• 'Positive animal welfare law' ...

    ... makes today's standards of 'best practice', tomorrow's norm

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    LAW reform pencil

    Q: How do you bring about NATIONWIDE changes in behaviour within CRITICAL TIME FRAMES to resolve critical animal-related issues from BULLYING to CLIMATE CHANGE?

    A: Update animal law

"Less pain is not the same as more pleasure" so giving a good "quality of life" requires people to take responsibility for the animal's pain AND its life experience of pleasure

"This is about more than simply a respect for life, it's about respect for the life experience”.

OUR VISION is a world where all sentient animals in the care of people have a life experience that includes being protected from cruelty ("negative states") and being provided with opportunities to experience comfort, interests and pleasure ("positive states")

OUR MISSION is to see animal welfare legislation define sentience as "sentience means animals experience negative and positive [physical, mental, and emotional] states” and thereby add positive animal welfare law to the current duty of care which is currently limited to preventing cruelty.

OUR ESSENCE is that all animals should have a life enjoyed, not just endured.

3 words to future proof the law, policies and procedures governing the welfare of sentient animals on land and in the water
A law reform that shapes people's attitudes, responsibilities and behaviours today and tomorrow

SAL's position statements:

Yours, too?

We are many species, sharing one planet, and a connected future.

What affects animals, affects people in everything from our emotional connections through to our economic, environmental, and societal dependence on animals.

Animal law shapes people’s attitudes about animals, defines acceptable behaviours, and has the unique power to establish universal society-wide change despite contrasting and conflicting societal worldviews and interests.

Wherever animal protection law exists to protect animals from suffering, there is "implicit" legal recognition of animals as sentient (defined as “able to feel and experience”).

We recognise that as society’s rulebook, the law shapes attitudes and therefore behaviours toward animals and each other.

Law functions universally within its jurisdiction and establishes standards of care regarding animals. Therefore, with a view to implementing collective change, the law is an essential tool to achieving effective, universal, and meaningful change.

Outdated animal law perpetuates practices that are unfit for today’s society and undermines the initiatives of people and organisations targeting meaningful change. Referencing common knowledge that is validated by the science of the Five Domains, animal law requires a reform that retains and extends anti-cruelty law by adding positive animal welfare law to the current duty of care.

We believe that life should be enjoyed (e.g. include the experiences such as comfort, interest and pleasure), not just endured (e.g. minimising the amount of pain and suffering, preventing “animal cruelty”).  

Does this sound like you? Are you nodding your head in agreement as you read this? Then do join us in duplicating what's already been done in one jurisdiction, so that "it's the law" in ALL jurisdictions to give animals opportunities to have a life enjoyed.

'Join us in putting 'positive animal welfare' into law so it gives a life enjoyed, not just endured'

"Nothing changes in practice unless you change the duty of care" so assess the duty of care as the pivotal keystone consideration of proposals, policies, and comparisons between each jurisdiction's applied animal law

Summarising the SAL strategy

With your vision, involvement and investment, SAL's singular focus is on elevating standards of animal welfare by adding 'positive animal welfare' to the existing 'anti-cruelty' duty of care.

SAL’s focus is on seeing primary legislation define “sentience” in a manner that distinctly, clearly and unequivocally applies responsibility for both negative AND positive states of animals. This reform would seamlessly extend law's current 'anti-cruelty' duty of care with a duty to provide animals with opportunities to experience pleasure “positive animal welfare law”.

Our strategy is based on finding SAL’s team, champions and affiliates then, as a team, collaborating with and assisting champions in NGOs, government, industry and other organisations who either are decision-makers, or who advise decision-makers, to update the current law with positive animal welfare law.

Our programmes aim to unlock even bigger collaborative changes that result in meaningful change for the sentient animal.

Our work is powered by a growing social movement of the public globally who, like you, are willing to stand up for a better world for animals, people, and the environment.

The doorway to the vision is already open as a consequence of one government showing that positive animal welfare in law is do-able and done. With your help, Sentient Animal Law believes in opening that door fully, and duplicating the work of the minority of legislative leadership to date in order to universally have a law that gives a life enjoyed not just to some animals, but to all sentient animals.

