Golden Gate University SALDF’s California Animal Law Symposium
On March 18, 2017, Golden Gate University (GGU) School of Law Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) hosted the third annual California Animal Law Symposium on the topic of marine life. The symposium was a forum for academics, legal professionals, law students, animal activists, and community members to learn, network, and be inspired to advocate for underwater animals. It was generously supported by a SALDF project grant from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. In addition to this generous grant, the Animal Legal Defense Fund also offered $1,000 travel grants for students to attend the symposium!
The entirely student-run symposium was a huge success, providing over 50 attendees with an overview of the progress made by various organizations that are committed to protecting animals. Panel topics included legislation to protect the welfare of fish, aquaculture, the cruel Pacific Coast gillnet fishery, activism for animals, actions against SeaWorld, protection of orcas and other whales, and more. MCLE credit was available for attorneys attending the event.
Guest speakers included staff from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA, Sea Shepherd, Turtle Island Restoration Network, and Mercy for Animals. Kelly Levenda, Animal Legal Defense Fundstudent programs attorney, presented her article which addresses the capacity of fish to feel pain and suggested possible laws to protect them, and Chris Berry, Animal Legal Defense Fund staff attorney, gave us a play-by-play of the California Coastal Commission’s review of SeaWorld’s expansion permit, which contained a prohibition on SeaWorld from breeding captive orcas thanks to extensive lobbying by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Organizing this day-long symposium gave SALDF members from GGU and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law a unique opportunity to meet, work together, and learn about how to legally protect aquatic animals. The symposium was also supported by the GGU community, with sponsorships by the GGU Environmental Law Journal and the GGU Student Bar Association. If your chapter would like to host a collaborative student-run symposium, check out these tips from the 2014 California Animal Law Symposium organizers.
This student chapter spotlight was submitted by Venus Ho, co-chair of GGU SALDF.