Meet ALDF’s 2012 Advancement of Animal Law Scholarship RecipientsPosted on June 5, 2012
Congratulations to ALDF’s 2012 Advancement of Animal Law Scholarship recipients!
Misty Christo is entering her third year at the University of Nebraska College of Law where she is president of the school’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter. Misty has been involved in animal rescue in various capacities both before and during law school and was on the steering committee and board of Nebraska Voters for Companion Animals, a grassroots voter education group.
Misty is a strong believer in “think global, act local,” and focuses Nebraska’s SALDF chapter’s activities on local animal-related issues. The group raised money for Husker Cats, a trap-neuter-return program for campus feral cats. It also hosted Jocelyn Nickerson, the Nebraska Director of the Humane Society of the United States, who discussed the current state of animal legislation in Nebraska. Additionally, the group sponsored an event which brought Odette Wilkens of the Equal Justice Alliance to Nebraska for the first time to speak about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
Misty is interested in using her law degree to help animals as well as to protect the people who help animals. To that end, she learns everything she can about constitutional issues that arise in the context of animal activism. She also wants to raise awareness among the law enforcement and social services community of how animal abuse is intertwined with child abuse, spousal abuse and violent crime. She looks forward to providing more general legal advice in the arenas of estate planning and landlord-tenant disputes regarding companion animals and charitable gifts to animal groups.
Josmanny Horta is entering his third year at Suffolk University Law School, where he serves as president of the school’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter. This past year he played an integral role in helping the chapter achieve its most active year to-date. With a focus on raising awareness within the student body and faculty, he helped organize a speaker panel that discussed the field of animal law and its many opportunities. He later led efforts in coordinating the largest event in the chapter’s history, a speaker panel that discussed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and the reasons supporting its repeal. The chapter was also active in fundraising for local animal welfare organizations, raising funds through its participation in “Walk for Animals” and additional funds through a series of “coffee and snack breaks” during final examinations.
Of all the accomplishments, however, Josmanny is most proud of the chapter’s lobbying efforts in support of a pending bill that would ban veal and gestation crates in Massachusetts; the issue of animal confinement is personal to him because of Charlie, his childhood dog that was tethered to a metal pole his entire life. The chapter’s members drafted a letter in support of the bill and hand-delivered it to key leaders of the Massachusetts legislature. Additionally, individual meetings were held with the staff offices of some of these key leaders, and Josmanny testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in support of the bill.
This past year, Josmanny externed for the Equal Justice Alliance (EJA), where he conducted extensive legislative history research on the AETA and wrote a memorandum of law that involved issues of animal law and municipal law. In connection with the externship and an elective course, he also wrote a public policy paper on the AETA and hopes to have it published soon. Josmanny also promotes pro-animal online petitions and volunteers at the annual Boston Vegetarian Society Food Fest, where he distributes educational materials and obtains petition signatures. After graduation, he hopes to use his law degree to advocate on behalf of farmed animals and to increase the number of no-kill animal shelters. He also plans to raise awareness of animal-welfare-related matters within Hispanic communities, particularly in his hometown of Miami, Florida.
Danielle Duffield is in her final year of law school at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, where she is the president of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter that she founded in 2010. As president, she organized New Zealand’s first-ever Animal Law Week in 2010, where hundreds of students who had never before been exposed to animal law attended a series of sold out guest lectures, animal law seminars, and documentary screenings. Other highlights of the chapter’s activities included filing a submission on the Draft Code of Welfare for Layer Hens during the government’s public consultation period, hosting a guest lecture on the issue of legal standing for animals, passing a motion in the university’s referendum to stop the sale of factory-farmed products on campus, meeting with local politicians to discuss animal welfare law reform, and frequently tabling at local events and on campus.
