November 14, 2019

Making Meaningful Change for Animals in Asia and Beyond: The 11th Asia for Animals Symposium

The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) at Lewis & Clark Law School was honored to have been invited to participate and share our animal law expertise with over 450 committed professionals who gathered in Dalian, China for the 11th Asia for Animals Symposium from October 18-20, 2019. After meeting and listening to dozens of advocates, we left reinvigorated by their passion, creativity, and determination to achieve meaningful protections for animals in Asia and beyond. 

Since 2001, the biennial Asia for Animals symposium has welcomed thousands of animal professionals, advocates, scientists, and scholars from across the globe. This year’s Symposium was aptly titled “Use Laws To Creatively Protect Animals”. The title may be self-apparent to some, but for those who have not had occasion to address animal law in China, the country does not yet have general animal cruelty laws. Accordingly, while creativity is often the hallmark of an animal lawyer, the necessity for that skill is more pronounced in regions that lack a legal framework for animal protection.

Advocates for animals in Asia have risen to this challenge and represent a professional, skilled, smart, and committed group of lawyers and other advocates. They were eager to learn and to share their ideas about how we can all work together to make meaningful change for animals in China and across the globe. Lewis & Clark Law School Dean of Animal of Law, Pamela Frasch, and Lewis & Clark Law School Professor of Practice, Joyce Tischler, tailored their comments to creative uses of the law. They  are both trailblazers in creative uses of the law and in establishing the field of animal law in the U.S. Each focused their presentations on different types of animals — Professor Tischler focused on farmed animals, while Dean Frasch focused on companion animals — and the creative legal theories that lawyers have successfully utilized in the U.S. “Animal law and animal protection are blossoming in China, and it is a joy to meet these passionate and talented new colleagues,” said Tischler.

A particular highlight of the Symposium was a session that showcased the top 3 teams of law students who had previously participated in a case handling strategy contest held in Beijing in July that was organized by Professor Gao Lihong of the  Law School of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law and Professor Peter J. Li of University of Houston-Downtown and  Humane Society International. The future of animal law in China is bright based on the skilled handling of litigation strategy demonstrated by the students who participated  from: Northwest China University of Law and Politics, Guangzhou University and East China University of Law and Politics. Dean Frasch was on a special panel asked to review and critique each team’s arguments, and she was impressed by the caliber of each and every student, “I want to offer my congratulations to the team members and their coaches for a superb job. These students represent exactly the kind of advocate animals need – smart, dedicated, creative, and highly persuasive. I have every confidence that these students will go on to change the world for animals in China and beyond.”

We would like to thank Symposium organizer, Asia for Animals, and host, VShine Animal Protection Association. We’d also like to thank Professor Peter Li, Professor Lihong, Hongmei Yu, as well as Capitol Animal Welfare Association. 

Finally, a trip abroad of this nature would not be complete without a small contribution to directly improving the lives of animals. We are pleased to have worked with Golden Bond Rescue in the Pacific Northwest and the Beijing shelter Together for Animals in China by bringing 7 dogs home with us who otherwise would have been slaughtered in the dog meat industry. We are grateful that these dogs will find loving homes and be spared the suffering endured by all animals who are raised for human consumption, whether they are dogs (as in this particular situation) or farmed animals such as cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys. We made a concrete difference in these 7 lives and for that we are eternally grateful. Special thanks to Jill Groves of Golden Bond and Xiao Li of Together for Animals in China for their life-saving work.