Legally Brief: Animal Law Conference 2013Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on October 24, 2013
The Animal Legal Defense Fund will be cohosting the 21st Animal Law Conference at Stanford University this weekend, and we couldn’t be more excited about this amazing event for animal advocates. Despite all we’ve learned about animal intelligence and their rich emotional lives, animals remain things in the eyes of the law; their worth measured only by their usefulness to humans. The fundamental problem for animals under the law is that they are considered property. Any legal system that relegates living, sentient beings to the status of mere property is incapable of providing true justice. And that is why this conference—a dynamic meeting of world-class animal scholars, from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds—will be an invigorating way to assess the future of animal law.
At this conference, we will tackle important issues like legislative solutions for criminal animal abuse, innovative revolutions in meat alternatives, our ethical obligations in protecting wildlife, and an exciting new look at the intersections of animal law with race, culture, and gender.
The event is all-vegan, of course, because as Joyce Tischler once said, “we don’t eat our clients.” And we are delighted to welcome our keynote speaker, outspoken animal advocate, award-winning journalist, and bestselling author Jane Velez-Mitchell. As host of her own cable news show on Headline News, Jane is an animal hero regularly featuring stories about animal abuse, particularly in the factory farming industry. She is a powerful voice for the voiceless animals who so very dearly need our help.
As a society, we claim to value kindness to animals—and yet our laws permit unthinkable cruelty to animals on a routine, even institutionalized basis. It’s time to bring our laws into alignment with our values. And that’s what makes this such an exciting time to be involved. Fighting for animals under the law can translate into actual improvements in the lives of billions of animals. A better future for animals is ours to shape.
Look for our conference updates as we live-tweet the event, using the hasthtag: #AnimalLawConference.