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Center for Animal Law Studies

A Mother’s Love Endures Through All

May 11, 2020

  • Elephant mother and calf

At the Center for Animal Law Studies, we celebrated Mother’s Day by creating a special video (below) honoring motherhood, with guest appearances by our faculty and staff. There is nothing quite like a mother’s love, and animal mothers love their young as fiercely as human mothers do. We are working to protect animal mothers because all too often our laws fail to protect them.

Did you know?

  • Elephants are loving mothers with deep emotion. Elephant calves are raised in a matriarchal society which focuses on protection and encouragement. Matriarchs will risk their own lives to save calves in the herd, and elephants are known for mourning their lost loved ones.
  • Newborn piglets learn to run to their mother’s voice, and can recognize their own names by the time they’re 2 weeks old. Sows have been known to sing to their babies while nursing.
  • The bond between an orangutan mother and her young is one of the strongest in nature. During the first two years of life, baby orangutans rely entirely on their mothers for both food and transportation. Moms stay with their young until they are eight or nine years old.
  • A mother polar bear makes personal sacrifices for her babies. She doesn’t eat for months after birth so that she can care for her tiny cubs - who are born just one pound. She raises them until they are two or three years old.

Why Do These Mothers Need Protection?

  • Poachers are decimating iconic species like elephants. Killed for their tusks, elephant mothers are targeted by poachers and their calves are orphaned.
  • In our industrial agriculture system, mother pigs are deprived of their most basic maternal instincts, forced to nurse their piglets in crates and deprived of the ability to make nests for their piglets.
  • Orangutan habitats are being destroyed due to the palm oil industry. Baby orangutans are often trafficked in the illegal wildlife trade and sold as pets.
  • Polar bear moms find their job of providing food for their cubs increasingly difficult due to climate change and the resulting scarcity of food.

At the Center for Animal Law Studies, we’re training the next generation of animal law attorneys to advocate for these mothers. Through our three specialty animal law clinics, and a broad range of classes devoted to the different threats animal mothers face, we are training lawyers with the skills necessary to make transformational change. On Mother’s Day, and every day, we honor the bond between non-human animals and their young because a Mother’s Love endures through all.