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Center for Animal Law Studies

The 27th Annual Animal Law Conference Was a Resounding Success!

November 04, 2019

  • The CALS team, together with current students and alumni of the Animal Law LLM Program, at the 2019 Animal Law Conference.

The 27th Annual Animal Law Conference - Representing Animals: Elevating Animal Status - was a resounding success. Held over three days from October 25-27 at Pure Space in the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon, the Conference attracted over 400 attendees. With more than 40 speakers and moderators sharing their expertise in animal law, the event is the premier animal law conference in the United States and draws a diverse and passionate audience of animal advocates.

The Conference kicked off on Friday evening with Lewis & Clark Law School Dean Jennifer Johnson, who warmly welcomed the audience as she launched the opening of the event and provided kind and generous remarks about the Animal Law Program at the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS). Dean Johnson also introduced Friday evening’s keynote speaker, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Representative for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District. Congressman Blumenauer updated the audience on some of the exciting legislative changes that have occurred and are on the horizon for animals. Long a friend to animal causes, Congressman Blumenauer inspired hope and motivation that we can make meaningful change for animals through the legislative process.

Saturday was filled with a robust roster of experts and interesting topics. The day kicked off with the affectionately called Mother of Animal Law, Lewis & Clark Professor of Practice, Joyce Tischler, who laid the groundwork for the day by providing an introduction to the legal status of animals. Throughout the day, attendees examined the various ways in which the legal status of animals is transformed: through civil litigation, the criminal justice system and international advancements. Attendees also considered navigating ethical issues, as well as the compassion fatigue that can be so prevalent for animal advocates. The evening portion of the Conference included honoring the many committed pro bono advocates for animals via the Animal Legal Defense Fund Pro Bono Achievement Awards. Finally, keynote speaker, Professor Maneesha Deckha from the University of Victoria spoke of the recent pro-animal developments in Canada.

On Sunday, conference attendees were treated to panel discussions on animal law clinics, electing animal-friendly representatives, animal law and technology, and creative approaches to climate change. Closing remarks were provided by Liberty Mulkani, Project Management Program Director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, who always does an impeccable job planning the Animal Law Conference.

An event this size is not possible without a lot of hard work from a lot of people, and we want to give a special thank you to the Conference Planning Committee who worked over the past 12 months to bring the Conference to life. This includes from CALS: Professor Kathy Hessler, Executive Director Pam Hart, and Professor Raj Reddy; from our Conference partner, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Priscilla Rader Culp (who is also a Lewis & Clark Law School alumni), Elaina Gavounas, Liberty Mulkani, and Mark Walden.

The event was also made possible through the hard work of our other Conference partner, the Lewis & Clark Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter. Co-directors Madison Steffey and Irene Au-Young, and the entire chapter membership, volunteered multiple hours throughout the weekend to welcome speakers, moderators, and attendees; answer numerous questions; and serve as ambassadors for Lewis & Clark and the field of animal law. 

Finally, we would like to thank the many current students and alumni of CALS Animal Law LLM Program, who traveled from near and far, to join us at the Conference. At CALS, we are devoted to educating the next generation of animal law attorneys, and the students and alumni of our LLM Program truly inspire us with the incredible work they are doing for animals.

Next year, we take the Animal Law Conference on the road, and we’ll be presenting from Baltimore, Maryland on October 23-25th. Mark your calendars!