Student Chapter Spotlight

Yale Law School Growing Steadily Over the Years

The Yale Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter has been growing steadily over the past two school years. In 2015, the chapter held its first large event, the “Ag-Gag Law Conference.” The chapter followed this with a steady stream of events and lunch talks during the 2015-2016 academic year, including a screening of the film Racing Extinction, an animal law workshop, and talks on ocean conservation, protecting wildlife through international law, and the struggle for legal personhood for nonhuman animals.

Thanks to the support of the Animal Legal Defense Fund through its Student Chapter grants program, the chapter held its second conference in 2016: “Animal Law and Environmental Law: Building Collaboration.” The conference, which Yale Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter organized with the Yale Environmental Law Association, aimed to increase collaboration between the environmental and animal protection movements.

As one speaker put it, “it too often feels as if the animal and environmental movements are not capitalizing fully on the intersectionalities and potential synergies that exist between them.” The conference explored the potential for this synergy in relation to a variety of topics including the sustainability of our food system, climate change, social justice, and wildlife preservation.

The conference included speakers from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Humane Society of the United States, the Conservation Law Foundation, and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Attendees at the conference included Yale Law School students, members of the Yale community, members of the Connecticut Bar Animal Law Section, and staff from a variety of animal protection organizations, such as Connecticut Votes for Animals, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Nonhuman Rights Project, and Our Hen House.

This conference came at the start of an exciting time for animal law at Yale. At the conference, it was announced that Yale Law School received a seed grant for the next two to three years to support animal law courses, a speaker series, conferences, and other animal law related programming.

The intention is to build and demonstrate student demand and campus-wide interest in these activities and ultimately to start an animal law program at Yale that demonstrates the centrality of the field to all discussions of law and justice. Please keep an eye out for more exciting animal law events and conferences soon to come at Yale!

This student chapter spotlight was submitted by Kelley Schiffman and Theo Torres, co-presidents of Yale Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter.

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