Our Annual Student Prize
The UK Centre for Animal Law (A-law) launches a student essay competition every November. This gives students the opportunity to explore and research an area of the law that would not typically come up in their taught legal studies. The competition is open to students at all stages of study, and the winning entry is published in The UK Journal of Animal Law, our peer reviewed publication.
The title of our 2020 Essay Competition is:
Will increasing the maximum sentence for causing unnecessary suffering, contrary to the UK’s Animal Welfare Acts, enhance the effectiveness of the offence?
There has been much discussion about increasing sentences for the most serious animal welfare offences in the UK throughout this year, which has led to the introduction of Bills to amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Animal Health and Welfare Scotland (Act) 2006. The Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 was amended in 2016 to increase maximum sentences to five years imprisonment. Given that sentencing is a highly topical issue in animal protection at the moment, we would like entrants to consider this important topic in the 2020 Essay Competition.
Full Competition guidelines can be found below.
The title of our 2019 competition was, 'Explain the potential significance of granting legal personhood to animals in the UK'. Attempts to secure legal personhood for non-human animals have famously been made - and continue to be made - by the Non-human Rights Project in the US. We are delighted to announce that this year's winning entrants are:
- 1st prize - Sam Groom
- 2nd prize - Miranda Harrison
- 3rd prize - Samuel March
Sam Groom's winning entry will be published in a forthcoming edition of The UK Journal of Animal Law. Details of the 2020 Competition will be released in November 2019.
The title of our 2018 competition was, “Consider whether animal welfare legislation should be extended to include decapods.” Decapod crustaceans, such as lobsters, crayfish, and crabs are not protected by animal welfare legislation in the UK. However, scientific evidence strongly suggests decapods are capable of feeling pain. A-law chose this question after the launch of Crustacean Compassion's campaign to have decapods included in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 competition are:
- 1st prize Jessica Allen
- 2nd prize Melisa Oleschuk
- 3rd prize Charlotte Mekis
The title of our 2017 competition was, “Boycotting dogs bred in puppy farms will increase these dogs’ suffering further and therefore cannot be justified. Discuss.” Puppy farming is a topical issue at the moment in the UK, and it is one of the areas we are focusing on in our project work. We received a number of fantastic entries, and the winners were:
- 1st Prize: Chris Sangster
- 2nd Prize: Robyn-Florence James
- 3rd Prize: Marcia Hagon
Our 2016 competition saw students address the title, '“The Hunting Act 2004 has been a useless piece of legislation and therefore should be repealed.” Discuss.' The Hunting Act 2004 has received broad public support sinces its enactment. However, the legislation remains unpopular amongst advocates of hunting and some farmers. Debate continues about whether or not hunting with dogs should be permitted. Congratulations to our winners, who all submitted fantastic entires:
- 1st Prize: Natalie Kyneswood
- 2nd Prize: Grace Wright
- 3rd Prize: Emily Au
Essay competition guidelines
Details of our 2019 competition are above. If you would like to enter, the following guidelines will apply:
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