CHAIR: Yolanda Eisenstein
CHAIR-ELECT: Christopher D. Green
The overall theme of the Animal Law Committee (ALC) this year was “wildlife”.
At the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts on August 7, the ALC presented its 2014 “Excellence in Advancing Animal Law” award to Ledy VanKavage. Ledy VanKavage is the senior legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society and is a former chair member to the ALC. She has devoted her career to animal protection. She was the senior director of legislation and legal training for the ASPCA and spearheaded the passage of more than 30 humane state bills during her tenure. The awards reception was co-sponsored by Best Friends?.
The ALC held a very successful CLE program on International Trade in Animals and Animal Products: Forging Agreements and Litigating Disputes, in during the ABA Annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. The International Law Subcommittee cosponsored the CLE which presented current issues in international trade disputes and free trade agreements relating to trade in animals and animal products, including discussions of areas of conflict and emerging trends. Speakers included: Peter L. Fitzgerald, Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida; Andrew Lurie, Humane Society of the United States, Washington, DC; and David W. Oliver, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environmental and Natural Resources Office for the U.S. Trade Representative, Washington, DC.
ALC held its second national CLE program, Shelter and Rescue Law Liability, on October 13, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida at the Best Friends Animal Society Conference. Topics included liability issues related to sheltering, rescuing, and adopting animals, breed discrimination, employment law, managing donations, duties and responsibilities of animal shelter board members, and lobbying for nonprofits. Speakers included Stacey Evans, attorney and past board member of Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Bonnie Lutz, partner, Klinedinst, PC, Debbie McCullough, National Wildlife Federation, Ledy VanKavage, Best Friends Animal Society, Jennifer Vicente, attorney, Klinedinst, PC.
Public Service Activity
At the ABA TIPS midyear meeting, the Animal Law Committee joined with Safe Humane Chicago to gather and assist the Court Case Dogs Program at Chicago Animal Care and Control. Safe Human Chicago is a leading non-profit organization that educates and trains about the benefits of the human-animal bond. The group assisted Safe Humane Chicago by working with and socializing numerous rescue dogs for life beyond the shelter. Committee members also learned about the Court Case Dogs Program involvement and cooperation with Chicago Police Department and Safe Humane.
On Saturday, May 17, 2014, ALC members supported the Southern Florida Wildlife Center by preparing food for orphaned wildlife, helping with spring cleaning, mowing, and weeding among other tasks. The Southern Florida Wildlife Center is the largest wildlife hospital, trauma center, and rehabilitation facility in the nation in intake numbers. The Center’s mission is to protect wildlife through rescue, rehabilitation, and education admitting nearly 13,000 injured, orphaned, or imperiled animals annually.
Website and Webinars
ALC currently manages active Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook accounts to keep members and the public informed as to our work and progress. All minutes of meetings and podcasts of teleconference speakers are on the website.
In March, ALC facilitated a one-hour teleconference on Farmed Animal Protection followed by a speaker presentation on ADA and service animals. In July, the subject of breed specific legislation was discussed in another teleconference.
The Agricultural Law Subcommittee held a webinar entitled, Animal Law and the Constitution: Property, Preemption and Police Power. Speakers included: J. Scott Ballenger, Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP; James Oleske, Associate Professor Law at Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon; Francesca Ortiz, Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas; and Peter Brandt, Senior Attorney, Farm Animals Humane Society of the United States, Washington, DC as moderator.
The Companion Animal Subcommittee hosted a lunch and learn panel on July 15, 2014 led by Ledy VanKavage, attorney at Best Friends Animal Society. Ledy VanKavage discussed legal controversies surrounding breed discrimination. Lunch and Learn programs are open to all ALC members who have animal law expertise to share with the group.
Minutes of all business meetings were created, approved and posted on the TIPS/ALC website.
The ALC published three exceptional newsletters this year keeping members apprised of the ever-increasing field of Animal Law. The Winter/Spring 2014 newsletter was a special wildlife edition highlighting how lawyers can help solve the countless threats facing wildlife today. A special thank you to Jessica Cohen and Rebecca Tinsley for their efforts as editors of this special edition.
Law student members worked on keeping the website events up to date.
The ALC has reached its tenth year as a committee of the ABA Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section. Mentoring and supporting energetic young lawyers in their work for the committee is a continued priority. ALC members have an opportunity to highlight their expertise through a newsletter articles. The ALC carried a record number of new active members this year and is consistently regarded as one of the premiere committees of TIPS garnering numerous TIPS awards.