History

Establishment of the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program

In the fall of 2014, Bradley L. Goldberg, founder and president of the Animal Welfare Trust, made a generous gift to found the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School. Under the direction of Professor Kristen Stilt, the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program aims to engage with academics, students, practitioners, and decision makers to foster discourse, facilitate research, develop strategic solutions, and build innovative bridges between theory & practice in the rapidly evolving area of animal law & policy. In the fall of 2016, Charles Thomas made a similarly benevolent grant to further all the accomplishments made in the Program’s inaugural year.

By funding curriculum development, experiential learning, scholarly gatherings and exchanges, forums for discussion and debate, and establishing both Academic Fellow and Policy Fellow programs, the Goldberg and Thomas gifts have helped launch a new level of activity in animal law at Harvard. That work began 14 years ago with the Bob Barker Endowment for the Study of Animal Rights at HLS––Harvard being the first of several law schools to receive such a gift in Bob Barker’s honor.

The Harvard administration has been incredibly supportive of the Program’s mission. Harvard President Drew Faust stated that “The Charles Thomas Fund will support the critically important work of the Animal Law & Policy Program. I look forward to seeing how it will advance research and teaching to improve the welfare of animals.”

As Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow further noted: “Once at the margins, legal questions about the status, interests, and treatment of animals increasingly take their rightful place across society. Now is the time for the resources of tort, property, family law, environmental law, constitutional law, and legal change strategies to make a crucial difference in the lives of animals.”

Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program:
First Year in Review