The chair of the first panel of the afternoon, Natasha Dolezal, is the Director of the Animal Law LL.M. Program at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon (USA). The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) is dedicated to teaching the next generation of animal law attorneys.
The first speaker, Professor Maria Baideldinova, is speaking about her experiences in "Teaching Animal Law for the First Time in Kazakhstan". She teaches at KIMEP University in Kazakhstan. She is a legal consultant to many NGOs and promotes animal law reform in Kazakhstan:
The legal system in the Republic of Kazakhstan is quite new. Traditionally an agricultural country, there are hundreds of legal acts on human-animal interaction, but not a single law about animals themselves. Animals are not considered as having value per se and there are also no animal anti-cruelty laws. Furthermore, animal law is not established as an academic or scientific discipline. However, a CIS model law on treating animals was introduced as a draft law in 2007.
The KIMEP University was established in 1992 and is a leading English university, with a faculty from over 20 different countries. It is an independent, non-profit institution serving a multicultural and multinational student body. The University is situated in the center of Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Maria Baideldinova introduced the first course in animal law, which was originally offered in the spring of 2013. It was an elective course within the LL.B program and can be taken by both law and non-law students. So far 90 students have taken the course. David Favre supported and brought inspiration to Maria to teach the course, which analyzes animal law as a dynamic developing discipline.
The learning objectives of the course are to learn the substance and principles of existing law as it addresses nonhuman animals in Kazakhstan. The course also includes complex debates about animal law and the ethics and legal philosophy about animals.
Course materials include: storytelling (D. Stewart, The Limits of Trooghaft); videos (Meet koko, PBS’ The Natural History of the Chicken, BBC’s Secret Life of the Dog, and some PETA videos); readings (D. Favre, A. Akhtar, A. Cochrane, GJAL Survey, Animallaw.info); in-class discussions; and activities, such as zoo visits to see first hand the welfare of animals in zoos as compared to in their natural habitat. Veterinary specialists, as well as animal trainers, give guest lectures to the students. Every student has the opportunity to volunteer at local NGO rescue operations for dogs. The course has received great student feedback and has increased student awareness about animal sentience. Maria Baideldinova will offer the course every year and continue to help it grow.
The second speaker is Tagore Trajano, who is from Brazil and has a Ph.D. in animal law. Dr. Trajano is an expert in Brazilian law, bioethics and animal law issues. He is an attorney in Brazil and has published articles in both Brazil and in the United States on animal law. He is speaking today about "How to Bring Animal Law to the Classrooms of Brazil".
There are two key questions about the origins and development of animal law, a new subject in Brazil. How can Brazilians expand this field of knowledge? What are the steps to introduce a new law paradigm that is pro-animal in Brazil in the law school? One must remember that Brazil has traditional conceptions of the law and animal law is a new concept in Brazil. Traditional and modern professors will often have different points of view on the subject.
The philosophical framework of animal law came from British heritage. Peter Singer was pushing the concept of animal law to shift the paradigm and create opportunities; open new discussions; and learn and change standard education.
Brazil v. US development of animal law
In the United States the number of institutions offering animal law courses is increasing dramatically and is recognized as a unique subject requiring full time professors. Publications were encouraged and animal law became a principal subject in more conservative colleges such as Duke and Harvard, which helped foster the creation of research groups to study legal considerations surrounding animals.
On the other hand, in Brazil the students are offered diverse perspectives on animal treatment instead of simply concentrating on existing law. Brazilian schools do not prioritize philosophical or personal approaches to animal law. Many conferences are held to try and revolutionize the traditional concepts in the Brazilian civil law system. Animal law is being taught, not as “animal law” specifically, but is included in philosophical discussions.
Minimum curriculum at the graduate level includes a movement for animal rights, development of anti-cruelty laws, improvement in state and federal laws, information on animal experimentation and vivisection, the use of animals in entertainment, religious, and educational purposes, as well as humane slaughter. At the postgraduate level, there should be an international overview of animal law, which should be a distinct subject that encompasses a total perspective.
The law must consider a nonhuman interest in law context.
