CHAIR: Mariann Sullivan
CHAIR-ELECT: Ledy Van Kavage
At the Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, on August 6, 2011, the Excellence in Animal Law Award was presented to Rebecca J. Huss, Professor at Valparaiso University School of Law and one of the leading voices in the country on companion animal law. The reception was sponsored by the National Canine Research Council, Best Friends Animal Society and Valparaiso University School of Law.
Every year since its inception, the ALC has received a special recognition award from its parent Section - the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and 2011 was no exception. The Animal Law Committee received the award for "Overall Excellence".
Deconstructing US v. Stevens: Animal Cruelty and Freedom of Speech was a 90-minute webinar discussing the US Supreme Court case and its impact on animal law and advocacy. It was held on September 23, 2010 and featured panelists: Joan Schaffner, former ALC Chair and Professor of Law at George Washington Law School; Madeline Bernstein, Constitutional scholar; Michael Dorf, Professor of Law at Cornell Law School; and Joyce Tischler, founder of Animal Law Defense Council.
A 90-minute teleconference entitled Animal Rights and the Public's Right to Know: Farmed Animal Welfare and Consumer Labeling Issues, was held on September 28, 2010 and discussed consumer concern about the welfare of farm animals and related health, food safety, and environmental issues. Moderated by Mariann Sullivan, the conference featured Dr. Temple Grandin, renowned food safety consultant on animal treatment in food production, Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel at Compassion Over Killing, and Craig Pease, Professor of Law at Vermont Law School.
At the Spring Meeting in Amelia Island, FL on May 20, 2011, a CLE program entitled Legal Ethics through an Animal's Eye was presented moderated by Yolanda Eisenstein of the Eisenstein Law Office and chair of the ALC Practice Subcommittee. The CLE discussed the ethical implications that face practicing lawyers in animal law cases and featured Scott DeVito, Assistant Law Professor at Florida Coastal Law School; David Favre, Professor of Law at Michigan State University Law School; Geoff Fleck, Assistant State Attorney, Gainesville, FL; and Marcy LaHart, Attorney, Gainesville, FL.
Also, at the Spring meeting, Bill Snape, co-chair of the ALC Wildlife Subcommittee spoke as part of a multi-committee CLE on the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.
At the Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada on August 5, 2011, ALC presented a CLE program entitled Hot Topics in Animal Law for a discussion of the most urgent issues in animal law covering widely varied aspects of the practice. Speakers included a panel of young lawyers: Jessica Almy of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal; Ashley Dobbs of Protorae Law, PLLC; Jennifer Reba Edwards of The Animal Law Center; Cheryl Leahy of Compassion Over Killing; and Delcianna Winders of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The program was moderated by Akisha Townsend of the Humane Society of the United States.
At the Winter Meeting in Atlanta in February, 2011, the ALC's proposal before the ABA House of Delegates on protocols to handle large seizures of animals passed with a unanimous vote and became official ABA policy. The passage of this resolution was an important step in encouraging development of the law in a way that recognizes the need for humane treatment and individual evaluation of these victims. Ledy Van Kavage conceived the proposal and led the charge aided by Rebecca Huss, Michelle Welch, Katie Barnett, and Lauren Gallagher.
A model legislation proposal regarding tort damages for harm to a domestic companion animal was defeated by a tie vote in TIPS Council and a revised version tabled and a proposal on federal regulation of stocking density for farm animals was also tabled.
At the Annual Meeting in Toronto in August of 2011, an ALC resolution encouraging state and local jurisdictions to enact laws that conform with federal law and guidance regarding service animals went before the TIPS Council for approval.
Public Service Activity
A video was produced and published from the ALC public service program held at the 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The pit bull vaccination clinic was jointly sponsored with a local animal rescue group called BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible about Pit Bulls).
At the Spring Meeting in Amelia Island, FL, ALC worked with the Law in Public Service Committee that spearheaded a project during the Wild Amelia Nature Festival to help children build bird houses.
On August 4, 2011, during the Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, ALC co-sponsored a program entitled Legislative Approaches to Reducing Dog Bite Related Incidents at the University of Toronto School of Law. The program was open to the public and discussed breed-specific legislation as well as an alternative approach: Responsible Pet Ownership Communities. Speakers included Ledy Van Kavage, Senior Legislative Attorney for Best Friends Animal Society; Rebecca Huss, Professor of Law at Valparaiso University; and Donald Cleary, Director of Communications and Publications at the National Canine Research Council. The program was moderated by Kara Gilmore, Manager and General Counsel of the National Canine Research Council.
An ongoing public service program was the Humane Education Project, a joint project with the Animal Law and Law in Public Service Committees and the Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART), a non-profit public charity. The primary objective of the project is to cultivate compassion and empathy in youth toward animals and foster respect for the environment. Designed to reach elementary school children in 4th and 5th grades, the program has been implemented in New York City, the District of Columbia, Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles.
The Animal Law Committee completed a very successful strategic planning session at the Mid-Year Meeting in Atlanta, GA led by Tom Davis. A full report was completed and issued to the leadership. Also, as part of the ongoing strategic planning process, a survey of the entire ALC membership was created by Membership Vice-Chair Marianne McDermott and conducted to obtain their input on current ALC activities and goals and the results were distributed.
A succession plan has been put in place to ensure the continuation of excellent leadership of the committee and subcommittees are re-evaluated every year.
Publications and Internet
Under the joint editorship of Joan Schaffner and Rebecca Tinsley, the ALC produced three high quality newsletters: Fall (a joint issue between the ALC and the International Law Committee), Winter, and Spring issues.
The ALC participated, by way of a timely submission, in the Annual Law Survey in the TIPS Journal.
The ALC website was revamped, improving user friendliness and increasing content and visual aspect. The site included an audio section where guest speaker Eric Glitzenstein's talk on the delisting of the grey wolf from the member teleconference can be heard. The Committee also continued to maintain a very active Facebook presence updating users on current articles of interest in animal law.
In Spring 2011, the ALC created a new publication, a quarterly calendar of national animal law events, entitled "TIPS on Events" to provide information to all ALC members on animal- related conferences, CLEs, and other programs or interest nationwide. Law students were utilized to research the events and the calendar was distributed via e-mail to all ALC members and posted on the ALC website. Follow-up efforts were made to ensure that ALC brochures were on hand at most of the events for promotion of the ALC to prospective members.
Joan Schaffner and the Publications Subcommittee began the process of creating an online "Animal Law Toolkit" designed as a guide for those wanting to get involved in animal law.
Yolanda Eisenstein created a new publication for ALC entitled Careers in Animal Law" that will be an exceptional research tool for lawyers new to animal law. The ALC received a grant from the TIPS Enterprise Fund that funded the distribution of 276 copies of ALC's book The Lawyer's Guide to Dangerous Dog Issues to city attorneys around the country and an additional 75 at CLEs.
Former ALC Chair Joan Schaffner published a new book entitled An Introduction to Animals and the Law, a fundamental text for anyone interested in animal law.
Membership Activity and Communications
Marianne McDermott, Membership Vice-Chair, spearheaded the production of a revised three-fold four-color ALC brochure to help recruit new members.
Special welcome letters were sent to all new ALC members along with a sign-in sheet for interest in working with ALC subcommittees or writing articles to encourage involvement. Membership in ALC was 333 at the end of the 2010-2011 year.
Special efforts were made to involve the law students and young lawyer members of ALC in researching events for the "TIPS on Events" program and in CLE programs.
Regular communications with members were continued through regular teleconferences where members were updated on the current ALC work in addition to guest speakers on relevant animal law issues.
An in-person ALC business meeting was held at each of major TIPS meetings (Fall, Winter, Spring and the Annual ABA meeting) where members could participate via telephone.