Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2022


United States of America - 840


Municipal ordinances can be an effective way to create animal protection laws at the local level, and could lead to great success at the state level. Passing laws at the local level allows people to help animals in their communities, while providing a model for other cities and jurisdictions. Local laws can also create momentum for statewide initiatives, which demonstrates a state’s strong commitment to protecting animals.

Legislation is a key avenue animal advocates use to effect change at scale, but there is not much research about how to choose tractable issues and lobby for them successfully. The goal of this project was to look at whether local laws have laid the groundwork for laws at the state level of government, as a potential avenue for change. This study aimed to determine whether there is evidence that local animal laws have been or could influence state laws. And secondarily, whether case law has influenced state legislation.

To this end, we reviewed legal materials relating to animal welfare in the United States. The scope of this review included legislation and case law from the past twenty years, related to a range of animal welfare topics. Our primary focus was on farmed animal issues, but with consideration given to other issues that are similar and potentially generalizable. Our goals were to identify any trends and provide recommendations to advocates based on previous attempts to broaden the scope of animal welfare laws.

Included in

Animal Law Commons