Program News

Picture of a primate holding the bars of a cage.7/09/20: Today, on behalf of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture for failure to protect primates used in biomedical research. Third year student Brett Richey ’21 who is taking the lead on this Complaint for the Clinic is quoted in a Boston Globe exclusive about the case, along with the Clinic’s director Katherine Meyer.
The Boston Globe: Animal rights advocates sue federal government over treatment of research primates. You can also read our media release and the Complaint

 

Front cover of report into the VA's use of dogs in biomedical research.

7/08/20: Today, our executive director Chris Green talked to Kerri O’Brien of ABC 8 News about the findings of a National Academies of Sciences panel he served on, which after an 18-month study of the VA’s dog research found that not only was it unnecessary in most cases to use dogs in biomedical research, but that the agency lacked any proof of making serious attempts to explore alternatives. “We certainly did see with some of the protocols, some of the experiments that were done, some of the justifications that had been traditionally given for using dogs in biomedical research, we did determine they were no longer valid in our opinion,” said Green.
ABC 8 News: Report finds most experiments at the VA unnecessary

 

Chris Green

7/01/20: A National Academy of Sciences Committee report released today told the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that dogs are not necessary except in very limited areas of research. After 18 months of service on the committee, our Executive Director Chris Green (pictured) hopes its findings will significantly reduce the numbers of dogs (and other animals) used in research. You can read the full report here, and Chris is quoted in The Washington Post: Dog experiments at VA necessary ‘for only a few areas of research’, panel says in sweeping report

 

6/24/20: Our Animal Law & Policy Clinic has petitioned the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to include cephalopods—octopus, squid and cuttlefish—among the animals entitled to humane treatment by those involved in federally funded research. The Clinic is representing the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), a non-profit dedicated to ending animal suffering caused by research, and a coalition of other organizations and well-known cephalopod scientists from the United States and across the world. You can read more and see the full petition here.

 

6/18/20: The past few months, weeks, and days have vividly and tragically highlighted the interlocking injustices and oppressions that characterize our world. Learn more about the Animal Law & Policy Program’s position and response to this in our Summer 2020 Newsletter.

 

 

6/09/20: Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic sent a 20-page letter to the United States Department of Agriculture today urging the agency to adopt a labelling approach for cell-based meat and poultry products that does not overly restrict speech and that respects the First Amendment. Recent Harvard Law School graduate Kelley McGill JD ’20  (pictured) worked on the letter with Clinical Instructor Nicole Negowetti. In February, the USDA announced that it will likely initiate rule-making, a lengthy public process for drafting new regulations, for labeling cell-based meat and poultry products. Labeling is one of the most important ways that producers have to communicate the details of their products to consumers, and product names are particularly vital for helping consumers to understand new food processes such as those used to produce cell-based meat and poultry products. In the United States, language on product labels is generally protected as commercial speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. You can read more here.

 

Screenshot of Harish S. Vemuri during Commencement Day Live Webcast 5/28/20: In the midst of these turbulent times we send positive wishes from Cambridge, where Harvard Law School recently held a moving online commencement ceremony featuring graduation speaker, Bryan Stevenson ’85, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. He told the Class of 2020: “My message to you is that I hope you’ll keep your eyes on the prize of doing justice and hold on. In these strange times, we need a generation of lawyers, like you, who commit to doing the things that are uncomfortable, that change narratives, that sustain hope, and that require proximity––to the poor, to those who suffer, to those who are marginalized, to those who are excluded.” The 2020 graduates include Harvard Animal Law Society Co-Presidents Kelley McGill and Gabriel Wildgen; Vice President Boanne Wassink JD ’20, and Campus Outreach Chair, Harish Vemuri (pictured) who received the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership. Kelley, Boanne, and Ashley Maiolatesi, who also graduated today, were honored for performing more than 1,000 hours of pro bono work with the Animal Law & Policy Clinic. Boanne’s journey to animal law features on page 25 and 26 of a special commencement newsletter. PDF: Learning The Law, Serving The World

 

Photograph by Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

5/22/20: The Animal Law & Policy Program is inviting immediate applications for a full-time, six-month Research Fellowship to manage a project studying policy responses to live animal markets. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Research Fellowship: Online Application Form

 

 

Chris Green and Kristen Stilt in Austin Hall’s Ames courtroom with Lola, Stilt’s rescue dog from Egypt
Photograph by Stu Rosne

5/07/20: The Animal Law & Policy Program was featured in a Harvard Magazine series “At Home with Harvard,” a guide to what to read, watch, listen to, and do while social distancing. This latest article in the series features excerpts from Harvard Magazine’s favorite past animal-related stories.
Harvard Magazine: At Home with Harvard: The Secret Lives of Animals

