Zihao Yu is one of the first Animal Law LLM graduates from China and a recipient of the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy International Scholarship. At Lewis & Clark Law School, he received both academic and practical training through a variety of classes. After graduating from Lewis & Clark in 2020, Zihao began his Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the U.S.
At Peking University (PKU) Law School, one of the best law schools in China, Zihao got his LLM in Law of Environmental and Resources Conservation with the Postgraduate Special Academic Scholarship, and his LLB, with the National Scholarship of China. His LLM thesis was honored with the Scholarship of Zhongda Thesis of Environment Law and his exchange study at Lund University was honored with the Jingjiang Scholarship for Young Leaders. He worked as the teaching assistant for Legal Research and Writing at PKU Law School and the research assistant for Peking University Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Institute (REELI).
Before studying animal law, Zihao took comparative environmental law, ecological protection law, and the enforcement of environmental law as his research fields. He studied the effectiveness and efficiency of legislation and the interaction between law, culture, and sustainable development. During his wildlife conservation research on country-owned natural resources, he discovered that the legal nature of wildlife animal is unclear in Chinese law, which weakens the enforcement of the law. Besides, in mainland China, there is no anti-cruelty or animal welfare law for domestic animals, which runs counter to the country’s growing trend of companion animal ownership. As such, Zihao believes there will be more legal challenges in the future.
At Lewis & Clark, Zihao conducted research animal law in China and engaged in comparative study. His other projects included work on the Betta Fish case, Animal Sanctuary Toolkits, and the World Aquatic Animal Day in his Advanced Animal Law Clinic. His LLM thesis focused on environmental rights for wildlife animals with the analysis of the interaction among human beings, the environment, and animals, which will be presented in the Law Student Paper Series by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Zihao is currently a co-founder and the executive director at the Institute of Animal Law of Asia (IALA), an educational research center dedicated to offering news, articles, and comprehensive up-to-date information on the issues of animal law and policy all over Asia and the world.
In 2021-22, Zihao was honored as a CALS Ambassador and will be working on hisFarm Animal Welfare in Mainland China Project for the Global Ambassador Program. His Project will focus on improving the awareness of animal welfare for animals used in agriculture in mainland China through education.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to study Animal Law at Lewis & Clark Law School. The program offered a variety of courses by excellent professors which I could choose from and broadened my knowledge of animals and the law. I would like to continue my studies on environmental law and animal law in the future and apply the knowledge I have learned into practice. As one of the first Chinese students in the Animal Law Program, I would like to build a connection on animal law studies between China and the world, to bring the knowledge of animal law to China and to tell Chinese stories.”