Thursday, December 16, 2010

2009-2010 Year in Review

The Center for Animal Law Studies, in collaboration with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, wishes you and yours the best in 2011. We've put together a special year in review "movie" for you as an expression of our gratitude. We are proud to contribute to the field of animal law and remain dedicated to "Creating the Next Generation of Animal Law Attorneys." 2011 holds a lot of promise for us, our students, colleagues, friends, and the continued development of animal law. It's an exciting time and we look forward to many good things to come; new animal law courses, new Animal Law Clinic projects, new students, new opportunities, and amazing work on ALL fronts. Cheers, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark, in collaboration with the Animal Legal Defense Fund
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Blog Post Update From Jaclyn

As a quick update to my earlier post about the Truth in Fur Labeling Act - it just got passed by the Senate! Read more here. As soon as Obama signs it, it will become law, and all products containing real fur must be labeled as such, regardless of their market price. Way to go, Congress!
In other (almost as exciting) news, I have now officially completed my first law school final, and I survived (although perhaps I should wait till I receive my grades till I address whether I survived). Happy Holidays to everyone!
Jaclyn Leeds J.D. Candidate 2013 Lewis & Clark Law School
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why it Matters

I don’t think I am unique when I say that my dog is my best friend, hence the age-old adage; however, there is a whole new meaning to that truism when your dog is your only friend. I am spoiled with a network of support that is big enough to encompass my needs wherever I go in the world. For many of the individuals I spoke with this past weekend, that support network consists only of their dog or cat. Portland Animal Welfare Team, “PAW Team,” runs clinics on the first Sunday of every month to provide basic veterinary care as well as essential supplies free to the companion animals of people who are homeless or in extreme poverty. The devoted guardians line up outside the clinic as early as 6 a.m. to assure their companion’s chance of receiving care. Each dog or cat receives a number, and once their number is called, a volunteer helps the guardian fill out medical intake forms and assess what the pet needs that day: vaccines, deworming, ear checks, flea meds, nail trimming, grooming, etc. After the forms are completed, a volunteer takes the animal and guardian to different stations to administer the needed care. When finished, the guardian picks out some food, toys and a blanket, and then the animal and their guardian head off until their next visit. As a volunteer, I am reminded at these clinics of how wonderfully special companion animals are. At the clinic this past weekend, one of the individuals I was helping looked to be a big, tough guy, covered in tattoos. He was at the clinic with his rescued pit bull. One look at this pit bull and I knew she was a lucky, lucky girl to have found a loving human. Her deep scars and distended nipples spoke volumes about the abuse she must have endured in her previous “home.” The gentleman only adopted her months ago, but as I watched this big, tough guy look into this dog’s eyes, it was clear the two are soulmates. They looked at each other and only saw one another. It seems to me the pair may have rescued each other. That PAW Team can help these animals in need is important for the animals themselves, for the people whose lives they so fully enrich, as well as for our greater community. Every dog or cat that gets vaccinated is one fewer dog on the street potentially spreading disease. The clinic also mandates that dogs and cats be spayed or neutered and provides coupons to do so for free with the help of Multnomah County Animal Services and the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland. Every animal that gets spayed or neutered helps combat overpopulation and also helps ease some of the burden unwanted companion animals place on our community. The number of animals the clinic treats every month has climbed dramatically from 2009 to 2010 alone. In 2009, the clinic treated on average 70 pets; this year, that number has grown to 130+, in addition to having to turn some animals away. These are tough economic times. As this organization survives solely on donations, they are also struggling. I hope that PAW Team is able to push through and that they receive enough donations so that they can continue providing this essential service to the community.
Read more about this organization at Jaclyn Leeds J.D. Candidate 2013 Lewis & Clark Law School
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Repost - ALDF Blog by Matthew Liebman

This year’s conference sold out a full month ahead of time, reflecting the rapidly growing interest in animal law. Next year’s conference promises to continue Lewis & Clark’s tradition of hosting engaging and productive forums for the development of animal law. Read more:
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lessons From the 18th Annual Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark

Well, the 18th Annual Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark has come and gone, and what a weekend! I so enjoyed my first Lewis & Clark conference. I felt proud to be a member of this remarkable community and to share our school with people from around the world. I learned vast amounts about many different animal law issues and was both daunted by all the work that has to be done for the animals as well as inspired by all the groundbreaking achievements that have been done.

