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Center for Animal Law Studies

Diego Plaza

  • Nina Johnson

Diego, a native of the city of Viña del Mar, Chile, obtained his law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso in 2015. After obtaining his degree, he traveled to the city of Santiago de Chile to work as a consultant attorney in a Civil Court. In 2017, he obtained a degree in environment and sustainable development at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile’s law school. In 2019, Diego was awarded with the International Society for Animal Rights / Alice Herrington Memorial Scholarship and traveled to Portland Oregon to pursue his LLM in Animal Law at Lewis & Clark, where he graduated with honors and the Cornelius Honor Society distinction for his leadership and academic excellence.

Diego has always had a strong interest and passion for animals. Thus, while studying law in Valparaiso, he co-founded the first student animal studies group. In 2016, he worked as legal advisor for the NGO Animal Libre, and while pursuing his LLM, he worked in Amy Wilson’s Animal Law Reform South Africa nonprofit. In addition, before the end of the first semester of the program, he founded the Center for Chilean Animal Law Studies CEDA Chile (Centro de Estudios de Derecho Animal CEDA Chile in spanish), the first center specialized in Chilean animal law.

Currently, Diego is the executive director of CEDA Chile and is working on several legal research-based projects, among them, the elaboration of dogmatic theoretical approaches in order to pave the way towards animal post-abolitionism. Diego has issued specialized opinions on upcoming bills, has collaborated in animal coalitions, and is working with a Chilean NGO that intends to promote the project of transforming public zoos into spaces for the conservation and reinsertion of wild animals. In addition, he has participated in various discussion forums addressing different animal issues, has been invited as a guest lecturer in animal law courses taught by Chilean universities, and is collaborating on international animal projects.

Diego’s research has or soon will be published in national and international journals, and his LLM thesis about salmonid aquaculture in the south of Chile will be the object of his presentation in the next V Colloquiums on Animal Law organized by the Universidad Central de Chile.

Back in Chile, Diego has continued specializing in animal matters, participating in courses taught by prestigious institutions such as Duke University, University of Edinburgh, and the University of Alberta, and he is currently collaborating with Harvard Law School’s “Animal Law & Policy Program” and Max Planck Institute in the elaboration of the “Handbook on Global Animal Law” to be published in 2022 in the Oxford Handbook Series (Oxford University Press).

Diego also loves music, took jazz improvisation classes and is currently studying an online music theory course at Michigan State University’s College of Music.