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Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic Trains Attorneys to Fight for Animal Rights



  • by Diana O. Potter

Animal agriculture. Animal farming. Animal processing. As vegans, we know that all these suffering-neutral terms should rightly be grouped under just one stark and truthful heading:

  • Animals grown to be killed and eaten for profit with no regard for their suffering.

VEGWORLD is incredibly proud of the work our readers and thousands of others are doing in the effort to stop the terror, pain, and cruelty inflicted for profit on millions of living beings who happen to be non-human.

But…did you know that concern for the animals is already solidly represented in the highest ranks of our academic institutions? I didn’t, and I’m thrilled to discover it’s happening, especially at a place where what students learn will directly and importantly help in this urgent cause:

  • The Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School.

Starting with an Animal Law course in 1999, Harvard Law’s commitment has steadily expanded. The Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic, introduced this past August as part of the Animal Law & Policy Program, is specifically designed to arm attorneys-to-be with the legal knowledge needed not only to advocate for animal rights, but to fight for them.

Students taking the course will receive direct, hands-on experience in litigation, administrative practice, policy-making, and legislation in the context of learning about and working on a wide range of animal issues, including farmed animals, animals in captivity, wildlife, and the effects of climate change on animals and humans alike.

The new clinic is headed by Faculty Director Professor Kristen Stilt, who stated at its opening: “The Animal Law & Policy Clinic at HLS will train and prepare our graduates to embark on careers in the animal protection field, produce impactful litigation and policy analysis to benefit the animal protection movement, and provide an internationally renowned platform for educating the broader public about the many pressing issues involving animal law and policy.”

According to a statement from Harvard, animal protection has become a fast-developing area of public interest law: From just nine such programs nationwide in 2000, their number grew to 167 in 2019.

That’s more good news for the animals. More support for our and others’ work.

And more hope that, one day soon, humanity will accept that non-human animals deserve to live just as much as we do.

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