 

 

 

4/17/20: The Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic today filed an amicus brief in the 9th Circuit in support of listing the Pacific Walrus as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act due to the devastating effects of climate change on the sea ice on which the Walrus depends.
Amicus Brief: Prepared by Rebecca Gaverman and Ashley Maiolatesi

 

Two animal Law students sat discussing a case with their clinic director.
Photograph by Martha Stewart

4/10/20: The Animal Law & Policy Clinic is one of 44 legal clinics and student practice organizations that provide hundreds of thousands of hours of free legal services to clients across the  world each year. The Clinic’s efforts to advance justice—in action is highlighted at 12pm in the feature linked below.
Harvard Law Today:
A day in the life of Harvard Law School’s legal clinics

 

4/8/20: The SCOTUS blog today highlighted a Petition for Certiorari by the Center for Biological Diversity, which Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic filed a Supreme Court brief in support of. 
SCOTUS blog:
Center for Biological Diversity v. Wolf

 

Side profile shot of the head of a cow with ear tag and a rope around its face from New York Times article3/16/20: Helen Harwatt, the Animal Law & Policy Program’s Food & Climate Policy Fellow, was quoted in the New York Times today on the environmental impacts of dairy (story behind a paywall).
New York Times: The Milk Situation – Americans have been souring on dairy milk for decades. Here’s how farmers are trying to win us back

 

Mexican Monarch butterfly resting on a leaf.

3/5/20: Today, Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic filed its first Supreme Court brief in support of a Petition for Certiorari by the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the Trump Administration’s waiver of all environmental and other laws in connection with the construction of a massive Border Wall along the Mexico-United States Border.
The Harvard Crimson:
Clinic Fight Against Border Wall in Amicus Brief

 

Author and nuTracye3/2/20: Harvard’s Animal Law Week extended into this week with author and nutritionalist Tracye McQuirter’s talk “It’s Your Greens Not Your Genes: Why I’m Helping 10,000 Black Women Go Vegan in 2020″. You can find recordings of all our guest speakers on the Animal Law & Policy Program YouTube channel.
YouTube: Animal Law Week 2020 Videos

 

 

 

2/25/20: Professor Rajesh K. Reddy,  outlines that while regarded as an animal rights leader on the global stage, India is increasingly being criticized for its human rights abuses, many of which are being carried out in the name of animal protection.
Video: The Politics of Meat, Milk, Murder, and Moral Progress in India

 

 

2/24/20: Professor Kristen Stilt opened Animal Law Week 2020 today with a talk focused on the question, “What are Islamic conceptions of animal rights?”. The talk illustrated that Islamic law does recognize that animals have interests, but this recognition is not uniform for all animals and in all contexts. 
Video: Islamic Conceptions of Animals Rights

 

Student Elizabeth Melampy stands smiling in front of an apple tree.

2/24/20: Student Elizabeth Melampy ’21 talks about her litigation externship with Animal Outlook (formerly Compassion Over Killing) during winter term in a blog published today. Animal Outlook is an organization that works to protect farm animals and to challenge the standard industry practices of animal agribusiness.
Blog: Growth in Animal Law Advocacy

 

 

2/21/20 Judge Gale E. Rasin was announced one of America’s Top Ten Animal Defenders by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) today — the list of top prosecutors, law enforcement officials, lawmakers, and others who champion the cause of animal crime victims. Judge Rasin was an Animal Law & Policy Fellow at Harvard last year and wrote a guide for trial judges on the subject of animal hoarding. She will be honored during National Justice for Animals Week, Feb. 23–29.
ALDF Press Release: America’s Top Ten Animal Defenders for 2020 Award Winners Announced

 

2/19/20: Professor Delcianna Winder, who directs the Animal Law Litigation Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School and was the first Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program Fellow returned to campus to discuss recent federal assaults on basic animal protections, including under the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
YouTube: Protecting Animals in an Era of Deregulation

 

2/17/20: The American Bar Association today adopted a Resolution urging legislation to provide police animal encounter training in order to reduce the unnecessary use of lethal force against animals––which also harms families, police officers themselves, and innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. The Resolution was drafted by our Executive Director, Chris Green, who presented it to the full 600-member House of Delegates.
ABA Journal: Resolution on animal training for police passes

 

Panelist Nimai Delgado flexes his muscles at the request of the crowd in Ames Courtroom.

