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Want to Learn More?

Important Dates

Fall Semester Begins

August 12th, 2024


Fall Application Deadline

May 19th, 2024

The Global Impact of Your Advanced Degree in Animal Law

The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) educates the next generation of animal law advocates and advances animal protection through the law. CALS offers two advanced degrees in animal law: the LLM, which is designed for lawyers, or the MSL, geared towards non-lawyers who hold a Bachelor’s Degree. These degrees are offered online via a fully asynchronous platform and in-person on our beautiful campus in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Candidates for our advanced degree program hail from and are interested in a variety of areas, including legal practice, teaching, research, academia, policy, and more. The online program is designed to be accessible and flexible for students who have other professional or personal obligations. Additionally, all candidates to our advanced degree program are automatically considered for scholarship support.

CALS’ current and ever-growing alumni network consists of lawyers, academics and policy-makers from over 20 countries. In a recent webinar, Teaching Fellow and Animal Law LLM alum, Hira Jaleel, Dr. Rajesh K. Reddy, Director of the Animal Law Program; and Megan Senatori, Associate Director of the Center for Animal Law Studies, discussed ways in which international students can use their advanced degrees in animal law to make an impact in their home countries. 

Hira talked about the need to take a global perspective on animal law and how an advanced degree in animal law can be used to make an international impact. Professor Senatori then covered some of the fantastic work being done by our alumni-in-action for animals all over the world. Finally, Dr. Reddy fielded attendee questions about our advanced degree program in a Q&A session.

Global Impact of Your Advanced Degree

The Global Need for Animal Law

Hira Jaleel is a lawyer from Pakistan specializing in Animal Law. In Pakistan, Hira’s work included litigating to protect the interests of nonhuman animals, drafting animal protection legislation, and advising clients on animal protection issues. Hira was also a recipient of CALS’ Global Ambassador Program award and used the grant to design and teach Pakistan’s first ever course on animal law. Along with Professor Pamela Frasch, Hira is co-teaching Food Law to online advanced degree students at Lewis & Clark Law in Summer 2023. 


In the webinar, Hira discussed how many of the problems confronting animals around the world are global in nature. For example, the law is often  woefully inadequate to protect animals. Animals are legally considered property, which means that their interests as living, sentient beings are commonly disregarded by the legal system. This leads to a fundamental disconnect between the interests of animals and  the scope of legal protection they are afforded. Because of this disconnect, humans can legally use and exploit animals in many ways, many of which are quite cruel.


For example, farmed animals are often routinely mutilated, castrated without anesthesia, confined throughout their lives, and separated from their families – practices that are routinely allowed by law. Similarly, the law allows for wild animals (with the exception of certain species provided heightened legal protections) to be killed, either to manage their populations or when they are deemed ‘invasive species’. While some jurisdictions may have stronger animal protection laws than others, there is a global need for legal reform and for better legislation that meaningfully protects the interests of nonhuman animals. 


Secondly, there is a need for the legal system to address the harms being caused by industrial animal agriculture. Worldwide, around 80 billion land animals are killed for food each year. This figure does not include aquatic animals caught and killed for human consumption. In an industrialized animal agriculture system, farmed animals are raised in crowded, unnatural, and cruel living conditions for the sake of productivity and profit. Furthermore, industrial animal agriculture has detrimental impacts for the environment, human health and human safety.


As more and more countries are looking to develop their economies and increase food production, they are moving away from traditional farming methods towards a more industrialized form of animal agriculture. As a result, small farms and farmers are being run out of business and big corporations are consolidating control over animal farming operations. This results in negative outcomes for humans, the environment and animals. The challenge therefore, is how can the law address the growth and impact of industrial animal agriculture around the world?


Furthermore, the world is currently in the midst of a mass extinction crisis, this one caused by human beings. Biodiversity loss has accelerated to the point where the current rate of species extinction is 100 to 1000 times higher than natural background extinction rates. Pressures such as clearing land for animal farming operations, overhunting, domestic and transnational wildlife trafficking, habitat loss and climate change are all contributing to biodiversity loss at unprecedented rates. Once again, biodiversity loss affects all parts of the world and the question is: how can the law regulate human activity such as to ameliorate some of the detrimental impacts humans have on animal lives?

Global Legal Solutions for Animals

Hira outlined how solutions to these problems are global in nature. Animal advocates can use their advanced degrees in animal law in a variety of ways to improve the lives of nonhuman animals through the law. For example, most, if not all countries, need stronger legislation that recognizes animals as more than property and acknowledges their interests. Stronger laws can include better protections against abuse and cruelty, safeguard animal interests, and prohibit a wide range of activities such as cruel industrial animal farming practices and wildlife crimes. Animal advocates are crucial for lobbying, drafting legislation, and advancing policies that protect animals.


