If you are looking for a course in animal law, here’s good news for you. All you need is a basic degree in any subject and you could do a PG Diploma in Animal Law. Starting this June at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, it’s offered via Open and Distance Learning
India’s first and only center for Animal Law, housed at NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad, has some good news for animal welfare campaigners and activists. The center is coming up with the first-of-its-kind UGC approved course in animal law that will be open to non-law graduates, too. While the curriculum for the course is still under design, the enrolment is expected to begin in June this year.
“We have UGC’s approval for the PG Diploma in animal law. The notification will be out sometime in June this year. The course will have 40-45 seats on offer and will cost Rs 20,000. However, we are looking at scholarship facilities, too,” said NG Jayasaimha, director, Center for Animal Law, NALSAR.
While the center was established in September 2017, the upcoming PG Diploma will be the first formal course offered by the school. So far, the center has been conducting training programmes for law students of NALSAR, Hyderabad and NLSIU, Bangalore. “We have been conducting workshops, training sessions and practical courses for people who are already in the system and dealing with issues related to animal law on a daily basis. This includes magistrates, judges, police personnel and law students,” Jayasimha added.
The PG Diploma course has been designed especially for those with a non-legal background. Whether you are a veterinary student, a graduate veterinarian, a para-veterinarian, an animal welfare campaigner or a member of animal welfare ethics committee, all you need is a UGC recognized degree certificate to get yourself enrolled.
“It is going to be a mix of a practical and academic training programme for people who are either working in the ambit of animal law or are working towards animal welfare but do not have a legal degree. Many a time, we find that animal activists, though well-meaning and with their hearts in the right place, don’t understand how to go about a case, which police station to approach and other nitty-gritty of the basic tenets of law. There is an ecosystem of misunderstanding that has been created and is being misused by certain elements of society. The curriculum is being designed by a six-member expert committee, keeping all these points in mind,” said Jayasimha.
The center decided to come up with the course based on a needs survey conducted to assess the demand for animal welfare education by open and distance learning (ODL) and to identify the content to be covered in an ODL animal welfare programme. Data was collected from respondents through a questionnaire.
The survey respondents comprised of 37 (22.98 %) veterinarians, 60 (37.27%) non-veterinarians, which includes academics, researchers, animal welfare activists and students from general universities and 64 (39.75%) non-veterinarians working in animal welfare organisations.
The data collected revealed that 83.85% of the respondents identified a growing need for animal welfare education through ODL. The respondents felt the need to impart scientific knowledge to people who work closely with animals, establish a better trained and knowledgeable workforce for employment opportunities in the animal welfare sector, raise awareness about legal issues and animal rights, improve the current inadequate teaching about animal welfare in veterinary colleges, raise academic recognition, expand curriculum content in this evolving field, and provide new options for studying animal welfare for those concerned about the issue.
To further scale up the quality of the course, the center also runs a teachers’ training programme in association with the University of Michigan and Humane Society International.
Broad structure for the programme:
- Level of the programme – Post-graduate diploma in animal welfare (depending on the response to the initial programme, it could be scaled-up to a Master’s programme).
- Duration of the programme – one year.
- Admission qualification – A degree in any subject.
- Medium of instruction: English (it could be translated into other languages based on the need).
- Number of credits – 32 (three compulsory and one elective course each with eight credits are suggested).
− Course 1: Animal welfare science
− Course 2: Animal welfare ethics and philosophy
− Course 3: Animal welfare laws/policies (Indian and global)
− Course 4: Animal welfare standards for food animals (elective)
− Course 5: Animal welfare standards for companion animals (elective)
− Course 6: Animal welfare standards for experimental and zoo animals/wildlife (elective)