The most striking piece of information I learned this weekend was in a panel with Nancy Perry, vice president of government affairs at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). She was discussing the bills that she is hoping will get passed before the end of this congressional session, rapidly approaching on January 3rd. One of the bills being considered is The Truth in Fur Labeling Act (H.R. 2480). If passed, it would close the loophole left in the Fur Products Labeling Act of 1951 that exempts the labeling of fur products valued under $150.

According to Congressman Jim Moran, author of the bill and co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, 13% of the fur market falls beneath the $150 threshold. Additionally, recent investigations conducted by HSUS found “a proliferation of falsely labeled and falsely advertised fur on fashion clothing sold by some of the largest names in U.S. retailing.” Of the mislabeled (labeled as “faux fur”) and unlabeled fur-trimmed jackets tested by HSUS, 96% were found to be domestic dog, wolf, or raccoon.

Here is the text of the Act that desperately needs amendment:

(d) The term "fur product" means any article of wearing apparel made in whole or in part of fur or used fur; except that such term shall not include such articles, other than any dog or cat fur product to which section 308 of the Tariff Act of 1930 applies, as the Commission shall exempt by reason of the relatively small quantity or value of the fur or used fur contained therein.

I was both shocked and disgusted to learn this. I don’t know how many times I’ve bought boots with “fur” on the interior, assuming that since it wasn’t labeled as fur and the boots only cost $30, well then of course the fur wasn’t real! Was it? I certainly hope not. The realization of this possibility really drove home for me how significant each subtle word is in the law. Yikes. Every word counts. A single clause allows products containing dog fur to go unlabeled – unbelievable.

On a lighter note, I was so excited this morning to come to school and see all of my animal law peers. I feel like we all bonded this weekend. I was particularly struck by something L&C Animal Law Clinic Director Kathy Hessler said in the last panel, “Student Career Summit.” She advised us students to not consider our peers as competition, but rather as colleagues. The spirit of the conference really supported that notion - that everyone in this field needs to support each other.

Pamela Frasch and Joyce Tischler offered an engaging panel on social movements, examining the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements and using them to predict the future of the animal rights movement. A question that arose was, is it good or bad that the animal rights movement is so dispersive?

While I have mixed feelings on that, I do believe what is perhaps most important is not that we all agree on what is the “correct” way to go about securing rights for animals, but instead, that we all need to help each other help animals. I think for this field to really see wide success, we will all need to put our varying creative ideas together and support each other in our efforts.

That said, I am so excited to work with my peers at Lewis and Clark Law School, with my peers nationally who are passionate about making a difference for animals, and with the remarkable leaders already paving the way for present and future change.

Thanks to everyone for making this conference such an enriching experience!

Jaclyn Leeds J.D. Candidate 2013 Lewis & Clark Law School Jaclyn Leeds & Fellow 1Ls, Kelly LaToza & Lora Dunn

Nancy Perry, Vice President of Government Affairs, The Humane Society of the United States ( L&C Alumna)
Kathy Hessler
Animal Law Clinic Director, Lewis & Clark Law School

Pamela Frasch Assistant Dean/Executive Director, Center for Animal Law Studies & Joyce Tischler Founder/General Counsel, Animal Legal Defense Fund
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Friday, August 27, 2010

