The presentation was made at an event in Sydney this week, attended by Voiceless ambassador Hugo Weaving along with politicians, lawyers, media representatives and writers.
The project is a partnership between the School of Law and Justice and the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre. It is being led by law lecturer Anne Schillmoller and Southern Cross University law student Amber Hall.
Head of the School of Law and Justice Dr Jennifer Nielsen said she was excited about the project.
"We will be the first law school to develop an animal law unit that will be available by distance education," Dr Nielsen said.
“This will enhance our law students learning opportunities in the third teaching session in 2010. The other exciting aspect of the project is the partnership with the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre to offer education on animal law for the wider community and current members of the legal profession,” Dr Nielsen said.
“There is growing interest in animal law and growing public awareness around animal welfare and animal rights.
“The unit will cover a range of issues related to animal law, including live animal exports, animal welfare in domestic and agricultural settings, prosecutions for acts of cruelty, and the regulation of the use of animals in research and animal-related industries.
“We want to promote a better understanding of how the rights of animals should be respected and reflected at law.”
Project supervisor Anne Schillmoller said that animal law education was vital to raise awareness of issues relating to human-animal interactions.
“In many respects ’animal law’ is as much about humans and our responsibilities towards non-human others, as it is about animals,” Ms Schillmoller said.
Animal advocate and researcher for the project Amber Hall said: “As some SCU law students will become ministerial legal advisers, parliamentarians and judges it is important they know of the issues facing animals in Australia and the opportunities and roadblocks for legal change.”
Media contact: Brigid Veale, Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.