2/12/20:  A packed Ames Courtroom enjoyed a screening of The Game Changers documentary last night followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and athletes featured in the film, including vegan bodybuilder Nimai Delgado (pictured).
The Harvard Gazette: ‘Game Changers puts muscle behind plant-based diet
Video: The Game Changers panel discussion and Q&A

 

1/30/20:  Join the filmmakers and athletes from the groundbreaking documentary The Game Changers at our screening on February 11 at Harvard Law School. Panelists to include Zdeno Chara, Captain of the Boston Bruins.
Tickets: Screening of The Game Changers

 

A woman's hands lean on the keyboard of her laptop at a desk.1/13/20:  We are looking for someone with excellent research and writing skills to assist the Director of HLS’ new Animal Law and Policy Clinic for Spring 2020. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2020.
Vacancy: Research Assistant for Director of Animal Law and Policy Clinic 

 

 

New HLS building at corner of Mass Ave and Everett Street1/10/20:  Read a report on the Animal Law & Policy Clinic’s first semester activities from Clinic Director Katherine Meyer and Clinical Instructor Nicole Negowetti.
PDF: ALPC Fall 2019 Report

 

 

3L student Boanne Wassink stands smartly dressed and smiling in front of a bookcase.

12/26/19:  Read an inspiring article on student Boanne Wassink’s journey to Harvard Law School and how its Animal Law & Policy Clinic has helped her advocate for animals.
Southeast Iowa Union: Fairfield native fights for animal rights at law school

 

 

 

 

12/20/19:  The Animal Law & Policy Program has released its latest Year in Review which recounts and highlights all the great work we’ve been able to accomplish during the past academic year.
PDF: ALPP Year in Review 2018-2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/12/19: Read Animal Law & Policy Fellow Helen Harwatt quoted in the Guardian following publication of her article in The Lancet Planetary Health on December 11, 2019.
The Guardian: Reach ‘peak meat’ by 2030 to tackle climate crisis, say scientists
Further coverage included: CNN, The Independent, Salon, and Gizmodo

 

12/05/19: Read Animal Law & Policy Visiting Fellow Hadar Aviram quoted in this Wired magazine article about animal liberation organization DxE. Photograph: Philip Montgomery.
WIRED: Meet the Activists Risking Prison to Film VR in Factory Farms

 

11/27/19: Listen to Professor Katherine Meyer and students Brett Richey and Boanne Wassink talk to Mariann Sullivan about the first case filed by the Animal Law and Policy Clinic, New England Anti-Vivisection Society v Perdue.
The Animal Law Podcast: The Case of the Psychologically Unprotected Primates.

 

Professor Stilt listening attentively to Charlotte.11/08/19: Listen to Charlotte Blattner, Animal Law & Policy Program Visiting Scholar, speaking about her new book, Protecting Animals Within and Across Borders. Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and the Challenges of Globalization. Discussant: Professor Kristen Stilt.
YouTube: Protecting Animals Within and Across Borders.

 

A large and diverse audience sit in a lecture room listening to Leah Garces talk about her new book.11/08/19: Listen to Leah Garcés, President of Mercy for Animals, speaking about her fight for better treatment of farmed animals, as she works with farmers, suppliers and restaurant chains to end factory farming for good.
YouTube: GRILLED: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry.

 

A primate with intense sad eyes looking directly at us from behind metal bars.11/6/19:  Read coverage of the first lawsuit filed by our Animal Law & Policy Clinic. “We are bringing this case to compel the USDA to put in place clear, enforceable laws that will ease the burden of suffering on non-human primates, some of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom,” said Brett Richey, a Harvard Law School student who helped file the lawsuit.
Boston Globe: Animal welfare groups sue government over treatment of research primates
Harvard Crimson: Harvard Law Clinic Aids Animal Welare Groups’ Lawsuit Against USDA
Sentient Media: Harvard Law Clinic Urges USDA to improve lives of 100,000 Research Animals
Read the media release

 

Ralph Nadar standing in front of an Animal Law & Policy Program banner speaking with his hand outstretched.

10/09/19: Listen to Ralph Nader talk to Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic and Harvard Animal Law Society about the importance of public interest advocacy, and particularly advocacy on behalf of non-human animals.
YouTube: Advocating for Non-human Animals?

 

 

A full lecture hall look at Professor Cass Sunstein's slide of a soldier lying beside his dog.9/30/19: Listen to Cass Sunstein’s lecture in which he shares recent research that converges on the conclusion that human beings did not domesticate dogs; dogs domesticated themselves.
YouTube: Where Do Dogs Come From?

 

 

 

 

Harvard Law School student addressing a panel of six people at an FDA hearing. 9/27/19: Read about Harvard Law student and Co-President of the Animal Law Society Gabriel Wildgen’s testimony at a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public meeting on Friday.
Gabriel Wildgen: Consumers know full well what “soy milk” and “almond milk” mean. 