Key messages include:

  • Existing anti-cruelty law that protects animals from "feeling and experiencing" suffering already IMPLICITLY recognises animals as sentient ("capable of feeling and experiencing")
  • Sentience is the doorway, not the destination, to elevating standards of animal welfare because using the law to deliver meaningful change only occurs by shifting the duty of care.
  • Positive animal welfare extends the duty of care beyond just protecting animals from cruelty.

'The SAL Foundation is led by experts. For example, if you're working anywhere in the field of animal welfare science or law, you should recognise the names 'Michael Kirby' and 'Ngaio Beausoleil'

Michael Kirby: Former High Court Justice, Patron of the Sentient Animal Law Foundation

Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator and former judge.  He served as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (1975-83); Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84); Judge of the Federal Court of Australia (1983-4); President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984-96); President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-96) and Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996-2009).

He has undertaken many international activities for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the OECD and the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  He has also worked in civil society, being elected President of the International Commission of Jurists (1995-8).  His recent international activities have included member of the Eminent Persons Group on the Future of the Commonwealth of Nations (2010-11); Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-12); Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK (North Korea) (2013-14); and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Essential Healthcare (2015-16).  He is also heavily engaged in international arbitrations; domestic mediations; and teaching law.  He is Honorary Professor at 12 Australian and overseas universities.

In 1991 he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal.  In 1998, he was named Laurette of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education. In 2010 he was named co-winner of the Gruber Justice Prize.  In 2011 he received the inaugural Australian Privacy Medal.  The honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Laws and Doctor of the University have been conferred on him by universities in Australia and overseas.  He lives in Sydney with his partner since 1969, Johan van Vloten.

With a legal career spanning four decades, Michael Kirby is a man who commands deep respect. When Dr Kirby retired from the High Court of Australia in 2009, he was Australia’s longest-serving judge.

Both in and out of the courtroom, he has - and continues to be - a change maker in many causes, which significantly includes advocating for the well-being of animals. He is deeply familiar with the legal implications of the scientific recognition of animal sentience and has stated, ‘Animals are sentient beings like us. They suffer pain and fear. To be human in a sense is to be intelligent; reflective; philosophical and to think about where we stand in the universe. When we do that we realise we stand with other sentient beings.’

Ian A. Robertson: Barrister, Co-Founder and Director

Ian is a Barrister specialising in all aspects of animal law including animal welfare, biosecurity, food safety, and a wide range of criminal, civil and commercial matters involving animals. He's an unusual combination of professions given that he began his career as a veterinarian. After nearly 15 years working hands-on as a clinical veterinarian in large and small animal practice, he was chosen by Fox Television to be one of a small group of presenters bringing stories about endangered species from around the world to the television screen. That's where he developed an interest in how the law did, and did not, work in protecting animal interests. When the contract with Fox finished, he returned to New Zealand, sold his veterinary practices, and headed off to law school with the specific intention of becoming an animal law legal expert.

He has spent many years working in animal welfare enforcement as a Prosecutor with the Ministry for Primary Industries in New Zealand, then as the State-wide Specialist with Compliance and Enforcement in Victoria, Australia. He left enforcement to work as a Barrister and works around the world advising on animal welfare matters, teaching and publishing widely on the subject of animals, welfare and the law.

"A lot of people in the animal welfare space are aware of the "positive animal welfare" concept and related people-animal-planet issues. The thing about the Sentient Animal Law Foundation is that we know how to put positive animal welfare into law - that delivers nationwide change in years not decades, and will see all sentient animals given a genuine quality of life experience, not just the lucky ones".

Daniel Goldsworthy: Lawyer, Co-Founder and Director

Daniel Goldsworthy is admitted as an Australian Lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria and is an Associate Lecturer with Deakin Law School.

After working initially in legal practice as a solicitor in civil litigation, property and commercial law, Dan’s expertise and interests in matters of public law led him to pursue an academic career. He is a widely liked and recognised legal academic specialising in public law including constitutional law, administrative law, legal theory and public international law.

