Last night in Sydney, former High Court Judge, Michael Kirby formally launched the book “Animal Law in Australasia,” giving a 20 minute long speech to a crowd of around 250 people at the University of Sydney.

It was certainly no surprise to hear an eloquent and insightful speech from Michael Kirby,  who had to retire from the High Court due to the age limit but is still extremely active in many other areas.

It is a significant indication of the growing importance of the fast developing area of animal law that a person with such an impeccable legal record and reputation should not only agree to launch such a book, but do so with  an impassioned speech about the need to increase awareness of the great suffering inflicted on so many animals and to develop more effective ways to reduce and prevent this.

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Just a few years ago, there were virtually no specialty courses in animal law being taught in Australian Universities, but now there are courses being taught in many law faculties around the country, with more soon to be offered.

As I mentioned on my personal site a few months ago, I wrote one of the seventeen chapters in this book – all of the others of which were written by lawyers active in the field.  If I had realised when I was writing my chapter that Michael Kirby would be publicly assessing the book to such a crowd in such a setting after having cast his forensic eye over the entire text, I would have put even more care into writing it!

As well as the formal public launch of the book, there was a keynote speech by Bruce Wagman, an experienced animal protection litigator from the USA.  He is conducting a series of lectures around Australia over the next week as part the third annual Animal Law Lecture Series sponsored by Voiceless.

His reputation is one of a very effective legal and community advocate. He certainly is an effective public speaker, so if you are interested in the topic of animal rights law, I’d recommend trying to catch one of his talks.

He’s giving two speeches in Brisbane tomorrow (Thursday 7th), followed by talks at the Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne.  Dates, times and venues are at this link.

(In case there is any suspiscion of a cash for comment element to this post, I should mention that I didn’t get paid for the chapter I wrote in the book and don’t get any royalties from the sales).

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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