Outside of SALDF activities, last year Danielle worked on a transnational law research project for an Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney, published articles on animal law in various law school publications, and attended animal law seminars and events both within New Zealand and internationally. This year, she is writing her honors dissertation on the regulatory problems underpinning the administration of farm animal welfare under New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act, in time for its ten-year review. Outside of animal law, for the past six years Danielle has volunteered for New Zealand’s leading animal protection organization, Save Animals From Exploitation, working on campaigns to achieve New Zealand’s recent historic ban on gestation crates and impending ban on battery cages. She also completed a communications internship for Farm Sanctuary in winter 2010, and recently volunteered for the Dutch Party for the Animals, the world’s only animal protection party in power, while studying on exchange in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
After graduation, Danielle will continue using her law degree to advance the interests of animals by working to build pro bono animal law networks within New Zealand, and on initiatives to promote greater regional collaboration between animal lawyers and campaigners throughout Asia-Pacific.
Kevin Schneider is entering his third year at Florida State University College of Law. Early in his first year, Kevin began serving on the board of the Animal Law Society, and soon afterwards helped convert the club into a Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter. Kevin currently serves as president of the chapter, and has helped bring several speakers to the school and arranged volunteer opportunities with the Tallahassee Animal Shelter. Earlier this year, Kevin coordinated a pro bono program through Pets Ad Litem, a local nonprofit, which gave law students the opportunity to prepare bill analyses for proposed animal-related legislation. This work will be compiled and submitted to the Animal Law Committee of the Florida Bar and used for future legislative advocacy.
In addition to his work with Florida State University’s SALDF chapter, Kevin volunteers with the Nonhuman Rights Project, doing social media outreach, web content development, and legal research. In addition, Kevin has lobbied for pro-animal legislation on both the state and federal level. He also does volunteer outreach for the Animal Law Committee of the American Bar Association. Last summer, Kevin worked for the Equal Justice Alliance on civil liberties issues pertaining to animal rights activism. This past school year, Kevin clerked for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, working on a wide variety of animal law issues. And this summer, Kevin will be interning for Mercy For Animals in Chicago, bringing together his passion for advocacy, civil liberties, and farmed animal protection.
Kevin came to law school with the goal of pursuing a career in animal law, and he hopes to find work with an animal protection organization after graduating. One of Kevin’s major long-term goals is to reform the agriculture industry by eliminating factory farming one step at a time. Kevin also hopes to one day litigate cases that win genuine legal rights for nonhuman animals.
Elizabeth Hallinan is entering her third year at New York University’s School of Law where last year she chaired the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter. She is also an active member of the Environmental Law Society. Prior to law school, Liz received a degree in Biology, focusing on animal behavior, evolution, and cognition. For her senior thesis, she studied the cognitive underpinnings of altruism in primates. She then went on to study cognitive psychology at Queen’s University and received a Masters of Science. During her graduate work, Liz spent many hours volunteering at the local Humane Society shelter, assisting the staff behavioralist with dog training.
During her law career, Liz has focused on the intersection of animal law and environmental law. During her first summer, Liz interned at Compassion Over Killing (COK) in the Los Angeles office. During the last year, she has continued to assist COK’s General Counsel, Cheryl Leahy, on animal protection litigation work. Liz has also been a research assistant for Environmental Law Professor Katrina Wyman, and has participated in NYU’s Environmental Law Clinic at the Natural Resources Defense Counsel. Her legal work has focused on farmed animal protection and the environmental effects of factory farming and local food systems. In her second summer, Liz is interning at the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s headquarters in Cotati, CA.
In revitalizing NYU’s SALDF chapter, Liz organized a panel on the Environmental Effects of Factory Farming featuring New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, Humane Society of the United States lead litigator Jon Lovvorn, Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Jen Sorenson, Nebraska farmer Kevin Fulton, and animal law professor David Wolfson. Liz also organized a moot court featuring the New York Court of Appeals Judge Robert Smith and NYU Professors Epstein, Hills, and Sharkey, who mooted the Supreme Court case National Meat Association v. Harris. She also kicked off a Meatless Monday campaign in the law school, and with the help of the Wagner Food Policy Alliance, is helping to spread Meatless Monday events across NYU’s campus.