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Fellow becomes Founding Chair of New Animal Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools

25th July 2008

Fellow of the Centre, Professor Joan Schaffner, will become the Founding Chair of the newly created Section on Animal Law in the American Association of Law Schools (AALS). The new Section is the result of a two-year effort spearheaded by Professor Schaffner  together with law colleagues. The petition to the AALS was submitted in February 2008, and signed by over 280 full-time law faculty and/or administrators, representing 65 law schools. The Section will host its first official panel in January 2009 at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego, titled: ‘All Law is Animal Law: Teaching Animal Law Across the Curriculum’.

The AALS is a non-profit association of 168 law schools, and serves as the learned society for law teachers and is legal education’s principal representative to the federal government and to other national higher education organisations and learned societies.

The need for the section is shown by the fact that more than eighty AALS member law schools have a class on animal law. In addition, more than 100 law schools have a student chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and there are now five Journals that are devoted to animal law: Animal Law Review (Lewis & Clark), Journal of Animal Law (Michigan State), Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy (Whittier), Journal of Animal Law & Ethics (University of Pennsylvania), and Stanford Journal of Animal Law & Policy. In 2006, Carolina Academic Press published the third edition of the casebook, Animal Law, by Pamela Frasch, Sonia Weismann and Bruce Wagman and a new casebook, Animal Law, Welfare, Interests and Rights, by David Favre, was recently published by Wolters Kluwer.

The American practising bar also has embraced this area of the law by creating committees or sections devoted to animal law.  Currently twelve state bars and the Bar of the District of Columbia have sections or committees devoted to animal law. Another nine regional bar sections or committees of animal law exist.  Perhaps most significantly the American Bar Association, Trial and Insurance Practice Section established an Animal Law Committee in 2005 which has been extremely active since its inception.

Commenting Professor Schaffner said: “I am truly delighted. Our success has been the result of many hands over many years, and we should rightly congratulate ourselves on this pioneering development for the animals”.