Ventura College of Law: Adding a Course and Advocating for Animals

The Ventura College of Law Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter (VCL SALDF) recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. During the last year, Allison Luxenberg, founder and president of the VCL SALDF, has led members in activities such as bake sales to help raise money for animals in need, and companion animal supply/food drives for underprivileged families. One of the most successful bake sales was held just a few months after the VCL SALDF was formed. A local family’s tortoise was mutilated and the VCL SALDF raised $100.00 in just two days, during finals week, to help the family pay for vet costs. The tortoise lived and is doing well today.

Additional activities include a movie night featuring the HBO film Dealing Dogs, publishing quarterly newsletters with student written articles on current animal law issues, and working with the local humane society in an attempt to increase animal adoptions through the school’s Pet of The Month program.

However, most notable is the new animal law class that VCL SALDF members petitioned for and successfully had added to the summer curriculum this year. The two-unit elective, simply titled, Animal Law, was taught by animal law attorney Shannon Keith, Esq. The class had an impressive enrollment of almost 30 students. In speaking with students after the class, Allison was excited to hear students tell her they were impressed with the class and “had no idea the field of animal law was so intriguing.”

The VCL SALDF’s focus for the remainder of 2008 is working on Proposition 2, which is the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, an initiative that will appear on California’s November 2008 ballot. The ballot initiative would ensure that pigs, chickens, and calves, have the ability to turn around and extend their limbs. Allison began the VCL SALDF’s involvement in this issue by having members go out into their communities and collect voter signatures in an effort to help meet the required numbers needed to have the initiate placed on the ballot. Having gathered enough signatures for the proposition to qualify for the ballot, the campaign is now in phase two. The VCL SALDF is helping to spread the word about the initiative via letters to editors as well as going into the community and passing out campaign materials and raising awareness about the factory farming issues addressed by Prop 2.

VCL SALDF faculty advisor, John Thyne, III, Esq., has been an immense help to the chapter. He has guided Allison in planning chapter events and has been a generator of many wonderful ideas for future projects. According to Allison, “I never worry about not having a project in the works. Our faculty advisor, John Thyne, and all our members are very creative and are very dedicated to helping animals through the legal system.”

The most magical thing about forming this chapter is not only helping animals, but building friendships with fellow compassionate law students. Allison is confident Ventura College of Law’s newly formed chapter will continue to grow and be a catalyst for change in how animals are treated in our community.

This Chapter Spotlight was submitted by Allison Luxenberg, president of the Ventura College of Law SALDF chapter.  

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