SALDF Project Ideas
Visit or Volunteer at an Animal Sanctuary
Help local animals and educate your chapter members about animal issues by volunteering at a farmed animal sanctuary or humane society. You can pair this visit with a discussion about the miniscule legal protections for farmed animals or issues of companion animal overpopulation and puppy mills.
Participate in National Justice for Animals Week
SALDF chapters are encouraged to host fundraising events to support ALDF’s work for abused animals. In addition to raising funds, your event will spread the word about National Justice for Animals Week, which is dedicated to raising public awareness nationwide about how to report animal abuse — and how to work within your community to create stronger laws and ensure tough enforcement. Check out an example of a student chapter’s events for National Justice for Animals Week 2014!
Animal Law Class Advocacy
If your school does not currently offer a course in animal law, your chapter can petition the law school administration to add one to the available curriculum. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has instructional materials, including an animal law casebook, which we can offer to interested faculty members. We also have ready-to-use petitions to circulate to law students.
Examples of past SALDF charity events include bake sales, silent auctions, dog walkathons, and companion animal photo contests. Some chapters donate money to local animal shelters or other nonprofit organizations. In 2005, many chapters were successful in raising significant amounts of money to help animal victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Conferences and Competitions
Attending animal law conferences and competitions is a good way to network with other law students, SALDF members, attorneys, and professors. Please check our website for a list of upcoming animal law conferences and competitions.
Education and Outreach
Virtually all SALDF chapters have at some point organized an information table on campus to raise awareness about animal issues and the field of animal law. Some schools even allow literature stands to put on campus that you can stock with educational brochures. ALDF can provide you with free tabling materials such as newsletters, stickers, brochures, and posters to help with your event.
Many chapters host speakers, debates, panels, and even conferences on current issues in animal law. This is a great way to raise the profile of animal law on campus and to network and meet leaders in the field. If you are looking for ideas, visit our list of possible speakers.
SALDF Coalition Building
When organizing a speaker panel or other event, we encourage you, when possible, to team up with other student groups. For example: the Environmental Law Society for factory farm and water or air pollution issues, the National Lawyers Guild for issues involving civil liberties and animal rights activism, the Women’s Law Society for domestic violence and animal cruelty, the Human Rights/Immigration Law Society for slaughterhouse issues and human rights abuses, the Criminal Law Society for issues involving animal cruelty prosecution, activist defense, and the AETA, the American Constitution Society for ag gag issues, and the International Law Society for wildlife issues.
Letter Writing & Commenting
Have members write letters in response to any newspaper, magazine, or online article involving animal law. Organize your members to write letters and make follow up phone calls regarding pending local, state, or federal legislation. At the administrative level, your group can also submit written comments when the USDA, FWS, or other agencies when they change their rules and regulations. Stay up to date on new rules by checking www.regulations.gov.
SALDF groups often contact local attorneys, both in private practice or who work for nonprofit organizations, and volunteer their time to conduct legal research and writing. Other chapters have started animal law clinics at their school. Finally, contributing to the criminal defense and political support of animal activists is another project some chapters take on.
There are countless ways your group can advocate at the community level. Some chapters have developed community resource materials, such as a list of pet-friendly housing in the area. Other chapters arrange for their members to visit court as “court advocates” for animal abuse cases in support of the animals.
Some chapters publish weekly or monthly newsletters that include information about pending legislation, community events, SALDF chapter activities, upcoming animal law conferences and presentations, ways to get involved with your chapter, and other animal law related news and updates.
Some chapters meet regularly to discuss animal law articles or books. Others occasionally suggest readings and discuss them at their general meetings. Students often form reading groups to fill in the gaps when an animal law course has not yet been added to the curriculum, as is the case at Yale Law School. If you are looking for books or articles to read, we have a list of animal law books and periodicals. Your chapter members can also join ALDF’s Animal Book Club.
Some chapters screen documentaries, films, and TV shows. If you are looking for viewing ideas, we have a list of animal law related documentaries screened by SALDF chapters.
Support for Local Activists
Some chapters help facilitate animal activism by using their members’ legal background to read through the relevant ordinances (for example noise ordinances) to help activists organize effective demonstrations while also complying with local laws. Another way that SALDF chapters support animal activism is by using their member’s legal training to obtain relevant information for campaigns. Your legal background will help you to sort through documents like your state’s Public Records Act to find out what information is available to the public and you can also file FOIA requests to obtain this information.
Some chapters advocate on behalf of vegetarian and vegan students within their law school. For instance, they work to increase the number of vegetarian options in the cafeteria or at law school events. We suggest using ALDF’s Farmed Animals and the Law brochure, which provides an overview of the lack of laws that protect farmed animals from abuse. Please contact Kelly Levenda for free brochures. Two other popular leaflets are Fresh and Your Choice, which expose the cruelty of factory farms and share helpful tips on making the switch to a plant-based diet. Check out Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Campus: The College Guide to Animal Advocacy for more ideas.
Cage Free Campaign
The Humane Society of the United States’ and the Humane League’s cage-free campaigns help students work with their schools’ dining services to discontinue their use of eggs from hens confined in battery cages. As of February 2006, nearly 80 schools have either eliminated or are phasing out their use of battery eggs. The Humane League also offers campaign resources. Please contact Aaron Ross, Director of Campaigns at the Humane League, for more information.
Chapters can get their school to adopt Meatless Mondays, or hold tabling events where they give away free vegan food and advocate for a vegan diet. For more information and for a free downloadable campus kit, go to meatlessmonday.com.
Write an Article
Consider writing a law review article and submitting it to one of the law journals dedicated to animal law (such as Animal Law Review, The Global Journal of Animal Law, and The Journal of Animal and Environmental Law). These journals are always looking for content and a publication makes an impressive addition to your resume.
Become Active in Local Legislation
Chapters can draft and lobby for local animal protection bills, and against those that are harmful to animals’ interests. Check city and state government websites to stay up to date on current local legislation, or contact us to see if there is pending legislation in your area. Some groups choose a local animal welfare issue, such as horse tripping or tethering companion animals, and draft a bill that better protects animals. ALDF has a collection of model animal protection laws for your reference. You can see how your state’s anti-cruelty laws measure up by checking out ALDF’s U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings (and the Canadian Animal Protection Laws Rankings for those in Canada.)
Your chapter can pair new SALDF members with older members with similar interests. This is a great way to get new SALDF members involved in the chapter’s activities and to divide up projects.
Hold a Networking Event
If there are animal attorneys in your area, set up an event for your chapter so that your members can meet local attorneys. For help finding attorneys that practice animal law, contact your local bar associations animal law sections and committees.
Get Schooled in Animal Law
If there is no animal law course available at your school, look for summer animal law courses available at other schools. This is a great way to expand your knowledge of animal law beyond what may be offered at your school. Lewis & Clark Law School offers many animal law courses each summer.
Organize an ALDF benefit day at your favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurant or animal-friendly business
Contact a local vegan-friendly business to see if they would be interested in donating 10% of their total sales from a weekend day to ALDF. Promote the event, and welcome and thank guests as they enter the establishment the day of the benefit.
Press Coverage for SALDF Projects
If you are a member of an SALDF chapter, reaching out to your local press outlets is an excellent, inexpensive way to let your community know about your work for animals, and to educate countless people about the growing field of animal law. Read more on how to do so and how ALDF can help.