Amy P. Wilson

Amy P. Wilson

Aquatic Animal Law Initiative Fellow (August 1, 2019 - July 31, 2021)


Amy was the Aquatic Animal Law Initiative Fellow at the Center for Animal Law Studies from August 1, 2019, through July 31, 2021, where she focused on regulation and legal protection for aquatic animals and assisted with the Animal Law Clinic directed by Professor Kathy Hessler. Amy is the first South African attorney to graduate with a Master’s degree in Animal Law (Lewis & Clark Law School ’18). Amy has ten years of legal experience and is passionate about the study and attainment of animal, human, and nature rights.

Amy is co-founder and director of the first organization dedicated to animal law in South Africa - Animal Law Reform South Africa. She is a trustee of the Humane Education Trust (HET) and co-founder of the Coalition of African Animal Welfare Organisations (CAAWO), as well as Lawyers for Animal Protection in Africa (LAPA).

Locally, Amy has worked with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), World Animal Protection (WAP), and Animal Equality (AE), researching and consulting on a broad variety of animal law and animal protection matters.

Amy received both her BCOM and LLB law degrees from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. During her studies, she established the first Animal Law student group at her university and received a full scholarship to participate in the Lucerne Academy for Implementation of Human Rights (University of Lucerne in Switzerland’s Summer School). After completing her law degree, she practiced as a corporate attorney for over six years at the largest law firm in Africa, ENSafrica, and worked on animal law related matters on a pro bono basis for game reserves and wildlife and animal protection organizations, among others.

Amy has been published in the international animal law journal, dA. Derecho Animal. Forum of Animal Law Studies, international journal, Society Register and the US publication The Revelator (an initiative of the Center for Biological Diversity). She is currently co-authoring the first Aquatic Animal Law Textbook in the world and working on chapter contributions for two upcoming books. She has presented to audiences around the world including Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong), Poland (University of Silesia), Kenya (United Nations Environment), England (Oxford University – Oxford Center for Animal Ethics), Canada and throughout the USA and South Africa.

Specialty Areas and Course Descriptions

Animal Law, Aquatic Animal Law, Animal Law in South Africa, Human Rights Law, and Wildlife Law

Academic Credentials

  • LLM (Animal Law) Degree - Lewis & Clark Law School

  • LL.B (Law) Degree - University of Johannesburg, South Africa

  • B.COM. Law Degree - University of Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Postgraduate Courses in Advanced Company Law I and II - University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, The Mandela Institute

  • Human Rights Certificate - University of Lucerne, Switzerland, Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation


Handbook on Global Animal Law (Country Report: South Africa) - Oxford University Press - Forthcoming 2022 (A project of Harvard Law School, Animal Law & Policy Program and The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law)

Aquatic Animal Law, with Kathy Hessler, Kelly Levenda, Rebecca Jenkins, and Sonia Waisman, Carolina Academic Press (2022)


“Animal Law in South Africa – Until the lions have their own lawyers, the law will continue to protect the hunter” - dA.Derecho Animal (Forum of Animal Law Studies) 2019, vol.10/5

Other Title(s)/Position(s)

Animal Law Reform South Africa - Director and Co-Founder

Humane Education Trust, South Africa - Trustee

Coalition for African Animal Welfare Organisations, South Africa - Director

Lawyers for Animal Protection in Africa - Co-Founder

Global Research Network (GRN) - Associate Fellow

Pro Elephant Network (PREN) - Expert Member

Credence Institute (CI) - Animal Law Associate

Latest Presentations

Public Interest Environmental Law Conference 2021 (March): “Navigating the Regulatory Waters for Aquatic Animals” Panel

Canadian Animal Law Conference 2020 (September): Virtual Event: “Making Waves: Aquatic Animal Law Developments”

Canadian Animal Law Conference 2020 (September): Virtual Event: “Human and Animal Rights: A need for an Integrational Approach in Law and Policy”

Animal Law Conference 2019 (October 2019): Portland, OR: “All the World’s a Stage: Raising the Curtain on International Animal Advancements”

Animal Law Conference 2019 (October 2019): Portland, OR “Student Career Panel”

Cape Town Animal Conference 2019 (September 2019): University of Cape Town: “Human and Nonhuman Animal Interests: The Need for an Integrational Approach in Law and Policy”

Cape Town Animal Conference 2019 (September 2019) – Justice for Animals in South Africa and Beyond, Student Session: University of Cape Town: “Animal Law Opportunities in South Africa and Internationally”

Research Center for Public Policy and Regulatory Governance (May 2019) – Animal Law - Developments and Directions: University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland): “Human and nonhuman animal interests: The need for an integrational approach in law and policy”

Association of Zoos and Aquariums (September 2018) – Annual AZA Conference Seattle: “Animal Lawyers analyze AZA Accredited Zoo”

Africa Animal Welfare Conference (August 2018) – United Nations Environment, Nairobi Kenya: “The Consumptive Use of Wildlife as a Model for Conservation in Africa”

Oxford Center for Animal Ethics Summer School (July 2018) – Oxford University:

“The Legalization of the Rhino Horn Trade and whether this is an effective mechanism to protect rhinos”

Global Animal Law Conference (May 2018) - Hong Kong University - “Animal Law Education in South Africa”


Fish as Food – What’s the Catch? (March 2021) - Food Law Class - Lewis & Clark Law School

Animal Rights and Social Justice (October 2020) - University of Denver

Aquatic Animals and the Law (October 2020) - Animal Law Fundamentals – Lewis & Clark Law School

Aquaculture Lecture (June 2020) - Aquatic Animal Law Summer Course, Lewis & Clark Law School

Fish as Food – What’s the Catch? (February 2020) - Food Law Class - Lewis & Clark Law School

Guest Lectures (Fall 2018 & Spring 2019) - Animal Law Clinic - Lewis & Clark Law School

Latest Media Appearances

Animal Voice - South African Online Magazine (March 2020) - “Using Law as the Architect of a New (all-inclusive) World”

Animal Voice - South African Online Magazine (November 2019) - “South African Defenders of the Rights of Nonhumans to Decent Treatment”

Voiceless Australia - The Animal Protection Institute (July 2019) - In Conversation with the Co-Founder of South Africa’s First Animal Law Organisation

Uptown Radio - Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (December 2018) - “Bird and Exotic Animal Trade Discussion”

In Tune to Nature environmental radio show WRFG-Atlanta (March 2018) - “Rhino Horn Trade Policy Discussion”

Animal Voice - South African Online Magazine (January 2018) - “Lawyers Muscle Up to Fight for Africa’s Animals”

Latest Appointments

Global Research Network (GRN) - Associate Fellow

Latest Awards and Honors

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) - Civil Society Visionary