatory framework within the Australian agricultural sector. Prior to undertaking his postgraduate research, Jed practiced as a prosecutor for RSPCA South Australia, a solicitor for commercial law firm Clayton Utz, and worked as an inspector for RSPCA Queensland.

Animal Law Week 2016

Animal Law Week was a huge success with over 150 people participating in events all around the country. The numerous issues covered by our speakers, the tireless work of our volunteers, the generosity of our hosts, and importantly the participation of our guests, were a powerful reminder that generating awareness is key to creating change in the law.

Thank you to our speakers, our guests, our hosts and our volunteers for starting a national conversation around the law, its inadequacies, and the many hot-button areas for possible legal reform.

A day in the life of an animal lawyer - Adelaide

The week's first event was  in Adelaide, with Rachael Shaw, Co-Chair of the SA Animal Law Committee, starting the conversation  The event was hosted by the South Australian Law Society, and made possible by the help of the wonderful volunteers Louise and Catherine. 

For more than 10 years, Rachael has worked in a number of jurisdictions around the world. She commenced her overseas experience in London at the UK's leading criminal and civil fraud firm. Rachael then moved to Tennessee in the United States where she assisted with the appeals of indigent death-row inmates. After a year working for the government of Ontario in Canada, Rachael returned to the United States. Rachael worked in Alabama at a law firm that specialised in asbestos litigation. Upon Rachael's return to Australia, she worked at a commercial litigation and private criminal firm. She has been involved in various litigious matters including high profile trials and appeals. In 2015, Rachael was voted by Doyles as a recommended criminal lawyer in Adelaide.

Labelling issues and the law surrounding food products - Sydney  

Katinka Day from Choice and Emmanuel Giuffre of Voiceless spoke in Sydney on the issue of food labelling. In particular, the discussion centred around how current labelling laws fail to protect animals and can mislead consumers.  The event was made possible by our host Allens, and the tireless work of our Director of Community Engagement, Luisa Consiglio. 

Katinka is a campaigner and policy specialist. She is responsible for CHOICE's food and health issues, including free range eggs, health star ratings, country of origin food information and palm oil labelling. Her background is in digital campaiging and marketing, previously working in the animal welfare and food sustainability spaces. Prior to working in the not-for-profit sector, she worked for the Australian Trade Commission and Ernst & Young.

Emmanuel  has been senior legal counsel of Voiceless, the animal protection institute since April 2013. His expertise is in the legal frameworks governing factory farming and the commercial kangaroo industry in Australia, and he regularly lobbies and advises government on the development and implementation of animal welfare policy and law reform in these areas. He is regularly engaged as a media spokesperson on these issues.

The prosecution of animal crimes in the U.S and an overview of criminal animal legislation - Gold Coast

Lora Dunn, ALDF

Lora Dunn, ALDF

Guest international Speaker Lora Dunn of the Animal Legal Defense Fund spoke about the prosecution of animal crimes in the U.S.

As Staff Attorney for ALDF's Criminal Justice Program, Lora Dunn assists prosecutors and law enforcement throughout the country on animal cruelty cases - from research and written support on motions, pleadings and briefs to trainings and presentations. Lora has been instrumental in expanding the Criminal Justice Program's amicus brief work ("friend of the court" briefs), including such seminal cases as State v. Fessenden (exigency exception to the warrant requirement applies to animal victims in emergency situations), and State v. Nix (animals as crime "victims" for sentencing purposes). In 2015, Lora successfully lobbied for an ALDF bill that allows private citizens to enjoin animal cruelty crimes through Oregon's nuisance abatement code. Lora is an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark Law School, where she teaches the Crimes Against Animals course.

Protected Species - Is Law the Answer? - Hobart

Our panel included Professor Jan MacDonald (Professor of Law at UTAS), Peter McGlone (Tasmanian Conservation Trust) and Jess Feehely (Principal Lawyer at the Environment Defender's Office).

Jan specialises in environmental and climate change law. She is president of the National Environmental Law Association and a member of the Australian Panel of Experts in Environmental Law currently working to develop "next generation" environmental laws.

Since 1991, Peter has been working tirelessly to protect biodiversity in Tasmania. He was coordinator of the Threatened Species Network for World Wide Fund for Nature before taking on the role of Director of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust in 2010. The TCT continues to campaign on key biodiversity issues including hunting, reducing roadkill, managing invasive species & regulating land clearing.

As Principal Lawyer with EDO Tasmania, Jess has been involved in a range of significant environmental law cases and law reform activities to protect Tasmania's natural and cultural values. EDO Tasmania provides advice, representation and practical resources to help community members to understand the law and participate in decisions affecting the environment.

Puppy farming and animal law prosecution - Melbourne


With over 50 people in attendance to hear from Allie Jalbert and Daniel Boag of the RSPCA, over vegan canapés and wine, about how prosecuting animal cruelty works in practice, puppy farms and possible law reform to better protect animals.

Allie Jalbert is the Inspectorate Manager at RSPCA VIC. In this role, Allie leads the cruelty investigations and prosecutions at the RSPCA including the RSPCA's investigation into greyhounds and live baiting, and puppy farm investigations and prosecutions. Allie has been working with the RSPCA for 12 years. Originally from California, Allie has always had a passion for working with animals. She previously worked as an Animal Control Officer and in animal cruelty investigations in the USA.