 

 

 

A Harvard Law School student and her husband petting a happy looking pig. 8/5/19: Read Harvard Law Today’s coverage of the launch of our new Animal Law & Policy Clinic. The clinic will be led by Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Katherine Meyer and Clinical Instructor Nicole Negowetti. Recent HLS graduate Kate Barnekow ’19 will be returning to serve as the first Clinical Fellow, and Sarah Pickering will be joining the team as Communications Manager.
Harvard Law Today: Animal Law & Policy Clinic Launches at Harvard Law School

 

 

Three eggs in an egg carton with sad faces drawn on them with permanent marker.4/22/19: Read Animal Law & Policy Program Fellow Christine Parker’s new blog on ethical labeling for animal products.
Bill of Health – Petrie-Flom Center: Can Ethical Labelling Make Food Systems Healthy, Sustainable, and Just?

 

A full and diverse group of people in a lecture hall looking at an image of an elephant on a screen.

4/3/19: Read Harvard Law Today’s great coverage of our 2019 Harvard Animal Law Week.
Harvard Law Today: Fifth annual Animal Law Week held at HLS

 

 

 

Milk being poured over a bowl of food that has been made to look like the earth.

2/21/19:  Read Animal Law & Policy Program Fellow, Helen Harwatt, quoted in this New York Times Climate Fwd feature.
New York Times – Climate Fwd.: Meat Is a Big Climate Issue. What About Dairy?

 

 

Cubed tofu with each piece laid out on a flat surface beside the next piece.

1/22/19: Read Animal Law & Policy Program Fellow, Helen Harwatt, quoted in this Time Magazine feature on healthier alternatives to beef.
TIME6 High-Protein Foods That Are Healthier Than Beef

 

 

Close up of Professor Kristen Stilt's face.

1/18/19: Listen to the Animal Law & Policy Program’s Faculty Director, Kristen Stilt, discuss her research on animal welfare and religious slaughter on the latest episode of the Our Hen House Podcast.  The topic is the subject of her forthcoming book, Halal Animals.  The interview starts at the 18:00 minute mark.

 

Close up of a hens face with other chickens in the background blurred so she stands out.1/11/19: Read this in-depth Vox article on Ag-Gag in the wake of Iowa’s Ag-Gag law being struck down as unconstitutional in federal court this week––quoting Animal Law & Policy Program Executive Director Chris Green.
Vox: “Ag-gag laws” hide the cruelty of factory farms. Courts are striking them down.

 

Old sepia image of a man and a dog stood in front of three male judges sat at a table in a packed court room.12/18/18: Read The Economist’s feature on the rapidly evolving global efforts to secure legal rights for non-human animals.  It quotes Animal Law & Policy Program Faculty Director Professor Kristen Stilt and also Steven Wise who taught Harvard Law School’s first Animal Law course.

 

Painting of a whale in water with half of its body under the water and its back above the surface with houses and trees on it as if it were an island.11/5/18: Read the Harvard Gazette’s latest feature on the Animal Law & Policy Program.  It highlights our Wildlife Law course and Lecturer on Law Jonathan Lovvorn––explaining the intersectional impacts of many animal protection issues.
Harvard Gazette: Raising the Profile of Animal Law to Match the Stakes

 

Cover of a report with a title and the Animal Law & Policy Program logo in front of a background image of sheep in a field.5/31/18: The Animal Law & Policy Program has released its first formal policy publication, authored by our Legislative Policy Fellow, Ann Linder, with research assistance from several HLS students.

The report analyzes the potential consequences of H.R. 4879, the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act of 2018” also known as the “King Amendment.”  It further compiles an Index of roughly 3,230 state and local laws and regulations that may be impacted by the pending legislation.  You can download the full report here.

Our report already has been referenced in House Congressional hearings on the U.S. Farm Bill and by the following media articles :

The Hill – 5/14/18 : Don’t Let the Farm Bill Overrule State Food Laws

Huffington Post – 5/17/2018: The Farm Bill Could Be A Huge Blow To Animals
An amendment threatens farm animal protections, food safety laws and rules on invasive species.

Washington Post – 5/18/18: 6 Things to Watch in the House Farm Bill, from Food-Stamp Work Requirements to School Lunch

USA Today – 5/21/18: Needlessly Killing Kittens and the ‘Horrible Hundred’

LA Times – 7/7/18: The Farm Bill Doesn’t Need an Amendment that Helps Let Chickens Be Treated Cruelly

Five Harvard Law students standing in front of a statue of an elephant in Washington DC.4/13/18: Read students recount their experiences in Harvard Law Today’s feature on our 2018 ALPP/SALDF Student Animal Law Trip to D.C.
Harvard Law TodayThird Annual Student Animal Law Trip to Washington D.C.  

