Bringing Advocates Together at the 4th Annual Africa Animal Welfare Conference
The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted global affairs, taking a heavy toll on human life and the economy. This pandemic is feared to have crossed from wildlife to humans upon the consumption of endangered and protected wildlife. Never has it been a more urgent and appropriate time to discuss and reexamine the human relationship with nature and non-human animals.
The 4th Annual Africa Animal Welfare Conference held on September 7-10th offered such an opportunity to discuss emerging animal law and welfare concerns. Hosted by Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) was a sponsor of the conference. This annual conference is targeted at professionals and practitioners interested and passionate about animal welfare, wildlife, and environmental conservation.
Initially planned to be hosted in Ghana, the conference was held virtually in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that limited international travel. The theme was “Enhancing Nature Based Solutions in Animal Welfare, Wildlife and Environmental Conservation in Africa” and speakers on key animal welfare concepts included CALS Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of our Animal Law Litigation Clinic, Delcianna Winders; Clinical Professor and Director of our newly launched Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment, Erica Lyman; and Animal Law LLM alumni Judy Wangari Muriithi (’19).
The conference revolved around three focus areas: animal welfare concerns in farming systems like factory farming, wildlife conservation and its link to human health, and innovation and education on animal welfare. Conference attendees benefited from a deeper appraisal of the status of unsustainable factory farming of chickens in Africa and breeding of donkeys in Africa, with evidence presented showing the escalating adoption of “modern” caged systems in chicken farming and the unsustainable slaughter of donkeys for meat and hide.
Professor Winders gave a presentation regarding her experience in protecting farmed animals under the state and federal U.S. law through strategic litigation and policy making interventions, with Judy presenting on the increasing practice of caged farming in Kenya. The AU-IBAR provided optimism that these practices will be addressed under the Animal Welfare Strategy which is expected to bring significant gains to animal welfare policy making a model for best animal welfare practices in Africa.
The link between wildlife conservation and human health was aptly discussed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Lyman gave a presentation regarding the link between animal supply chains and human health. She presented facts and figures on key zoonotic diseases that cross from animals to humans, highlighting the relationship between our interactions with animals and the risk of zoonotic disease. Reiterating the need to re-examine these supply chains, Professor Lyman advocated for better animal welfare, which will eventually lead to better human health.
The conference concluded in a united clarion call being made to the African Union to adopt an Animal Welfare resolution, to further develop and support the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare within the auspices of the African Union to increase the status of animal welfare and protection across AU signatory countries.
The 5th Animal Law Conference will be held in Accra, Ghana in 2021.
Jim Karani. Jim Karani is a 2016 alumni of our Animal Law LLM Program. After receiving his Animal Law LLM from CALS, Jim returned to Kenya, where he has trained over 300 judges, over 400 prosecutors, and hundreds of rangers and investigators on the best practices for handling wildlife crime cases. To learn more about Jim’s animal protection work, please check out this video. Jim is currently the Director of Lawyers for Animal Protection in Africa, an organisation based in Kenya that champions for the strengthening of laws to protect animals in Africa.
The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) was founded in 2008 with a mission to educate the next generation of animal law attorneys and advance animal protection through the law. With vision and bold risk-taking, CALS has since developed into a world-renowned animal law epicenter, with the most comprehensive animal law curriculum offered anywhere. In addition, CALS is the only program that offers an advanced legal degree in animal law and three specialty Animal Law Clinics, including our newly launched International Wildlife Law Clinic. CALS is a fully self-funded nonprofit organization operating under the Lewis & Clark College 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and is only able to provide these educational opportunities through donations and grants.