Thank you to our speakers, our guests, our co-host Australia for Dolphins, the Cluster for the venue, and again, ALI's Director of Community Engagement Luisa for everything she did to make these important conversations around Australia happen.

What Can Animal Law Learn from Environmental Law? A National Panel Series

In February, The Animal Law Institute's inaugural panel series brought together thirteen environmental law and animal law academics from across Australia to discuss the lessons animal law can learn from environmental law.

The series featured US environmental law academic Prof. Randall S. Abate of Florida A&M University College of Law, who presented the outcomes from his recently released book, What Can Animal Law Learn From Environmental Law? Professor Abate’s presentation addressed some of the key topics of the book’s coverage, including standing, food law, agricultural practices and climate change, and the need for animal law to establish itself more firmly in international law.

Professor Abate's book brings together a team of more than 20 academics, advocates, and legal professionals from the environmental and animal law fields to examine the experiences of these two fields. Drawing on lessons from history, politics, and the law, the 17-chapter book examines how environmental law's successes and shortcomings can inform animal law, and how the two fields can work together to secure mutual gains in the future.

Panels were held in February 2016 at Bond University (featuring Jackson Walkden-BrownDr Justine Bell-James, Dr Michelle Maloney), Macquarie University (Prof Natalie Klein, Dr Sophie Riley, Dr Jed Goodfellow), the University of Melbourne (Dr Joanna Kyriakakis, Prof Christine Parker, Brendan Sydes, Graeme McEwen), and the University of Tasmania (Dr Tom Baxter, Phillipa McCormack, Jess Feehely).

The Animal Law Institute thanks all the panelists for their participation in, and support for, the series. Special thanks to Panel Series Co-ordinator Meg Good who put the series together!

Panel 2.jpg

The Animal Law Institute's Launch Party

October 2015 saw the official launch of ALI's legal services. The Animal Law Institute is now ready to provide free legal advice to individuals and organisations with an interest in animal welfare and animal protection. ALI is Australia's first national community legal centre dedicated to animals.

ALI Launch.jpg

The Animal Law Institute was joined in launching its legal services by comedian Tom Ballard, who MC'd the event, and our keynote speaker, The Hon. Julie Dodds-Streeton who addressed the issue of 'Tackling Inequality — The Importance of Pro Bono Legal Assistance in Achieving Justice For Animals'.

The Animal Law Institute's October Veg Sausage Sizzle

In October 2015, The Animal Law Institute headed out to Bunnings in Collingwood to cook up a storm to raise some much needed funds. We sold tasty hot dogs and drinks to wash down that vegan goodness. 

2nd Annual Australia New Zealand Intervarsity Moot on Animal Law

In September 2015, law students from across the Tasman squared off against each other at the University of Melbourne in the second edition of the Australia New Zealand Intervarsity Moot on Animal Law!

The second annual Australia New Zealand Intervarsity Moot on Animal Law (ANIMAL), organised by The Animal Law Institute — and proudly sponsored by Voiceless — is the only animal law moot in Australia and New Zealand. The moot competition is open to any student enrolled in a law degree in Australia or New Zealand (either undergraduate or postgraduate) who has not yet been admitted to practice.

ALI congratulates all the teams who competed in 2015. In particular, we congratulate the teams from Flinders University, who took out this year's competition, and The University of Otago, who were runners-up.

The Animal Law Breakfast, 19 August 2015

A sold out event with almost 100 attendees, this year's topic was "Dolphins and the Law - how to use strategic litigation to achieve a political outcome", presented by Jordan Sosnowski, advocacy director at Australia For Dolphins (AFD).

In order to stop the cruel and inhumane capture and slaughter of Taiji Dolphins off the coast of Japan, AFD took an alternative route to traditional animal rights campaigning and brought legal proceedings against the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in the Switzerland. Many aquariums in the Japanese member's network sourced their Dolphins from the Taiji hunts, and so AFD claimed that WAZA had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in allowing such aquariums to hold WAZA membership. 

AFD's instigation of proceedings against WAZA had an amazing result. As other WAZA members where alerted of the practices of Japan's aquariums, they placed pressure on WAZA to do something about it. Subsequently, WAZA suspended Japan's membership. A few weeks later, Japanese aquariums in the WAZA network agreed to stop purchasing dolphins in the Taiji hunts.

Jordan's presentation was both informative and inspiring, demonstrating how an alternative approach to animal welfare advocacy can achieve a successful outcome for the animals.

You can listen to Jordan's presentation below.

Watch the video Jordan was referring to in her talk

See what some of our attendees thought of the breakfast below:

2014 Australia New Zealand Intervarsity Moot on Animal Law

The inaugural ANIMAL was held at Bond University and attended by 14 universities from around Australia. The 2014 competition saw students moot over the granting of a live export licence to an Australian exporter. During the competition weekend, students also had the opportunity to listen to keynote speeches from animal law experts and academics, including Mr Jed Goodfellow (a former prosecutor for the RSPCA South Australia and PhD Candidate at Macquarie University), Mr Emmanuel Giuffre (Legal Counsel for Voiceless) and Ms Shatha Hamade (Legal Counsel for Animals Australia).

The Grand Final of ANIMAL 2014 was won by Bond University over the University of Tasmania. The final judges were The Hon Justice Fraser, QLD Court of Appeal, The Hon Justice Bodice, Supreme Court of QLD and Mr Chris George, Barrister at Law.