A Note From Incoming 1L Jaclyn Leeds

A few shots from Jaclyn and Ebony's recent trip to the Oregon Coast. Although I have only been in Oregon for a couple of weeks, I already feel that this is home. Everyone has some measure that indicates when a house (or in this case apartment) becomes a home; for me, it is refrigerator magnets. Now that my fridge is covered, I am home. I just officially relinquished my New Hampshire driver’s license for an Oregon one. I never thought I would go to school on the West Coast, but when I flew out to visit Lewis and Clark, it was love at first sight. I got greeted by dogs! And their proud guardians! What better place to study animal law than at a school where most everyone loves dogs?! My dog whom I’ve had for almost 12 years sadly stayed at home with my family, but last week I welcomed Ebony into my home. Ebony is a gorgeous 10-month lab mix, and why anyone would not want this dog is completely befuddling to me, because she is the sweetest, most loving dog on the coast (I am not biased, of course). So now I have magnets on the fridge and a dog at my feet – I just need to join a choir and a synagogue, and my life will be complete. And, as at the beginning of every new season, I’ve made a list of goals that always seem hardest to fulfill: eat dinner at the kitchen table every night with nothing in front of me but my food, try at least one new recipe every month, go for a run with my dog every day, actually frequent the gym I just joined and maybe even join a fitness class to have some accountability, sing whenever I am stressed, read a few pages of something for pleasure every night before I sleep, and start each day with a smile. Jaclyn Leeds J.D. Candidate 2013 Lewis & Clark Law School
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Scott Heiser of ALDF on Criminal Law & Animal Protection

Scott Heiser, Director of Animal Legal Defense Fund's Criminal Justice Program, is one of the foremost experts on criminal prosecutions of an animal abuse cases. In a comment posted today on ALDF's blog, Heiser discusses caselaw on the subject of using veterinary records admitted under the "business records" exception to the rule against hearsay and how this affects the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. Heiser's advice, " needs to be mindful of the collateral consequences of forming formal partnerships with law enforcement when it comes to Crawford issues." An interesting and prickly topic, that we suggest you read more about. Read Heiser's blog post.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Animal Law LL.M. - It's time!

The Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School is currently gauging the interest in offering the first LL.M. in animal law. It is time! To help us in this pursuit, we'd love to hear from you. Would you be interested in such a program were it to be offered? Please leave a comment and let us know.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in U.S. v. Stevens

The Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School (the Center) was not surprised by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in U.S. v. Stevens. The Court struck down as unconstitutional a federal statute (18 U.S.C. §48) criminalizing the behavior of anyone who knowingly “creates, sells or possesses a depiction of animal cruelty.” The statute’s target was “crush videos” sometimes referred to as animal “snuff” films.

The Court noted that the House Committee Report described these videos as “the intentional torture and killing of helpless animals,” which “appeal to persons with a very specific sexual fetish who find them sexually arousing.” The bill had significant support in Congress because animal cruelty is already illegal. Due to the difficulties in prosecuting this clandestine activity, Congress focused on criminalizing the creation and distribution, for commercial gain, of the resulting videos.

The Court’s majority, however, determined that the statute also potentially applied to activity that might be deemed cruel but is not illegal, such as hunting videos. Based on this finding, the Court overturned Mr. Stevens’ conviction for distributing videos of dogfighting, even though that behavior is illegal in all 50 states. In doing so, the Court supported the tradition of protecting First Amendment rights by refusing to uphold a conviction based upon a statute that it believed was not sufficiently narrowly tailored.

Importantly, the Court did not address whether preventing animal cruelty is a compelling governmental interest worthy of constitutional protection. Rather it determined that the statute in question was too broad and encroached on protected interests. Thus, the Court found the statute regulates speech protected by the First Amendment and therefore could not survive a constitutional challenge.

As noted in the Center for Animal Law Studies’ amicus curiae brief submitted in Stevens, American courts have long recognized that preventing animal cruelty ultimately serves human interests. One reason for this is the historical view that animal cruelty is abhorrent because the act of violence itself, regardless of the victim, dulls humanitarian feelings. One court in 1904 noted that constantly seeing disfigured and mutilated animals tends to corrupt the public morals. And as early as 1896, a court made clear that the legislative goal of anti-cruelty laws was “not only to protect these animals, but to conserve the public morals….”

The Center’s brief also references numerous studies explaining the connection between human and animal violence. These studies form the basis of many fundamental policy decisions. For instance:

· In the 1970’s, the FBI began using animal cruelty as one of the key factors to predict future violent behavior;

· The International Association of Chiefs of Police urges law enforcement to take animal cruelty reports seriously because violence against animals provides an early opportunity to prevent future violent crimes; and

· An article published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association summarizes the importance of addressing animal cruelty, stating that “animal abuse and neglect do not occur in a vacuum but are part of a pattern of dangerous and antisocial behavior jeopardizing people, animals, and inanimate property.”

