What Can Animal Law Learn From Environmental Law?

What Can Animal Law Learn From Environmental Law?
Randall S. Abate
Release Date

Out of print


This book is out of print. Please refer to the second edition.

This book, edited by Prof. Randall S. Abate of Monmouth University, seeks to fill the gap between the complex legal issues that matter most to the environmental law and animal law movements. Environmental law, with its intricate layers of international, federal, state, and local laws, has a longer history and is more established than its animal law counterpart. Yet, animal law faces many of the same legal and strategic challenges that environmental law faced in seeking to establish a more secure foothold in the United States and abroad. As such, animal law stands to gain valuable insights from the lessons of the environmental law movement’s experience in confronting those challenges.

The 17 chapters contained in this book compare the very different trajectories of the two movements’ regulatory histories and examine the legal intersections that may exist across them. Professor Abate draws on the talents of 22 experts from academia, the nonprofit community, and the legal profession to examine the ways in which animal rights and welfare law can benefit from lessons learned in the environmental field. Providing various contexts and perspectives from U.S. law, foreign domestic law, and international law, the book addresses a myriad of substantive issues, including climate change, international trade, agriculture, invasive species, lead pollution, and fisheries management, as well as procedural issues, such as standing and damages. The book concludes with a vision for the future on how animal law can learn from environmental law and how the two movements can better coordinate their common objectives.

Check out Professor Abate's conversation with Jenifer Varzaly in Episode 21 of Law Matters

About the Author

Randall S. Abate is the inaugural Rechnitz Family Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy and a Professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology at Monmouth University. He teaches courses in domestic and international environmental law, constitutional law, and animal law. Professor Abate joined the Monmouth faculty in 2018 with 24 years of full-time law teaching experience at six U.S. law schools, most recently as a Professor of Law from 2009-2018 at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida, where he also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2017. He has also taught at Florida State University College of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, Rutgers School of Law (Camden), Widener University School of Law (Harrisburg), and Vermont Law School. 

Professor Abate has taught international and comparative law courses—and delivered lecture series—on environmental and animal law topics in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Vanuatu. In April 2014, he taught a Climate Change Law and Justice course at the National Law Academy in Odessa, Ukraine on a Fulbright Specialist grant. Professor Abate has delivered invited lectures on climate justice and animal law topics at several of the top law schools in the world, including Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, and Seoul National University.

Professor Abate has published five books—and more than thirty law journal articles and book chapters—on environmental and animal law topics, with a recent emphasis on climate change law and justice. Early in his career, Professor Abate handled environmental law matters at two law firms in Manhattan.

Book Reviews

“This is a path-breaking collection of thoughtful essays on the relationship between traditional environmental law and the emerging law of animal rights and welfare. Indeed, these closely reasoned accounts show how intertwined are the strands of law that comprise these seemingly disparate fields. In a human-dominated world, the book is a useful reminder that hubris can lead to catastrophe for all forms of life on earth.”

—Patrick Parenteau, Professor of Law and Senior Counsel of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Vermont Law School


“Professor Abate’s book provides a thoughtful and compelling answer to the question the title poses: a great deal. The book exhaustively surveys a wide range of connections between environmental law and animal law, from ethics to standing to trade in wildlife, and the chapters are both readable and provocative. The book will be an excellent resource for students and practitioners alike.”

 —John Dernbach, Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, Widener Law School


“Always up for a challenge, Professor Abate has gathered together an impressive group of Animal Law experts and asked them to climb a very steep mountain—the one that has long stood between animal law and environmental law. For the novice, this text provides valuable basic material to introduce one to both fields. For the scholar or law teacher, it goes so much further, delving into the sources and consequences of this long-standing divide and seeking opportunities for collaboration. This is an important collection of insights whether for interested readers or as a secondary text for animal law courses.”

—Kalyani Robbins, Associate Professor of Law, Florida International University College of Law


"Randall Abate has assembled an impressive collection of experts to discuss the many facets of Animal and Environmental Law. I have discussed the interrelationship between Animal and Environmental Law for several years in my Animal Law classes. I look forward to using What Can Animal Law Learn from Environmental Law? to bring new insights and topics of conversation to my future classes. Job well done!"

—Alan S. Nemeth, Founder and Executive Director, Vegan Trade Council; Adjunct Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law and University of Baltimore School of Law


"This comprehensive and thoughtful text represents a much needed treatise providing an effective means by which to conceptualize a path forward in the field of animal law. The far ranging collection of essays considers the many facets that affect the field providing discussion of the rights of all animals, including endangered species and those raised for food production.  This book is a must read for anyone studying animal law or using the law to advocate for animal rights."

