The Next Generation

Posted by Dana Campbell, ALDF's Chief Contract Attorney on November 26, 2007


This week marks the final week of lectures for the first Animal Law class to have been offered at Cornell University Law School in Ithaca New York, which I am teaching as an adjunct professor. Nearly half of all accredited law schools offer an animal law course these days, and this past Fall Cornell joined their ranks. My class attracted plenty more students than the school or I expected, especially since it was a bit of a last minute addition to the curriculum over the summer, so there wasn’t much opportunity to promote it well. I’ll take the fact the class was full as a sign that there is a lot of interest in animal law.

My students came from a variety of backgrounds, including one who is dually enrolled at Cornell’s veterinary school. Some could be described as ardent animal advocates, others more curious to see what this animal law stuff is all about, and I’m sure there were a few who simply found it fit into their schedule well this semester.  Nevertheless all of the students turned out to be actively engaged in the discussions, asked provocative questions of me and each other, brought up interesting cases that had appeared in the media, and generally kept me on my toes intellectually.

While I realize that law school debt will prevent many of them from pursuing an animal law practice right away, I am hopeful that many will find a way to do so on a pro bono basis in the meantime. If my class is any indication of the caliber of animal law practitioner we will see in the future, we all have plenty of reason to be optimistic about the animals’ future.