New York Animal Law Symposium

Posted by Andrea Rodricks, SALDF Regional Representative for the New York City area and President of the Pace Law School SALDF chapter on May 16, 2015

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, more than 60 attorneys, law students, and animal advocates came together to attend the first Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) New York Symposium. At this premiere event, top experts discussed the legal aspects and harmful impacts of animal agriculture and ag gag laws on animals, humans, and the environment. This student-organized event was made possible through the collaboration of SALDF chapters at Pace Law School, CUNY Law School, Brooklyn Law School, Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, and NYU School of Law. It was held at Pace Law School and sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

ALDF speakers include David Cassuto, Chris Green, T.J. Tumasse, Jeff Pierce, and Justin Marceau. The day began with a panel on the environmental impacts of animal agriculture on wildlife, air, and water. This was followed by a panel about the importance of plant-based diets as a remedy for these many ills.

A lunchtime keynote address followed, presented by David Cassuto, Pace Law School Professor and ALDF board member. Professor Cassuto’s inspirational keynote presentation focused on the intersection of animal law and environmental law, and how we cannot talk about environmental law without having a discussion about what is happening to animals. He then addressed the significant dearth of environmental protections for animals because animal suffering is not considered an environmental issue. Using ag gag statutes and anti-cruelty laws as examples, Professor Cassuto argued that the pitiful legal protections afforded farmed animals derive from imaginatively disassociating animals from the environment.

Improvements to animal protection laws, in the U.S. and abroad, shaped the rest of the afternoon’s discussions. This included current and future initiatives to improve animal protection in farming, updates on ag gag legislation, and the effects of these laws on First Amendment rights and the criminalization of undercover investigations that expose the cruelty of factory farming. The day concluded with a bonus “Hot Topics in New York” panel, which discussed such important topics as bans on carriage horses and captive exotics.

With this symposium, attendees were armed with new knowledge, strategies, and connections to bring to the fight against animal agriculture.

9 thoughts on “New York Animal Law Symposium

  1. Martha Taylor says:

    Protection of all Animals Rights is needed Across the Board. No excuses anywhere, anytime. This is world-wide. No radicalism, just simple respect and the right for each animal in this world to be protected, respected, and given the care required for healthy existence. It’s time this is mandated worldwide……

  2. Anna King says:

    It’s so great to see that things like the New York Animal Law Symposium are happening. I’m a law school student in Baltimore, MD. What can I do to find out about these events in advance so that I can be apart of them in the future?

  3. Congratulations. Animal advocates

  4. This was a fantastic event. I look forward to attending more like it in the future.

  5. Rita Deutsch LCSW says:

    glad to see lawyers so actively involved in the future of animal protection and humane legislation
    Thank you

  6. Mara Koorse says:

    Wonderful! Thank you – yes, yes yes!

  7. Debbie Deering says:

    Please stop this abuse on animals ,,,

  8. maria says:

    Thank you! m

  9. claudiasilva says:

    My neighbor kick my dog,,police came and didnt do anything…my dog has a bruse in one lung,,, hope someone can help me

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