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Center for Animal Law Studies

Bianka Atlas

  • Bianka Atlas
    Nina Johnson

Bianka is the first LLM Animal Law student from Aotearoa, New Zealand and a recipient of the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy International Scholarship.

Bianka graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Psychology and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Auckland. She subsequently completed a Master of Science in Childhood Studies at the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations at Unitec Institute of Technology. She is a former recipient of a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women Postgraduate Scholarship, and Ministry for Primary Industries Award for Academic and Practical Excellence.

Before joining the LLM program, Bianka worked in government, community law, and the not-for-profit sector, primarily in the refugee field. She has undertaken refugee status determination and refugee resettlement for the New Zealand government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Bianka is deeply passionate about social justice and creating a more compassionate world for humans and non-human animals. She has been involved with many animal and environmental organizations in New Zealand and abroad, volunteering her time to assist with not-for-profit governance, wildlife rehabilitation, marine mammal rescue, island restoration projects, bird monitoring, and shelter animal care.

Bianka is delighted to have the opportunity to immerse herself in all-things-animal-law at Lewis & Clark. She is looking forward to developing her legal skills and being inspired by pioneers in the animal law field at the Center for Animal Law Studies.

Bianka joined the LLM program to gain expertise in developing and using the law strategically and creatively to achieve justice for animals – through litigation, legislation, lobbying, and policy. Ultimately, Bianka aspires to drive systemic change in the legal status and treatment of animals and influence a paradigm shift whereby the inherent value of animals as sentient beings is recognized in New Zealand and globally.

Bianka is currently the LLM Representative on the Lewis & Clark Animal Legal Defense Fund student board.

“Pursuing the LLM in Animal Law will enable me to focus my legal skills and passion for animals on their protection. Following graduation, my goal is to apply the skills and knowledge gained through the LLM and associated opportunities through the Center for Animal Law Studies to effect change in the legal status and treatment of animals.

Through my human rights work, I have witnessed the capacity of effective law and policy – and committed and passionate individuals – to protect and empower humans. I am excited to now have an opportunity to use the law to promote the interests of the precious non-human species with whom we share our planet.”