Elizabeth Hallinan: ALDF Litigation Fellow Spotlight
Elizabeth Hallinan has served as a litigation fellow at the Animal Legal Defense Fund since 2013. In July, Liz presented at the 2014 Animal Rights National Conference. Her talk, “Get It Right the First Time: Know the Law Before You Change the Law,” explored the ways in which animal protection laws are contested in court after passing through the legislature. She focused on constitutional and preemptive legal challenges and suggested steps that lawmakers can take to maximize the ability of the courts to uphold these laws. Her presentation, along with Nora Marino, was part of a panel called “Electing and Lobbying for Animals.”
On May 27, Liz presented oral arguments at the Appellate Division, 3rd Department court in New York on behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and our innovative lawsuits against the foie gras industry. The key focus of her argument regarded the right of the plaintiffs (ALDF and a foie gras consumer) to bring their complaint to the court. The key arguments in play are whether someone who might eventually become sick from eating foie gras, or a nonprofit organization who fights against the production of foie gras on behalf of animal and human health, can sue the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets for allowing foie gras on the market. She argued and briefed the case that both the consumer and the animal group should be able to bring the lawsuit in front of five appellate judges.
Earlier in the spring, Liz presented at Harvard Food Law Society’s conference, The Meat We Eat: Forum on Industrial Animal Farming. In this presentation, she discussed the range of opportunities in animal law, from prosecuting animal cruelty cases, working as a private attorney at a law firm, or being an attorney at an animal advocacy organization like ALDF. She emphasized the importance of veterinarians and environmental scientists providing the expertise and facts needed in animal law cases.
As a litigation fellow, Liz has provided assistance on two administrative petitions to the USDA regarding animal treatment – to remove downer pigs from the food supply and to improve and enforce regulations for primates housed in research facilities. The latter petition was accepted within the week by the USDA, a highly unusual outcome and an important success. Liz has also been working hard organizing a group of animal welfare organizations to oppose the constitutional lawsuit over the upcoming California battery-cage egg ban. Other important work Liz has completed includes engaging in Freedom of Information Act battles with the cruel experiments at University of Wisconsin-Madison (isolating infant primates from their mothers) and demanding public documents. Also noteworthy, Liz has headed up ALDF’s fight over proper egg-labeling with Compassion over Killing against the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the USDA. Liz explains that “these detailed legal battles appeal to my love of administrative law and judicial oversight of agencies.”
Liz received her law degree from New York University, where she studied environmental law and completed a clinic at the National Resources Defense Council. She received her master’s degree from Queens’ University and her bachelor’s degree from Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude.
She is trained in psychology and biology (particularly with regards to primates) and brings this scientific approach to the legal issues pertaining to animal welfare and food production. She has received ALDF’s Advancement of Animal Law Scholarship and clerked for Compassion Over Killing and Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal. An Australia native, she is also a published author of several psychological studies.