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Thematic Issue: Law and Economics/General

Considering Zoonotic Disease Risk in Australia: An Analysis of the Adequacy of Intensive Animal Agriculture Regulation


Jane Kotzmann and Morgan Stonebridge

Zoonotic diseases demonstrate that the way we relate to animals has considerable impact on public health. In Australia, this is best represented by intensive animal agriculture, a practice that creates conditions conducive to zoonotic disease emergence. This article contends that, as a symptom of the anthropocentric nature of the law, Australia’s regulation of intensive animal agriculture is deficient in terms of mitigating the risk of zoonotic disease. It demonstrates the need for a regulatory framework that recognises the interdependence of human, animal and environmental health and explores One Health and Wild Law as alternative approaches. It argues that under Wild Law, intensive animal agriculture would be prohibited as it is imbalanced in the context of human, animal and environmental health. This article proposes Wild Law as the framework from which to advocate for reform, as it would produce the paradigm shift necessary to adequately address zoonotic disease risk in Australia.

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(2022) 45(3) UNSWLJ 914: