Legislative recognition of animals as sentient has the potential to elevate standards of animal welfare beyond merely a focus on the prevention of suffering, to requiring opportunities for animals to experience positive mental and emotional states.
Unsurprisingly, the new ACT law fails to provide a legislative definition of sentience. A legislative definition of animal sentience would likely extend caregivers' duties beyond solely the prevention of negative states, to include responsibility for animals' positive states. This would necessitate the extension of the current two-limb test of animal welfare, to an extended three-limb test required to satisfy animal welfare compliance for the legislatively recognised sentient animal.
You are invited to join this fascinating lecture to hear how a legislative definition of sentience – consistent with contemporary scientific developments, will result in a revision of all uses of animals within society.
Dr Ian Robertson
Dr Robertson is an internationally recognised legal specialist on animal law. He possesses the unique combination of being a veterinarian and barrister and is an expert in a broad range of subjects involving animals including animal welfare, biosecurity, food safety and trade.
Dr Robertson is frequently engaged in providing advice on animal welfare law matters. He advises NGOs, multinational corporations, and governments around the world, including the European Union.
Dr Robertson also holds numerous honorary and adjunct appointments at universities globally, including in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia – which include appointments both to Schools of Law and to Schools of Veterinarian Medicine.
Dr Robertson owned and operated a chain of veterinary practices in New Zealand, and has been a prosecutor for the New Zealand Government (Ministry for Primary Industries) as well as Deference Counsel in special interest litigation. He has consulted widely in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and throughout the European Union. Dr Robertson is an internationally renowned speaker and presenter, having lectured and represented around the world on animal law and related matters. He is also a former television host and presenter for Animal Planet.
Daniel is a lawyer and legal academic at Deakin Law School, Deakin University.
He teaches primarily in the areas of public law, including constitutional law, administrative law, legal theory and public international law. Daniel has published journal articles and book chapters across a diverse range of areas, including constitutional law, public international law, environmental law, governance, animal law, legal theory and philosophy, sports law and anti-doping regulation.
He has distinguished himself as an early career academic, presenting at conferences both nationally and internationally. He has been awarded for his writing in the intersection of legal education, technology and philosophy. He is currently researching and writing together with Dr Robertson on the legislative recognition of animal sentience in Australia and internationally.