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


After Groundbreaking Animal Rights Ruling, Islamabad High Court Continues to Affirm Original Decision

In the months following a groundbreaking decision from the Islamabad High Court in Pakistan that animals have legal and natural rights, Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued three subsequent orders, each affirming the court’s original ruling and expressing continued interest in the animals’ well-being.

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 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

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

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’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

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

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.

Guam Prosecutes First Felony Animal Neglect Case

When Guam enacted a felony animal cruelty law in 2011, the U.S. territory moved up 18 places on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Animal Protection Laws State Rankings, showing the second most improvement of U.S. states and territories that year.
black bear

New Jersey Appellate Court Upholds Bear Hunt Ban on State Lands

In 2003, after a 33-year hiatus, the New Jersey Fish and Game Council reauthorized the hunting of black bears. In the years since, the bear hunt has frequently been the subject of litigation, and has been halted by some governors and reinstated by others.


  • Court Allows Lawsuit Against FDA to Proceed

    The United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and its co-plaintiffs, denying an attempt by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to dismiss a lawsuit against the agency.
    February 23, 2021 Press Release
  • Courtroom Animal Advocate Program Bill Passes New Jersey Senate

    A Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (CAAP) bill, S.2868/A.4533, which would allow law students and volunteer lawyers to advocate for animal victims in cruelty criminal cases, unanimously passed the New Jersey Senate. The bill is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and endorsed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
    February 19, 2021 Press Release
  • State Animal Protection Laws Ranked: Maine is #1, New Mexico #50

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, has released the 15th annual year-end U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report (2020), ranking the animal protection laws of all 50 states.  
    February 17, 2021 Press Release