However, laws can be toothless without proper enforcement. Another key aspect of animal law and a role animal advocates play is ensuring that those responsible for enforcing animal protection legislation are carrying out their mandate. In the pursuit of this goal, animal lawyers and advocates are responsible for coming up with creative legal strategies to ensure that the law is operating as it should.


These strategies can look like strategic litigation, lobbying, advocacy, or even teaching and training judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement regarding proper enforcement means. For non-lawyers, having knowledge of how the legal system operates in their country and what kinds of laws protect or don’t protect animals can be beneficial when advocating for change in this space. 


Furthermore, many of the harms animals face, such as wildlife trafficking, are in fact, transnational in nature. Therefore, countries need to collaborate with one another, often through formal international legal instruments, to protect animals within their borders. Knowledge of animal law, especially international and global animal law, is very useful when addressing some of these trans-boundary harms to animals and when thinking about how the law can redress these harms. 

CALS’ International Approach to Animal Law

Since its inception CALS has been a trailblazer in global animal law education. Most of CALS’ courses offer a comparative or international approach to animal law, and contain a diversity of legal perspectives from all over the world. Additionally, certain courses such as International Animal Law, taught by Professor Reddy, and Global Wild Animal Law, taught by Professor Erica Lyman, focus primarily on an international approach to animal law. 


Each jurisdiction has its own unique perspective towards the law and some are doing better than others in terms of laws that protect animals. Learning about different countries’ approaches can help students visualize what shape stronger laws can take. Additionally, when studying comparative approaches to animal law, students can replicate creative legal strategies employed in other jurisdictions in their own legal efforts to protect animals at home. 


As Hira highlighted in the webinar, some of the ways students can use their advanced degree in animal law to help animals include but are not limited to; creating a US-based nonprofit organization to work internationally; designing an animal law course to teach in their home countries or engaging in strategic impact litigation to protect animals through the law. 


Students with advanced degrees in animal law can also secure employment at governmental and non-governmental organizations working to protect the interests of animals. CALS alumni have worked with governments to draft legislation, negotiate international instruments and lobby for animal protection measures.


Many alumni also lead or work with domestic and international non-governmental organizations in a variety of capacities to advance the interests of nonhuman animals, including farmed animals, wild animals, animals used in research and companion animals. Furthermore, an advanced degree in animal law is beneficial for those looking to pursue a full-time career in research, policy or academia in areas involving nonhuman animals.  

CALS’ Alumni and their Global Impact

Megan Senatori, CALS’ Associate Director who also teaches in the online program, shared examples of the work our LLM alumni are doing to advance legal protections for animals all around the world:


Alice Di Concetto (‘16, LLM, France) founded the European Institute for Animal Law and Policy. Alice is an expert on EU animal advocacy and farmed animal welfare, and her work includes leading a collaborative effort to ban the practice of chick and duck culling in the EU. 


Diego Plaza (‘20, LLM, Chile) is a founder of the Center for Chilean Animal Law Studies (CEDA Chile) and the Interspecies Justice Foundation. Additionally, Diego is the author and academic contributor to the Dossier of Animal Studies, which includes works from 18 authors from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain and more. Diego also filed litigation to free Sandai, a bornean orangutan, from a zoo in Chile. 


Gladys Kamasanyu (‘20, LLM, Uganda) is the Chief Magistrate of Uganda’s first and only specialized wildlife court. As part of her work, Gladys regularly adjudicates wildlife cases involving illicit wildlife products. Gladys is also the founder of nonprofit organization, Help African Animals, through which she has drafted and published a Compendium of Ugandan animal welfare laws. 


Tony Gerrans (‘19, LLM, South Africa) is currently the Executive Director of African operations for Humane Society International and serves as a legal advisor on the Cape Animal Welfare Forum. Previously, Tony has served as a trustee of the Humane Education Trust and helped a farm animal sanctuary in Franschhoek.


The MSL program is set to have its first batch of graduates soon and CALS is looking forward to everything that our future MSL alumni will accomplish for animals following graduation.  

Ready to Make a Difference?

At the conclusion of the presentation, Dr. Reddy, Director of our Animal Law Program, responded to an array of questions relating to the program, application requirements, tuition and scholarships. If you want to ask your own questions, please join us for a future webinar as we always leave room to answer them. 

Apply to the online LLM or MSL programs at the Center for Animal Law Studies and make a global difference for animals. The deadline to apply to start in the Fall of 2023 is May 15, 2023. Apply here!

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