The cumulative strength of the evidence illustrates that violence knows no boundaries. This requires regulation of both the actual acts of violence and the depictions of those acts.

The Stevens Court suggests a path to achieve this goal. A new statute, one more narrowly tailored, could successfully prohibit the creation or sale of depictions of animal cruelty for commercial use. The Center for Animal Law Studies looks forward to the development of a new statute to protect all victims, animals and people alike, from the impact of senseless violence for commercial gain.

Read the Center's amicus curiae brief submitted in U.S. v. Stevens.

Read the U.S. Supreme Court's majority opinion and Alito's dissent.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

This monkey died for you?

The Willamette Week recently ran a story about OHSU's primate research center ("This Monkey Died for You - OHSU Animal Researchers Fire Back at Their Critics"). We'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Here's our response:
As attorneys and professors working in the field of animal law, we know the issues relating to animal testing are more complex than the interviewees in This Monkey Died for You would have readers believe. For the past few years, we have visited the Primate Center with our students who have benefited from thoughtful discussions with Dr. Doane. Although we appreciate her openness, it is our personal view that the article fails to address several important points.

For instance, there are a number of respected science-based organizations, such as the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins, that reject animal testing on scientific and ethical grounds.

Second, for every purported advancement there is a countervailing setback that shows animal testing is not an accurate predictor of outcomes in humans.

Third, if the ability to feel pain is one of the factors that triggers ethical consideration, then there should be no distinction in the protections available to an animal regardless of whether he or she is bred for research.

Fourth, Mr. Newman incorrectly portrays most animal rights activists as “extremists.” It should not be considered extreme to hope for and work toward solutions that address both advancements for human health and protections for animals.

To clarify one quote attributed to Dr. Doane, the law does not require the reduction of animals in experiments, although there is a government policy statement that encourages this outcome.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues further with WW or with OHSU representatives.


Pamela Frasch, J.D. Assistant Dean, Animal Law Program and Executive Director, Center for Animal Law Studies

Professor Kathy Hessler, J.D., LL.M. Director, Animal Law Clinic Center for Animal Law Studies

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CALS on Twitter

That's right. We've decided to join the masses and become tweeters. You can follow us at:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CALS Files Petition on Behalf of Farm Sanctuary to Extend Downed Animal Regulations

In March of 2009, new rules from the USDA went into effect which ban “downed” cattle from being slaughtered for human consumption. The move was motivated by an effort to protect the human food supply from diseased animals, and to encourage the humane treatment of animals going to slaughter. Both Congress and the USDA have received significant and undeniable evidence that workers in slaughter facilities often do everything they can, including using forklifts, chains, and other cruel practices, to get downed animals all the way through the processing line. This is because downed animals that don’t make it to slaughter represent a financial loss to livestock producers. Animal Law Clinic Director Kathy Hessler said, “The downed cattle ban, however, is only one small step in the right direction. Now that the USDA has recognized cattle can and do suffer and human heath is seriously compromised by these practices, it’s time the USDA recognizes the same truths for pigs, goats, sheep, and other livestock.” For this reason, the Animal Law Clinic filed a petition on behalf of Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, to urge the USDA to extend the protections now offered to downed cattle to pigs, goats, sheep, and other livestock. Read more and find out how to contact Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to urge the expansion of downed animal protections.
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Swiss to Vote on Animal Lawyer Referendum

Will the Swiss give nonhuman animals a constitutional right to legal representation? Read more about the Swiss referendum.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 National Animal Law Competitions

The 7th Annual National Animal Law Competitions (NALC) were held February 5-7, 2010, at Harvard Law School. The competitions are designed to test law students’ legal skills through exercises in appellate brief writing, oral and closing arguments, bill and factsheet construction, legal analysis, and lobbying. A total of 61 law students representing 22 law schools from around the country competed in another successful event. Find out the competition results and view photos from the event.