SALDF Spotlight: Barry University School of Law

The Barry University School of Law SALDF had a great year advocating for animals during the 2014-2015 school year. We have even bigger plans for the upcoming year!

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Our chapter started the year off participating in Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals in Orlando, Florida. Many of our members walked with their companion animals, held signs, and raised awareness of the abuse farmed animals endure. Throughout the year, our members held many tabling events to collect donations of towels, toys, food, and more for the local no-kill animal shelter. We also held a few screenings of animal-related films on campus. At these events we provided a sign-up sheet to join our chapter email list, and received many sign-ups from interested students who now receive emails that include volunteer opportunities and animal news and events.

Our chapter also teamed up with the Barry University School of Law Environmental Law Society (ELS) to go on a Blue Springs Boat Tour of the St. Johns River, where we witnessed a whopping 361 manatees, as well as other wildlife, including alligators, turkeys, raccoons, and herons. On the tour we learned about the mission to save the manatees and what we could do to help in the upcoming years. We also went on a kayaking trip to view a local fresh water stream.

In the springtime, our chapter also teamed up with ELS to host the Environmental and Earth Law Summit, “Climate Disruption: Choosing Our Environmental Destiny,” with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as the keynote speaker. The Summit explored the impacts of climate change, with experts offering innovative approaches to address the challenges of dealing with climate change. The event inspired many of our members to prepare for sustainability projects on campus in the upcoming years.

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During law week, a Barry Law tradition that many student organizations participate in, our SALDF chapter hosted Ralph De Mayo, the founder of Pets Ad Litem, an alliance of advocates and professionals providing a legal voice for animals. His talk inspired our members to advocate and establish Pets Ad Litem as an organization Barry Law students could volunteer for, to allow our student members to receive pro bono hours for conducting animal law research, drafting memos, and more. Another pro bono opportunity just implemented at Barry is for the organization Lobby for Animals, which offers students the opportunity to research legislation pertaining to animals and the environment.

Our chapter contacted a local vegan restaurant to hold a “dine out and donate” night, where a percentage of the restaurant’s proceeds was donated to a local shelter. Our last event of the 2014-2015 school year was a visit to Kindred Spirits Farm Sanctuary, which is “dedicated to ending the abuse and suffering of farm animals through direct rescue, advocacy and education.” The goal of the sanctuary visit was to create a bonding experience with rescued animals, which made our chapter more passionate about our own mission of providing a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, and raising the profile of the field of animal law.

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Our chapter has elected several passionate officers for the upcoming school year with goals that include protesting against SeaWorld, greyhound racing, the circus, and puppy mills. We also plan on teaming up with the Women Lawyers Association to work with local domestic abuse victims and care for their companion animals. Finally, our biggest goal is to host an animal law forum with many speakers to help educate and get more community involvement in animal law events.

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