Legislation relating to animals has ancient origins and in many civilizations certain species have held particular significance, be it religious, cultural, nutritional, or sporting. As a general rule, the law was primarily concerned with animals as property, rather than in need of protection, until the 19th century. Since the 1970s animal law has proved to be a growth area in the production and enforcement of both national and international legislation. This has been particularly so in the areas of conservation and welfare and there has been extensive legal and philosophical consideration of the status of animals.
This book is not intended to be a standard text, but rather a handbook in the true sense, a guide for the lay person--namely, to help the non-lawyer to understand the basic concepts of animal law and to provide the lawyer (who is the lay person in the world of animal science) with an introduction to relevant concepts and literature which are not normally found in the conventional legal texts. [via]