—Laurie Beyranevand, Associate Professor of Law, Associate Director of the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School


“This book contains a valuable, well-written, and incisive collection of essays by outstanding experts in the fields of environmental and animal law. It deserves a place on the bookshelves of all animal rights and environmental law attorneys and anyone else who believes that our natural surroundings, and the living crea­tures which inhabit it, deserve to be valued and protected.”

—Joel Mintz, Professor of Law, Nova Southeastern University Law Center


“Professor Abate’s book is an extremely valuable contribution. It’s an excellent compendium of environmental laws and treaties pertinent to animal welfare, as well as lessons that the more developed field of environmental law may present for the emerging field of animal law.”

—Dr. Wil Burns, Co-Executive Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, A Scholarly Initia­tive of the School of International Service, American University


“Environmental law and animal law are, in the grand scheme of things, both relatively new fields of study and practice. That said, they continue to be rapidly developed and advanced by dedicated lawyers committed to improving the situa­tion for our voiceless co-inhabitants of the Earth, and for the Earth itself. Professor Abate’s latest effort successfully bridges the gap between environmental law and animal law and explores the synergies that may help expedite the progression of both disciplines. Ultimately and powerfully, this work leaves the reader question­ing the merits of keeping environmental law and animal law distinct given the state of our natural world.”

—Cameron Jefferies, Assistant Professor of Law, Borden Ladner Gervais Energy Law Fellow,University of Alberta Faculty of Law


"This collection facilitates scholarly collaboration between the fields of envi­ronmental law and animal law—a worthy, necessary, and timely endeavour. Although the book’s primary focus is on U.S. domestic law, it is relevant for all jurisdictions grappling with the complicated issues surrounding protection of the natural environment and our evolutionary friends. Whilst conflicts may arise between the two fields, both share the common challenge of using the law to pro­tect entities that are unable to directly speak for themselves. It is contributions like this collection that will enable animal and environmental lawyers to commence a rich conversation on how to best achieve justice in their respective contexts.”

—Dr. Jeffrey McGee,  Senior Lecturer in Climate Change, Marine and Antarctic Law, University of Tasmania, Australia, and Meg Good, Director of Education, Animal Law Institute of Australia


"A major success of this volume is its balance, which makes it a useful resource for animal law specialists as well as a much broader audience. The volume impressively manages to be both accessible and thorough. From synthesized, narrative histories of the major developments in environmental law and animal law, to detailed case studies of emerging issues, the volume has something valuable to offer at all levels, making it helpful to teachers, researchers, advocates, or even those just generally curious about either environmental law or animal law. Moreover, with subject matter ranging from fisheries to meat labelling to endangered species to circus animals, and with legal contexts stretching from administrative law to standing to international trade, it has enough variety to remain engaging for less specialized readers, while still maintaining a unity and coherence sufficient to give broader insights for evaluating the future of animal law, whether in policymaking, advocacy, or litigation."

—Michael Pappas, Associate Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law


"This book ties together animal and environmental law like the DNA double helix. Two complementary legal provinces bound together to form a double helical structure, both seeking to undo humankind’s continual destruction of mother earth.  We learn how Detroit’s big three pushed the Clean Air Act’s legislative agenda off the table and because of agency capture were able to successfully do battle with the U.S. EPA, in order to maintain the air lousy with an alphabet soup of chemicals harmful to both human and animals; and then the massive amounts of polluting methane that is generated by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – where cows generate 150 pounds of manure every day.  These factory farms, where every cow, pig, or chicken must be the same size, look, and taste, has taken animals that in some quarters are held to be sacred, and turned them into widgets.  We also learn about the pesticide DDT and its devastating effects on fish, the bald eagle, and the general ecology.  

We are still battling, sometimes quixotically, the forces that seek to deprive wetland, river and lake ecosystems of the clean water that keeps animals and the environment going; the evils of dog and cock fighting.  But, one must not lose hope!  This book also teaches us that whenever one legal door closes others are opened, by the ingenuity of people of goodwill, who care.  In the end, each of us must like Chief Seattle, the Chief of the Suquamish Indians, believe and act in the face of those who want to buy and or sell the sky.  We must assert: “The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?  Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect.  All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.” And in that way we will win each fight, each battle, and ultimately the war."

—Itzchak Kornfeld, Giordano Fellow, Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel