UH Law Center Founds Student Animal Legal Defense Fund Chapter

Group Joins Growing List of Law School Chapters Working to Advance Interests of Animals

Protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system is the mission of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which has partnered with University of Houston (UH) Law Center to create a student chapter of the national non-profit group.

Animal law is a combination of statutory and case law in which the nature - legal, social or biological - of nonhuman animals is an important factor. This includes companion animals, wildlife, animals used in entertainment and animals raised for food or research. Most traditional areas of the law are affected - including tort, contract, criminal and constitutional law.

The UH Law Center chapter will take on projects such as advocating for the addition of animal law courses to curriculums; hosting speakers, debates, panels and conferences; writing law review articles for journals dedicated to animal law; tabling on campus to raise awareness about animal issues; and volunteering to do legal research and writing for local law firms.

Only nine law schools offered courses in animal law in 2000. Today, the list has grown to 92, including a course at the UH Law Center.

The UH student group becomes the 116th law school chapter in the United States and Canada working to promote the field of animal law under the auspices of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which was founded in 1979. The first Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter was established in 1992 at Lewis & Clark Law School. Today, chapters have been established at many of the leading universities in the country, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, New York University and Northwestern.

"SALDF chapters are an instrumental part of a growing national movement toward recognizing the important body of law known as animal law," said Stephen Wells, animal legal defense fund executive director. "A SALDF chapter can be a powerful forum on campus for education and scholarship aimed at understanding this area of law and the impact it has on animals. Most importantly, SALDF chapters are in a unique position to powerfully advocate for changing laws to better protect animals."

For more information, visit www.aldf.org.

University of Houston students, alumni, faculty and staff interested in joining the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund of the University of Houston should contact chapter president Susan Pickle at sdpickle@central.uh.edu.