It is not every day that Obiter receives a press release from the Vegan Society about a new law firm. But two solicitors have opened what they say is the UK’s first legal practice specialising in the protection of animals. SRA-regulated Advocates for Animals will help charities ‘ensure the law relating to animal protection is complied with in the way parliament intended and that the protection given to animals by legislation is honoured’. 

The Surrey-based firm’s co-founders (and owners) are David Thomas and Edie Bowles. Thomas, a solicitor and part-time judge, has acted extensively in human rights cases and public law. He is a former chair of the RSPCA (and currently a trustee), and a former director of Cruelty Free International and Compassion in World Farming.

Bowles is a legal consultant to Cruelty Free International, advises other animal protection organisations on various issues and is a trustee of the UK Centre for Animal Law. She used to be an IP lawyer.

Thomas said: ‘It is a salutary thought that humankind causes far more suffering to animals than 200 years ago, when a man could beat his horse to death simply because it was his. Lawyers can help redress the balance.’

Obiter is partial to the occasional outdoor-bred bacon butty, but wishes them luck.