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David Favre - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

David Favre

Professor of law and The Nancy Heathcote Professor of Property and Animal Law | Michigan State University


An expert in animal within property, family and criminal law, as well as wildlife and international animal issues.



David Favre Publication David Favre Publication David Favre Publication






Professor Favre has been a law professor for over 40 years and is a pioneer in animal law. He has been interviewed in the national press many times over the past decade for a number of animal welfare, animal rights issues. He has written several articles and books dealing with animal issues including such topics as animal ethics, animal cruelty, wildlife law, the property status of animals, and international control of animal trade. His books include: Respecting Animals, Animal Law and Dog Behavior, Animal Law: Welfare, Interest, and Rights, and International Trade in Endangered Species. He also has presented to international audiences on these topics. He was a national officer of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and of the ABA Committee on Animal Law. He served as interim dean of the Law College from 1993 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2000. He teaches Property, International Environmental Law, and Animal Law.

Industry Expertise (4)

Public Policy



Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (5)

International Animal Issues

Animal Ethics

Animal Rights

Animal Welfare

Animal Cruelty

Education (2)

College of William and Mary: J.D.

University of Virginia: B.A., Chemistry

News (3)

A dog named Vern was fatally shot by police. But compensation for his death will be limited.

The Washington Post  online


Maryland's high court turned down an effort this week to treat pets as more than property in the case of a brown Chesapeake Bay retriever named Vern who was shot and killed by a police officer in his family's driveway. In a lengthy dissent, one judge said the court had missed an opportunity to interpret the law more in line with modern sensibilities about pets. David S. Favre, a Michigan State University law professor, said he agrees with the dissenting judge that it's time for the law to acknowledge that pets are not just property, but that the court majority got it right. “The legislature has tied their hands and they are limited to interpret the statute — not create new law,” he said in an email.

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Rethinking Our Relationship With Animals

KERA think  online


Animals serve humans as laborers, food sources and, in some cases, companions. Michigan State law professor David Favre joins us to think through our evolving relationship with our fellow inhabitants of Earth, which he writes about in “Respecting Animals: A Balanced Approach to Our Relationship with Pets, Food, and Wildlife” (Prometheus Books).

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Finding A Middleground In Respecting Animals

Wisconsin Public Radio  online


There are many intersections where animal meets human-- zoos, family farms, dinner plates, clothing fibers, parks, hunting land and more. There are many ethical choices we make about animals and animal products in our daily lives. We talk to the author of a new book who says our relationship with pets, food, and wildlife can be one of respect with balance.

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Event Appearances (3)

Moving from Ethics to Law

Center for Animal Ethics Oxford University  Oxford, England

III Global Animal Law Conference

University of Hong Kong  Hong Kong

Marking Progress in US Animal Law

Fifth World Congress on Bioethics and Animal Rights  Curitiba, Brazil

Journal Articles (4)

Animal Consortium

Law Commons

David S. Favre & Thomas Dickinson

2017 Imagine that a seven-year-old Golden Retriever, named Goldie, has been an adopted part of the Jones family. She is an integrated family member, spending evenings with the human members and often going out with them on walks or trips. One day she is out barking in the front yard and a neighbor gets upset at the noise, calls her over, and stabs her five times with a knife; she staggers over to her yard and dies within minutes. Thirty minutes later she is discovered dead by the 16-year-old daughter of the family.

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An International Treaty for Animal Welfare

Animal Law Commons

David S. Favre

2012 Currently there is no international agreement that ensures the welfare and protection of animals. Nor is there any international standard that regulates and defines the acceptable treatment of animals. This lack of international consensus leads to the current disparate treatment of animals around the world, echoing the need for an international framework addressing the issue. This Article discusses a proposed umbrella treaty, the International Convention for the Protection of Animals (ICPA). This umbrella treaty would enable animal welfare issues to gain international recognition and protection by setting the general guidelines and polices regarding the treatment and use of animals. This Article argues that this is the best way to successfully pursue international protection by reconciling the conflicting goals of making a treaty enticing to as many countries as possible without eliminating enforcement mechanisms. This Article also suggests four companion protocols that would further delineate specific animal welfare standards and requirements. With the present economic climate, it may be difficult to convince countries to pass such a treaty. However, the ICPA could make it possible to begin the process of enacting groundbreaking international animal protection.

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Living Property: A New Status for Animals Within the Legal System

Animal Law Commons

David S. Favre

2010 This Article develops the proposition that non-human animals can possess and exercise legal rights. This proposal is supported by the fact that our legal system already accommodates a number of animal interests within the criminal anti-cruelty laws and civil trust laws. To make a more coherent package of all animal-related public policy issues, it is useful to acknowledge the existence of a fourth category of property, living property. Once separated out from other property, a new area of jurisprudence will evolve, providing legal rights for at least some animals. This Article establishes why animals should receive consideration within the legal system, which animals should be focused upon, what some of the legal rights might be, and how the traditional rules of property law will be modified to accommodate the presence of this new category of property.

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The Development of Anti-Cruelty Laws During the 1800s

Animal Law Commons

David S. Favre & Vivien Tsang

1993 The last half of the nineteenth century saw the adoption of anti-cruelty laws which became the solid foundation upon which today's laws still stand. As will be discussed, during the 1860's and 1870's Henry Bergh of New York City was a primary force in the adoption, distribution, and enforcement of these laws in the United States. Underlying the changes of the law were parallel changes of social attitude toward animals. This Article will explore the changes within the legal world during the nineteenth century.

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