What is animal law?
Animal law refers to all of the ways the law affects and regulates animals. Major animal law issues include: farm animal welfare and policy; wildlife protection and endangered species issues; captive animal (i.e., animals in zoos and aquaria) protection; companion animal advocacy and animal cruelty prevention; issues relating to animals used in scientific research and product testing; and legal advocacy seeking to achieve legal “personhood,” instead of “property,” status for animals.
While animals impact nearly every aspect of human life—from what we eat, to what we wear, from our loving pets, to our mindless entertainment—the law often ignores them or explicitly allows their exploitation. Animal law includes both working with laws directly regulating the treatment of animals and creatively engaging other areas of the law to protect animals and further their interests.
What is the Animal Law Society and what does it do?
The Animal Law Society hosts fun and engaging lunch talks with the best vegan food on campus. We work to protect animals through the legal system, collecting resources for students and helping each other learn and advocate on behalf of animals. We host social events and attend conferences with animal law professionals from around the country. We also collaborate closely with Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Program. To see some of the events we have hosted, view our past events.
Students founded the HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund in 1995 as a chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). ALDF uses the law to advance animals’ interests. In 2015, we won ALDF’s Chapter of the Year award. In 2018, we changed our name to HLS Animal Law Society: A Student Chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
The Animal Law Society has four major goals:
- Support HLS students interested in animal protection law;
- Engage the HLS community with issues facing animals, and educate our peers and community on how the law can help or hurt;
- Serve delicious vegan meals (we welcome meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike—we promise you’ll all love our food!); and
- Work to protect animals, especially via the legal system.
How can I get involved or stay up to date with the Animal Law Society?
Read the upcoming events page to see what we have planned.
To join our email list, e-mail us.