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The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Animal Law Update is a series highlighting developments in the rapidly emerging field of animal law.

China Reclassifies Dogs from “Livestock” to “Companion Animals”

China Reclassifies Dogs from “Livestock” to “Companion Animals”

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting criticism of the dog meat trade from Chinese citizens, the national government of China has issued draft guidelines to reclassify dogs from “livestock” to “companion animals.”
Friend or Food? Companion Pigs Challenge Legal Distinctions
In the U.S., some municipalities are grappling with whether pigs kept as companions should be allowed in residential areas that exclude animals legally defined as “livestock.”
Federal Judge Strikes Down “Lake Erie Bill of Rights”

Federal Judge Strikes Down “Lake Erie Bill of Rights”

On February 27, 2020, a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional a first-of-its-kind law granting basic rights to Lake Erie.
Australian State Bans “No-Pets” Policies in Rental Housing

Australian State Bans “No-Pets” Policies in Rental Housing

The Australian state of Victoria has enacted important legislation to prohibit landlords from banning companion animals in rental housing.
Michigan Becomes Latest State to Ban Eggs from Caged Hens

Michigan Becomes Latest State to Ban Eggs from Caged Hens

Michigan has become the fifth and largest egg-producing state to enact a “cage-free” egg law.
Australian Capital Territory Enacts New Law Recognizing Animal Sentience

Australian Capital Territory Enacts New Law Recognizing Animal Sentience

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has passed important legislation recognizing that animals are sentient, having the ability to “subjectively feel and perceive the world around them.”
New York Becomes First State to Ban Cat Declawing

New York Becomes First State to Ban Cat Declawing

On July 22, 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill S5532B/AB 1303, which bans the declawing of cats in the state of New York.
Colorado Passes Animal Possession Ban for Convicted Animal Abusers

Colorado Passes Animal Possession Ban for Convicted Animal Abusers

Colorado’s new law prohibits those convicted of aggravated animal cruelty from owning, possessing, or caring for a “pet animal” for three to five years from their date of conviction.
New Mexico Bans Coyote-Killing Contests

New Mexico Bans Coyote-Killing Contests

On April 2, 2019, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 76, making New Mexico the third state to ban coyote-killing contests.
Animal Cruelty Charges Dropped Because Fish Are Not “Animals” Under North Carolina Law

Animal Cruelty Charges Dropped Because Fish Are Not “Animals” Under North Carolina Law

Animals are defined as “property” under U.S. law, which complicates efforts to advocate for them through the legal system. Property classification is not the only aspect of animals’ legal status that presents challenges.
Federal Farm Bill Includes Important Protections for Animals

Federal Farm Bill Includes Important Protections for Animals

The sweeping Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — an omnibus federal law passed approximately every five years, commonly known as the “farm bill” — included several important provisions, including some victories for animals.

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