“One Earth: Globalism and Animal Law” Conference at Lewis & Clark Law School, October 17 – 19, 2008

Posted on October 14, 2008

Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and Center for Animal Law Studies Present 16th Annual Gathering of Legal Luminaries, Academics, and Authors Whose Careers Have Gone to the Dogs


Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Portland, Ore. – The headlines tell the stories: divorces marked by bitter pet custody disputes; fallen NFL star Michael Vick’s involvement in seedy dogfighting operations; undercover investigations exposing criminal animal cruelty at industrial agriculture operations. Unheard of just a quarter-century ago, the now burgeoning field of animal law touches on many of the most important legal, ethical, and public policy issues of our day. In an era where the law still regards animals as “property” while society raises important questions about animal rights, animal law has become the leading arena for both intellectual debate and down-and-dirty courtroom battles about our human relationships with animals in the twenty-first century and beyond.

In what is the longest running animal law conference in the world, the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School are bringing together many of the great minds at the vanguard of animal law and hundreds of conference attendees for a weekend of exciting panels and visionary speakers.

Among the highlights at “One Earth: Globalism and Animal Law”:

Lessons Learned from the Vick Dogs

When animal control officers in Surry County, Virginia, discovered more than 50 dogs and evidence of dogfighting at a 15-acre property owned by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, the ensuing scandal sparked national outrage. While Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and the seized dogs were rehabilitated, the legal community was prompted to consider how to improve their tools for going after criminals engaged in the world of underground dogfighting .Win Grant, assistant United States attorney from the Eastern District of Virginia, Rebecca Huss, the Valpariso University School of Law professor and court appointed guardian of Vick’s dogs, and law student Alexis Fox discuss.

Undercover Investigations

Earlier this year, the USDA investigated a Chino, Calif. supplier of meat to the National School Lunch Program after seeing undercover video showing inhumane and illegal practices on weak and sick animals. When abuse happens behind closed doors, undercover investigations have repeatedly resulted in criminal charges and regulatory reforms to better protect both animals and public health. Providing a legal perspective are Chimpanzee Society Northwest Executive Directory Sarah Baeckler, Scott Heiser, director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program, and Bonnie Robson, deputy general counsel – litigation for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

And Much More!: including an exploration of the issue of legal “personhood” for animals in the wake of the Spanish parliament’s vote to grant legal rights to great apes; military and homeland security exemptions from laws protecting wildlife; and bringing international attention to the plight of the world’s oceans.

Members of the press interested in attending the sold out “One Earth: Globalism and Animal Law” conference should contact Megan Backus at mbackus@aldf.org for information on complimentary registration. For more conference details, visit www.animallawconference.com

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