July 03, 2024

Clinic Students Author Ramsar Convention Report on Wetlands and Animal Agriculture

The Global Law Alliance clinic, alongside Mercy for Animals, recently published a report exploring legal pathways under the Ramsar Convention to regulate industrial animal agriculture impacts on wetlands.

Wetlands are vital to sustaining life on earth, and yet, due to the increasing pressures from climate change and threats from agricultural runoff, these critical ecosystems are under fire. The international wildlife law clinic, Global Law Alliance (GLA), alongside Mercy for Animals (MFA), seeks to use international law to change that.

Under the guidance of Clinical Professor Erica Lyman, GLA recently authored a report analyzing legal pathways to address the impacts of agricultural runoff on wetland health. The report, commissioned by MFA, explores strategies using the Ramsar Convention, an international wetlands conservation treaty, to curb runoff from industrial animal agriculture into wetlands.

Clinic students Courtney McCoy, Miranda Herreid, Emily Torres, Robyn Pekala, and Antonia Langowski assisted in researching and writing the report. “The report is an importantresource for others to learn about the Ramsar Convention and the impact that industrial animal agriculture has on wetlands - including internationally protected ones,” said McCoy. “I’m excited that our team’s work is being used to inform and effect change and protect the cenotes and other Ramsar sites from such impacts.”

The clinic experience provides students with unparalleled opportunities to get involved in real life environmental and wildlife law related issues. This year, GLA clinic students also supported an international climate justice initiative by assisting Professor Lisa Benjamin in her work to provide briefs to the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. GLA students also assisted United Nations researchers in reviewing data from 193 countries to assess the rates at which they criminalize environmental harms. Their work culminated in a report, soon to be published in a larger report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

“The opportunity for students to address real-life environmental issues and work with partners from around the world while shaping the legal skills that will carry them in their careers is what GLA provides,” said Professor Lyman. “This particular case was even more special because we worked with an alum of the clinic, Amelia Linn [JD ’12], bringing the opportunities and education full circle.”

Read the report here.