November 09, 2020

The 28th Annual Animal Law Conference—Another Success for the Books!

The 28th Annual Animal Law Conference—Impacts On Animals In A Changing Climate—was held October 23-25th and was a “virtual” triumph!

The 28th Annual Animal Law Conference—Impacts On Animals In A Changing Climate—was held October 23-25th and was a “virtual” triumph!

Each year, the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) co-presents the nation’s premier and longest running animal law conference with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). Due to the circumstances of the pandemic, this year’s Conference was completely virtual and attracted a record number of attendees, 611 to be exact! The Conference focused on animals in a changing climate, a topic of both significance and pertinence, hosting more than 40 speakers and moderators who shared their expertise in both animal and environmental law. CALS and Lewis & Clark Law School faculty were highlighted speakers and moderators throughout the Conference, providing their knowledge and passion to an audience of animal advocates.

The Conference commenced on Friday, October 23, with welcome remarks from Lewis & Clark Law School’s Associate Dean of the Animal Law Program, Pamela Frasch, and Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Stephen Wells. Our first panel immediately followed and was moderated by Clinical Professor Delci Winders, Director of CALS Animal Law Litigation Clinic, discussing the science, ethics, and policy of animals in a changing climate. Professor Winders was joined by climate and animal law experts including Dr. Lisa Benjamin, Lewis & Clark Law School Assistant Professor of Law. Professor of Practice Joyce Tischler, the “Mother of Animal Law”, moderated the next panel titled “Industrial Animal Agriculture, Environmental Justice, COVID-19, and Climate Change.” We ended day one with an incredible discussion about compassion fatigue and climate anxiety with author Emma Marris.

Saturday kicked off with an expert-filled panel on animal litigation amongst a changing climate. Following, we hosted “Our Relationships with Animals and the Rise of Zoonotic Diseases.” Clinical Professor Kathy Hessler, CALS Animal Law Clinic Director and Aquatic Animal Law Initiative Director, shared the “stage”’ with Clinical Professor Erica Lyman, Director of our Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment, amongst others. This expert panelists discussed the interdependence of animals, humans, and the environment in connection with human health and infectious diseases.

Saturday ended with an engaging and enlightening discussion with renowned author, Jonathan Safran Foer, and CALS Executive Director, Pamela Hart. Jonathan discussed his latest book We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, his hopes and concerns for the future of animals and our changing environment, and what he believes is the most impactful route to get others to change their habits. Jonathan and Pam then hosted a Q&A session which was filled with informative answers to significant questions, giving us insight into the creative tools we can use to fight for animals.

We wrapped up the Conference on Sunday with a full day of presentations with topics ranging from Legislative & Regulatory Updates to Judicial Decision-Making. Our Shared Earth Foundation Visiting Professor, Russ Mead, gave us insight into professional responsibility through an interactive discussion of ethical dilemmas animal attorneys are facing in a changing environment. Dr. Paul Locke, CALS Distinguished Animal Law Assisting Visiting Professor, hosted a fantastic panel titled “Contingency Planning for Animals,” addressing adequate efforts and planning for animals during emergencies. Pam Frasch moderated a paramount discussion on food policy and purchasing innovations working towards a more humane and sustainable food system. Dr. Raj Reddy, CALS Global Animal Law and Animal Law LLM Program Director, was joined by Lewis & Clark Law School’s Director of the Green Energy Institute, Melissa Powers, and others in discussing issues outside of industrial animal agriculture that lead to climate change and how we can effect positive change for animals.

A Conference of this magnitude takes hard work and dedication from an abundance of passionate individuals. We want to give special thanks to the planning committee who worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to bring the conference to life. This includes Dr. Raj Reddy, Megan Senatori, Delci Winders, and (from our conference partner, ALDF) Priscilla Rader Culp (an L&C law alum), Elaina Gavounas, Stacey Gordon Sterling, Alyssa Nessman, Mark Walden, and especially Liberty Mulkani, who each year does an incredible job putting all the pieces together.

We would like to thank all attendees for joining us for this year’s remarkable Conference. It is your passion and work for the animals that keeps this Conference alive. This community is inspiring and powerful, and we are so grateful that the Animal Law Conference continues to connect us all.

Save the date! Next year’s conference will be hosted in Baltimore, Maryland on October 15-17, 2021.


Conor Lamkin. Conor is a 3L and came to Lewis & Clark Law School specifically to study animal law. She is Co-Director of the Lewis & Clark Law School Animal Legal Defense Fund. She attended the Conference and prepared this blog for CALS. Her interests are primarily with the intersection of animal and criminal law. She wants to find ways in which we can elevate animal’s status within the legal system while creating resources and providing education for both the public and members of our justice system to understand and protect them. 


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. CALS is a completely self-funded nonprofit organization operating under the Lewis & Clark College 501(c)(3) tax exemption, and is only able to provide these educational opportunities through donations and grants.