Task: The students will undertake a research essay that pursues in-depth, an aspect of the subject through sustained research, reflection and writing 2,750 words.
The students will have a choice of four essay topics, mostly Australian focused (see below). The 2,750 word count includes all discursive text, such as any textual discussion in footnotes, but not citation information in the bibliography or footnotes. Students may exceed the word limit by ten per cent without penalty.
Questions: You are required to choose one of the following questions for the essay. Please be aware that, since these essays are Australian-focused, you are strongly encouraged to use and work around Australian sources including books, academic journals and reliable scholarly websites:
Question 1 (Australia-focused)
Discuss the status of animals under Australian law or some aspect of Australian law. What is this status and how does it affect their treatment? In your essay consider the arguments for and against changing the status of animals and the implications that such changes would have for the treatment of animals.
Question 2 (Australia-focused)
In his work, Regulating Animal Welfare to Promote and Protect Improved Animal Welfare Outcomes under the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, (delivered at the International Animal Welfare Conference, Gold Coast, 1 September 2008) Geoff Bloom argues at pages 30-40 that animal cruelty and animal welfare should be treated as separate issues. Explain Bloom’s approach and critically evaluate it using the treatment of farm animals in Australia as a case study.
Question 3 (Australia and US-focused)
What is the attitude of the law in Australia to claims in tort for emotional distress and loss of companionship with respect to companion animals? How does this compare with the approach taken by the courts in the USA? Has the USA jurisdiction developed a pattern or consistent doctrine in this area of the law?
Question 4 (Australia and US-focused)
This essay represents an area of research helpful to the Humane Society International. HSI’s Washington office is currently taking action in the US courts to stop the use of antibiotics being fed to farm animals due to public health and environmental (including endangered species) reasons. What is the potential for such a case in Australia? What may be the role of consumer law in achieving environmental outcomes?
Some personal guidelines for the preparation of research essays:
The purpose of a research essay: A research essay gives you the opportunity to show your research skills on your selected topic. You should display your ability to find, read, consider and analyse the researched materials, and express your reasoned views. A research essay is more than a mere narrative of the materials. Marks are awarded on the process of legal reasoning rather than the conclusion reached, although obvious errors in reasoning to that conclusion will lose marks. In other words, your arguments/views/analysis are important provided they are properly argued and supported. Fundamental to success is a properly organised and structured essay. A cogent structure can take several forms, but a suggested structure is set out below.
Organisation and Structure – A research essay has five broad parts:
1. Introduction: An introduction should be a succinct summary of the essay. Introductions should be 300-600 words in length. The marker should, after reading the introduction, have a clear understanding of the topic and a broad overview of the problems/issues and the student’s methodology used to address those problems/ issues.
2. Background: Depending on the topic, setting out relevant background may be necessary, for example, defining key terms or concepts, identifying and briefly discussing relevant law or industry practice or government policy, identifying and summarizing published materials in the area, etc.
Discuss what is significant, necessary and relevant to your analysis. Avoid irrelevancies.
3. Identify the problems/issues: Clearly set out and discuss the problems and issues identified. The use of subheadings for each distinct problem is useful.
4. Resolving the problems/issues; methodology: Having identified the problems/issues you should identify the methodology used to analyse/discuss/consider/resolve the problems/issues. In Parts 3 and 4 (the key components of any essay) an examiner will look for various features including: your arguments; identifying and critically discussing other published works in the area; identifying the significant and important problems/issues; consistency and logical development of argument; consideration of the concepts applicable to solving the problem; original research/ideas; how you use existing knowledge and relate that to new knowledge; the application of theoretical ideas to industry practice; critical evaluation of existing case law (where relevant); etc.