Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

D. VanderZwaag


This thesis is a case study of the formation of new norms in international law. The norms are those that concern animal protection. The thesis argues that international trade law is playing a part in the development of international legal norms for animal protection. The theoretical model applied is interactional international law, the theory of the constructivist international legal scholars Jutta Brunnée and Stephen Toope. Interactional theory posits that legitimate, binding international law arises from norms based on shared understandings, exhibits specifically legal characteristics that correspond to Lon Fuller’s criteria of legality, and is created, maintained and supported through interaction of a practice of legality. The thesis argues that the international trade regime gives rise to practices of legality that enable the development of animal protection norms as contemplated by interactional theory. Two main practices of legality within international trade governance are reviewed. One is adjudication in the WTO dispute settlement system. The most important case here is the WTO’s 2014 decision on the EU ban on trade in seal products, which was justified as a response to public moral concerns about animal welfare and cruelty in the seal hunt. The second practice of legality considered is law formation and implementation under new preferential trade agreements outside the WTO system. The thesis analyzes affirmative obligations under environmental side agreements, especially the Environment Chapter of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The thesis argues that, despite the long-standing hostility of animal advocates to economic globalization, the legal structures of global economic governance provide important opportunities to drive the development of robust and effective animal protection norms.