I spent my summer as an intern in the Farm Animal Program at the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) in Washington, D.C. AWI is one of the oldest animal advocacy organizations in the United States. The Farm Animal Program specifically focuses on a welfare-based approach, where they work directly with regulatory agencies and lawmakers to promote the welfare of farmed animals.
I learned a great deal about the role that regulatory agencies play in farm animal welfare issues. The USDA is (almost) solely responsible for the regulation of all farm animal feeding operations, transport and slaughter facilities, so I was glad to have taken an Administrative Law course. This summer I helped the staff attorney research and prepare material for briefs and motions used in active litigation against the current USDA administration. AWI, along with other organizations has brought suit against the administration due to their decision to rescind newly promulgated regulations dealing with on farm treatment of animals in the National Organics Program. I wrote several Freedom of Information Act requests, interviewed declarants for litigation, and worked on a database to log violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. I attended a congressional briefing on the King Amendment to the Farm Bill, and wrote a report on the statutes, regulations and policies that govern welfare claims on animal based food products, and how to challenge them.
I learned so much from my time at AWI, and was very excited to work under two Lewis & Clark Law alumi there. I would not have been able to spend the summer in Washington D.C. if it was not for the PILP program, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity. I am committed to use this experience to continue to advocate for animals and public interest law in general.