He publishes widely in areas that include legal theory and jurisprudence, constitutional law and theory, public international law, animal welfare law, legal education, and sports law and regulation. He has distinguished himself as an academic, presenting at conferences both nationally and internationally in his chosen fields, and has been awarded for his writing on the intersection of legal education, technology and philosophy. He continues to serve on Australia’s Forestry Board and hold leadership roles in not-for-profit organisations and tribunals.

"It’s time for animal law to evolve,” says Dan. ”We need modern law for our modern post-covid world. Positive animal welfare law moves people, governments, organisations, and the life experience of animals, forward to where we scientifically, and morally, know where it needs to be”.

Jack O'Hern: Chartered Accountant and Director

Jack O’Hern is much more than just an English chartered accountant with vast experience in the charity sector and Partner/Director of a leading United Kingdom accountancy firm.

For over 30 years he has worked with businesses helping them to manage the business and financial aspects of whatever the company does and providing specialist input to everything from their strategy and business structure to their forward planning and performance of their Boards of Directors.

His vast experience with all aspects of business across multitude sectors is complimented by a recognised trust both professionally and personally.

He has been a core voice of insight, reason and guidance to the Sentient Animal Law Foundation from Day 1 and is one of Sentient Animal Law’s Founding Directors.

Dr Ngaio Beausoleil: Scientific expert, Advisory Board Member

Dr Ngaio Beausoleil is, quite simply, one of the international giants of animal welfare science.

Ngaio is an Associate Professor of Applied Ethology and Animal Welfare Science and Co-Director of the Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre at the Massey University School of Veterinary Science (New Zealand). For over 20 years she has been active in research, teaching, and scholarship in the fields of animal physiology, behaviour and welfare science of domestic and wild animal species and for more than a decade she has been closely involved in the evolution of the Five Domains Model.

She provides scientific support, advice and research to governments, animal industry and professional bodies in New Zealand and around the world. She is Chair of the New Zealand Veterinary Journal editorial board (NZVJ) and serves as an independent scientific expert on the NZ Animal Behaviour and Welfare Consultative Committee (AWBCC), Wellington Zoo Animal Welfare Committee, the Australia New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) and is the Massey liaison to the UK Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).

Ngaio is a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board and her insights about ‘positive animal welfare’ strongly inform the work of the Sentient Animal Law Foundation to benefit animals and people.

Dr Mike Shallcrass: Veterinarian, Advisory Board Member

Dr Mike Shallcrass is a veterinarian with a world of experience in the animal dairy industry. The ‘world of experience’ is no exaggeration – he has worked ‘hands on’ as a clinical dairy veterinarian in New Zealand and the United Kingdom for over a decade before joining one of the top six dairy companies in the world (Fonterra) as their Senior Veterinary Manager in Fonterra’s On-Farm Excellence Animal Welfare team.

His focus is on improving the welfare of dairy cows in New Zealand and around the world by incentivising farmers to adopt practices that the Five Domains welfare model thereby encouraging the animal’s experience of ‘positive welfare’ states.

Mike provides very pragmatic, insightful and applied industry insights to the vision and work of the Sentient Animal Law Foundation.

Nicola Craddock: Business leader, Advisory Board Member


Nicola Craddock is an experienced business leader with a demonstrated history in strategy, commercial planning, marketing and operations and qualifications that include a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). She is the Executive Director of Zoos and Aquariums Australia (‘ZAA’) which applies a progressive, science-based model of animal welfare across all member organisations. The model is distinctive for its inclusion of positive animal welfare to multiple species of animals. In Nicola’s words, “this approach champions welfare from the animal’s perspective”.

Consequently, Nicola brings a keen business mind to the Sentient Animal Law Foundation’s vision, alongside real-world insights in response to the question ‘what’s important to the animal’?

Special Advisers

There are a range of people from industry, government, and different professions who fulfil roles as Specialist Advisers to the Foundation. They generously provide their insights, experience and assistance to the messaging and activities of the Sentient Animal Law Foundation.

The Foundation acknowledges its deep appreciation for their invaluable input.