The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s primary programs include:
The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Legislative Affairs Program works at the state and local levels to advance legislation that would promote or protect the lives and interests of animals or to oppose legislation that would be detrimental to animals’ well-being. We work closely with the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s other programs to identify opportunities to create model legislation that address strategic legal issues in the areas of civil and criminal law, and monitor legislation that impacts animals at the federal, state and local levels.
ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program is staffed by attorneys, including former prosecutors, with expertise in animal protection law. Our attorneys provide free legal assistance to prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to ensure that state criminal anti-cruelty statutes are vigorously enforced and that those convicted of animal cruelty and neglect receive appropriate sentences. We work with state legislators to enact felony anti-cruelty statutes in states that do not yet have them and to upgrade existing laws in states that do. The Criminal Justice Program also maintains a nationwide database of animal cruelty cases and current and model animal protection laws available to prosecutors, legislators and researchers.
ALDF’s Animal Law Program works closely with law students and law professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. Moving toward the day when animal law is part of the curriculum at each and every law school, the Animal Law Program collaborates with students, faculty, and school administrations to facilitate the development of animal law courses and assists students in forming Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapters.
In our litigation work, ALDF staff attorneys may bring suit themselves, or ALDF may retain outside counsel to represent it; we may also file either as a named plaintiff, or as the attorneys for other organizations or individuals. Our civil actions on behalf of animals often include filing amicus curiae briefs arguing the case for recognition of the bonds between humans and nonhuman animals and formal complaints against government agencies charged with enforcing laws meant to protect animals.
ALDF’s Pro Bono Program is the nation’s largest pro bono network for animal protection. The program partners with attorneys and pro bono coordinators across the United States to expand the practice of animal law. Collectively, legal professionals donate thousands of hours to our cases annually. The program also works to increase the understanding of animal law in the legal community by educating professionals at law firm and bar association events and keeping volunteers engaged and up to date on the latest developments in the field.