Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
Executive Board Members:
- Kelly LaToza, Jaclyn Leeds, Lauren McDonald
About Us: The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) is a student group that strives to enhance the welfare and legal status of all nonhuman animals through education and advocacy. We provide opportunities for animal law pro bono work, community service, and activism, and we hold many informative and celebratory events throughout the year that promote critical thinking about animals’ various relationship to humans—companion animals, food, research subjects, entertainers, elements of biodiversity, etc.—and exploration of our legal duties to the animals in those relationships.
Our Mission: Helping Animals through the Law: As a student chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, SALDF is devoted to enhancing the welfare and legal status of all nonhuman animals.
Goals: Our primary goal is to educate ourselves and others concerning the issues and laws that affect animals and help to influence positive change. Whether recognized for their intrinsic worth, their role as companions, or the value they bring to the environment and world economy, animals are integral to every aspect of human society. How our laws treat animals reflects our humanity and our capacity and willingness to consider their interests. Animal law overlaps with many traditional areas of law such as torts, criminal, constitutional, and property law. It is rooted in the practical application of statutory and decisional law, but the field also explores legal theory and jurisprudence. Animal law asks fundamental questions about the nature of a legal right or interest, how laws create or entrench power imbalances, and how those imbalances impact animals—and SALDF strives to bring those questions to our students and promote healthy discussion and positive action.
(1) Animal Law Conference: SALDF organizes the nation’s longest-running annual animal law conference each fall with the support of the Center for Animal Law Studies and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. It takes place every October, and the 2010 conference marks the eighteenth anniversary of this great event.
(2) Pro Bono Opportunities: SALDF members regularly volunteer their legal skills for the public good throughout the year, assisting animal law attorneys in protecting animals, writing public comments influencing state and federal agency decisions affecting animals, and researching important animal welfare issues for professors.
(3) Community Service and Animal Activism: SALDF members frequently engage in a myriad of community activities to help animals. Some projects focus on the law school campus, while others extend beyond—-into the local Portland community, to the greater Oregon community, and even nationwide. Some of SALDF’s past and ongoing projects include: Save the Birds Campaign; HSUS’s Humane Lobbying Day in Salem, OR; tabling at animal-related events; National MeatOut Day Celebration; and volunteering at animal shelters and sanctuaries; Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, Oregon Humane Society or Cat Adoption Team, Fences for Fido, among others.
(4) Weekly Animal News & Action Alerts: Each week, students receive e-mails that alert them to opportunities to directly influence the lives of animals by taking action on legislation, pending court cases, and administrative rules/hearings, as well as by participation in community service and animal law related campus events!
(5) Animal Law Speaker Series: SALDF invites speakers from around the nation to discuss local, national, and international issues relating to animals. Past speakers have included Tom Regan, Steven Wise, and Carol Adams.
(6) SALDF Blog: Our SALDF members blog about their thoughts on animal-related legal issues and their experiences in our school’s animal law program.
(7) National Animal Law Competitions: SALDF organizes the in-school competition in November to choose the competitors for the national level. The national competitions are held annually at Harvard Law School in February and designed to test law students’ legal skills through exercises in appellate brief writing, oral and closing arguments, bill and factsheet construction, legal analysis, and lobbying.