 

 

NFL player David Carter stands arms expressively outstretched at the front of a lecture hall.

3/13/18: Read Harvard Law Today’s great coverage of our 2018 Harvard Animal Law Week.
Harvard Law TodayFourth annual Animal Law Week held at HLS

 

 

 

Close up of podcast host Mariann Sullivan's face. 3/1/18: Listen to the Animal Law & Policy Program’s Faculty Director Kristen Stilt, Executive Director Chris Green, and Policy Director Jonathan Lovvorn give a thorough discussion of the growth and mission of the Program on The Animal Law Podcast

 

 

2/27/18: Read the BoNFL plater David Carter in a tank top holding up a bunch of carrots in front of a black and white barn door.ston Globe’s coverage of David Carter’s lecture on “Oppression in the Food System” as part of our 4th Annual Harvard Animal Law Week.
The Boston Globe‘300-pound vegan’ David Carter to talk healthy eating, food deserts at Harvard

 

 

Talk attendees look at a screen of Rosie Wardle joining a panel discussion via Skype from London.10/27/17: Watch video of ALPP’s panel on The Death of Factory Farming at October’s HLS in the World bicentennial event.

 

 

 

Portrait of Jonathan Lovvorn.

9/15/17: Read Harvard Law Today‘s article on the appointment of Jonathan Lovvorn as the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program’s first Policy Director.

 

 

 

 

An open house poster.

9/19/17: Come join us for the inaugural Animal Law & Policy Program Open House.  Great chance to meet our team of Faculty, Staff & Fellows and learn about all we have planned for the upcoming academic year.

 

 

 

 

Two women standing in front of a computer monitor listening intently to someone speak.6/2/17: NPR mentions the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program in this report about Connecticut becoming the first state to provide animals with court-appointed advocates in abuse and cruelty cases.
National Public RadioIn A First, Connecticut’s Animals Get Advocates In The Courtroom

 

 

 

Chris Green and Professor Kristen Stiilt, who is carrying her young daughter, standing beside a horse at Winslow Farm Sanctuary.11/2/16: Read the Harvard Gazette’s feature on the HLS Animal Law & Policy Program discussing our work and highlighting a generous new gift.  It also includes a supportive quote from Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow addressing farmed animal welfare, as well as one from Harvard University President Drew Faust underscoring the importance of our work on improving animal welfare.
Harvard GazettePutting His Money Where His Mouth Is:  Animal-welfare advocate finds partner in growing Law School program

 

Cover of The Animal Welfare Act at Fifty report with a worker in mask holding a baby chick. 8/24/16: Registration Opens for the Conference on The Animal Welfare Act at Fifty

The federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. The most comprehensive federal animal protection law, the AWA regulates more than one million animals at more than 15,000 locations across the United States. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Act, this conference will convene scholars, government officials, representatives from non-governmental organizations, and others to assess the first fifty years of the AWA and consider recommendations for the future. Click here for more details.

 

Alice Lee HLT5/20/16: Graduating LL.M. student Alice Lee profiled in Harvard Law Today, discussing her decision to study Animal Law at Harvard: “After two years practicing corporate law in Taiwan following her undergraduate dual degrees in law and biology, she decided that it was time to finally pursue her dream: work to protect animals and the environment.”
Harvard Law Today :
From Practicing Corporate Law to Making the Case for Dolphins: Alice Lee’s Journey

 

HLS website landing page featuring Chris Green and Professor Kristen Stilt sat with her dog.3/10/16: Harvard’s Animal Law Week is celebrated in Harvard Law Today, with the Animal Law & Policy Program further showcased on the front page of the Harvard Law School website.
Harvard Law Today :
Focusing on Law and the Treatment of Animals

 

 

Front cover of Harvard Magazine which features an article on animal law.2/19/16: The Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program is featured in the latest March / April issue of Harvard Magazine. The article provides an in-depth look at the broader field of Animal Law, highlighting the Program we are building here at Harvard Law School.
Harvard Magazine :
Are Animals “Things?” The law evolves

 

 

Portrait of Professor Kristen Stilt.9/8/15: Harvard Law Today published the following interview with Professor Kristen Stilt, Faculty Director of the Animal Law & Policy Program, in which she discusses future plans for the Program and how its work relates to her own scholarship.
Harvard Law Today: Kristen Stilt on the Intersection of Animals, Law, and Religion

 

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events have been postponed for the rest of the academic term due to Coronavirus concerns.