Laws governing the treatment of animals in the United States began to emerge, mostly at the state level, in the mid to late 1800’s. New York’s law, passed in 1867 and spearheaded by the state organization of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, became a template followed by other states into the next century. Even today, the majority of animal cruelty laws are enacted and offenses prosecuted on the state level. The laws, while similar, have many significant differences which necessitates a close reading of the state statute. Read the full overview.
Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.
Animal Health and Disease Research, 7 U.S.C. §§ 3191-3201
Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131-2159
Fishery Conservation and Management, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1891
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-4
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 2901-2912
Horse Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1821-1831
Humane Slaughter Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 1901-1907
Lacey Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 41-48
Lacey Act Amendments, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378
Marine Mammal Protection Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1361-1423h
Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1431-1445
Protection of Migratory Game and Insectivorous Birds Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 701-719c
Twenty-Eight Hour Law, 49 U.S.C. § 80502
Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1340
Compilation of States’ Farm Animal Confinement Statutes
Compilation of States’ Animal Cruelty Statutes
Animal Welfare Act Regulations, 9 C.F.R. §§ 1-4.11
Horse Protection Act Regulations, 9 C.F.R. §§ 11.1-12.10
Twenty-Eight Hour Law Regulations, 9 C.F. R. §§ 89.1-89.5
Humane Slaughter Act Regulations, 9 C.F.R. §§ 313.1-313.90
Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act Regulations, 43 C.F.R. §§ 4700.0-1-4770.5
Importation, Exportation, and Transportation of Wildlife Regulations, 50 C.F.R. §§ 14.1-14.255
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants Regulations, 50 C.F.R.. §§ 17.1-17.108
Marine Mammals Regulations, 50 C.F.R. §§ 18.1-18.129
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act Regulations, 50 C.F.R. §§ 83.1-83.21
Center Research Publications
States’ Animal Cruelty Statutes (Springsteen)
Animal Cruelty Statutes – A State-By-State Analysis (Springsteen)
Congressional Research Service Reports
Agricultural Law Bibliography
Legal publications on Animal Welfare:
Questions and Answers on Animal Care’s Regulation of Commercial Animal Dealers
Animal Welfare Act
The Animal Welfare Act: Research Facility Annual Reports
Animal Welfare Act: Compliance Inspections
Declawing and Tooth Removal
Other Federal Resources
Antibiotic Resistance: Federal Agencies Need to Better Focus Efforts to Address Risk to Humans from Antibiotic Use in Animals (GAO-04-490)
Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: Actions Are Needed to Strengthen Enforcement (GAO-10-203)
Livestock Issues Research Unit
Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (Dept. of Health and Human Services)
Livestock Behavior Research Unit (Agricultural Research Service)
Animal Production and Marketing Issues: Animal Care & Food Safety (ERS)
Animal Welfare Issues Compendium: A Collection of 14 Discussion Papers (NAL)
Captive Wildlife Safety Act (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv.)
Humane Slaughter: Key Facts (Food Safety and Inspection Service, FSIS)
Veterinarian Workforce: Actions Are Needed to Ensure Sufficient Capacity for Protecting Public and Animal Health (GAO-09-178)
Animal Production and Health (FAO/IAEA)
Animal Health (UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs)
State Poultry Processing Regulations (Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, 2015)
Scientific Assessment of the Welfare of Dry Sows Kept in Individual Accommodations (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, 2009)
Center for Food Animal Wellbeing (Univ. of Arkansas)
Animal Welfare Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)
Guidelines for Euthanasia (AVMA)
Animal Welfare (Animal Agriculture Alliance)
Animal Legal & Historical Web Center (MI St. U. College of Law)
Center for Animal Law Studies (Lewis & Clark Law School)
Center for Animals and Public Policy (Tufts Cummings School of Vet Med)
The Cattle Industry’s Guidelines for the Care and Handling of Cattle (Cattlemen’s Beef Assn.)
Farm Animal Welfare Research Library (Humane Society of the United States)
Non-Legal Recommended Readings and Publications (not freely available electronically):
Craig, J.V. and J.C. Swanson. Review: welfare perspectives on hens kept for egg production. Poultry Science 73 (7): 921-38 (1994).
Dantzer, R. Research perspectives in farm animal welfare: the concept of stress. Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics 6 (special suppl. 2): 86-92 (1993).
Ewbank, R. Farm animal welfare: a historical overview. Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics 6 (special suppl.1): 82-86 (1993).
Gonyou, H.W. Animal welfare: definitions and assessment. Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics 6 (special suppl.2): 37-43 (1993).
Kertz, A.F. Animal care and use: an issue now and in the future. Journal of Animal Science 74 (1): 257-261 (1996).
McGlone, J.J. What is animal welfare? Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics 6 (special suppl.2): 26-36 (1993).
Mench, J.A. Assessing animal welfare: an overview. Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics 6 (special suppl.2): 68-75 (1993).
Stricklin, W.R. and J.A. Mench. An international conference on farm animal welfare: ethical, scientific and technological perspectives. Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics 6 (special suppl.1): 1-3, (1993).
Wiepkema, P.R., W.G.P. Schouten, and P. Koene. Biological aspects of animal welfare: new perspectives. Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics 6 (special suppl.2): 93-103, (1993).