To help clients hold to account not only people who break the law but also governments and other bodies charged with enforcing it.


To live in a world where animals are protected by philosophically consistent laws which are regulated and enforced effectively.


David Thomas

David is a consultant solicitor for Advocates for Animals and a part-time judge. He has acted for many of the major animal protection organisations in the UK (and beyond) and is highly experienced in EU and international animal law, including trade law. He has also acted extensively in human rights cases (which can be relevant to animal protection law), much of it again international, and public law more generally.He is a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He has written extensively about animal protection law and ethics and taken part in numerous presentations, debates and media appearances. He gave oral evidence to the Burns Inquiry on hunting and has given oral testimony to several parliamentary committees and a Royal Commission as well as holding countless meetings with ministers and officials. He has been a member of European Commission and UK government panels and is an experienced teacher of law.

How did you get into animal protection?

I have had an interest since a young age. I ran RSPCA Cardiff Dog's Home as an 18 year old volunteer before going to uni. I have always believed that one assesses injustice by its effect on the victim, not on the victim's identity, Sadly humankind's inhumanity to humankind, terrible though it is, is dwarfed by humanity's inhumanity to other animals. Society should fight injustice wherever it finds it and I have also done a lot of human rights legal work.

Why do you care about animal law?

I believe that the law - working in close harmony with science, investigative skills, ethical argument, campaigning and lobbying - can make a huge difference to the welfare of animals, through creative deployment at each stage of the campaigning process. Ultimately, though education has a vital role, the best protection is through well-drawn, philosophically consistent, properly interpreted and rigorously enforced legislation.