Harvard Law School Wants To Train Lawyers To Fight For Animal Rights

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Harvard Law School, one of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions, has just launched a new program to teach law students how they can fight for animal rights. The new Animal Law & Policy Clinic provides hands-on experience for students on legislation, litigation, policy-making and administrative practice to help future lawyers protect the rights of all animals. The course will additionally dive into current issues that face wildlife, farmed animals, those in captivity and the overall threat that the climate crisis is posing on animals. 

In a statement, Harvard University said that animal protection has become one of the fastest growing fields in public interest law, leading to their decision to open up a new course under Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Program to teach students to produce impactful legal changes for animals. 

Professor Kristen Stilt, who will be teaching the course, said that the program will aim to “will train and prepare our graduates to embark on careers in the animal protection field, produce impactful litigation and policy analysis to benefit the animal protection movement, and provide an internationally renowned platform for educating the broader public about the many pressing issues involving animal law and policy.”

Under the new program, law students will learn how to pursue advocacy under several areas of the law. These include the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Animal Welfare Act, the Human Slaughter Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and more state animal cruelty codes. 

Harvard Law School is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. The decision to introduce the course comes as interest in and the number of courses in Animal Law have increased rapidly within the past two decades, from only 9 in 2000 to 167 in 2017

“Animal law is a vitally important and rapidly growing field,” said Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning.

The news comes at a time of heightened awareness about the suffering of animals, from the global live animal trade to the impact of our climate crisis on wildlife species and ecosystems. For example, recent series of investigative reports have put into the spotlight the cruelty and and inhumane conditions that 5 million animals per day are subject to in the global live animal trade. Experts have estimated that the devastating wildfires in Australia, which have been fuelled by our climate crisis, have killed over 1 billion animals and threatening the wiping out of entire animal species.

Lead image courtesy of Pixabay.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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