Brazilian obstacles to this:
There are a huge number of law schools (more in Brazil than in the rest of Latin America, totaling more than 1200)
Revolution to bring new perspective for Brazilians to consider animal law as a new field:
Steps: animal law is not considered a field for attorneys, people still think Brazilians have more crucial issues to address than animal law; neither public nor private funding exists to encourage development in this field of study.
So the final question is: how do you bring animal law to classroom of Brazil? One must show this subject is an autonomous subject.
The third speaker Carlos Contreras, who is from Columbia and received his PhD in animal law from the UAB. He is discussing "How the Master’s Degree in Animal Law & Society at the UAB Enhances the Legal Knowledge About Animals in a Global Context".
There are two important ideas to remember about the Master’s Program in Animal Law & Society in Barcelona, Spain: The Masters is taught from a legal point of view even though students come from different backgrounds and specialties. Second, the Master’s program is global, from the students to the professors and staff. This year will start the fourth edition of the masters.
The staff includes, Daniel Parsons, a student from Brown, with a degree in History, academic coordinator, Teresa Gimenez-Candela is the director of the Program, Carlos Contreras himself, and Martina Pluda, coordinator of communication. The Master’s Program is taught in the law faculty building (Facultat de Dret). The Master’s Program is taught by professionals from the subject they will be teaching. Visiting professors from around the world, such as professors from France and the US. David Favre, is well known professor of animal law from Michigan State University. Steven Wise, founder of the nonhuman rights project has taught at the Masters, along with Pamela Frasch and Kathy Hessler come to speak at the Masters as well.
Both the professors and the students are very international. Barcelona is becoming a center for animal law education in Europe, as it offers the only Master’s in Animal Law in Europe. Students from Latin America, Slovenia, Italy, France, Mexico all come to study at the Program. The Program collaborates closely with the veterinary faculty, a very prestigious faculty at the UAB, updates the students on animal behavior and animal welfare standards, which have been scientifically developed. It is important for students to know sentience based upon scientific facts along with the legal viewpoint.
Resources of the UAB are available to the students. There is an amazing library, as well as articles and books written by the professors, who are from all over the world. The students write articles and book reviews, which are published by the students on the Master’s Program website, www.derechoanimal.info. Students must complete final projects, which are published to enlarge the animal law field more and more with each edition of the Masters.
The fourth speaker is Pamela Frasch, the Assistant Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School. She is speaking on building an education center in animal law. She is the exec director of animal law studies at the university. She has taught animal law since 1998 and first publisher of animal law legal book in the US.
In the USA 150 law schools offer at least one animal law course, there are 200 accredited law schools, only 9 schools offered course in 2000, 177 SALDF chapters up from 12 in 2000, and 6 academic journals solely dedicated to animal law.
Why is there an increased popularity of animal law education?
The reasons are many:
Growing body of literature;
Acknowledge link between animal and human violence;
Treat companion animals as family leads to increased awareness (When asked who would you rather be on deserted island with, 60% said they would rather be there with their pet than their spouse);
Growth of pet industry—dog/cat = gateway animal to other species.
Over 20 years ago Lewis & Clark began with animal law, thanks also to the willingness of local attorneys to serve as adjunct professors and to the increase in student groups and the creation of specialty animal law studies. Nevertheless there are still challenges to overcome: animal law is still considered a fringe field, we need funding for new classes, find employment for recent graduates, there are too few tenured professors choosing animal law, dwindling applications to law school and fewer tuition dollars and more online students.
Leverage student interest, engage professors in related fields, reach out to colleagues at other schools, publish animal law articles in mainstream journals, work with human-animal studies at undergraduate and graduate level, involve law school deans and influential professors, fundraise.
Future plans for CALS:
Develop internships and externships, encourage interdisciplinary scholarship, secure funding to endow professorship in animal law, partner with other academic institutions like the UAB and provide assistance to other law schools seeking to grow their animal law program, and increase international collaboration.
LL.M. Animal Law
Lewis & Clark
LL.M. Animal Law
Lewis & Clark