About Our Events
Learn more about the types of events that the Animal Law & Policy Program hosts
The Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program hosts a wide range of both public and private events aimed at advancing academic scholarship in the field, facilitating policy discussions on pressing issues, and educating broader audiences about animal protection issues.
Many of these events are collaboratively coordinated with other partnering research programs, institutions, and organizations. By convening such public speaker events, conferences, and symposia Harvard can bring attention to pertinent topics in the field, spur intellectual deliberation among experts, and lend credence to animal law and policy as a critical and important subject. Most of our public events also are recorded and available to view in the videos section of this website.
Below is a list and brief description of our various categories and types of events.
Each academic year more than a dozen participants met for bi-weekly workshops to review and critique drafts of each other’s scholarship in progress. In addition to the Program’s faculty, staff, visiting affiliates, HLS SJD and LLM students, and Harvard University graduate students, we also welcome the JD Student Board of the Harvard Animal Law Society to participate, along with others from outside the immediate Harvard community.
One of the Animal Law & Policy Program’s primary goals is to advance both the quantity and quality of scholarship in the field. The primary vehicle within legal academia to accomplish this objective is holding academic workshops that seek out authors to contribute publishable work addressing particular topics that could benefit from additional scholarly attention. Not only does the review and critique process qualitatively improve the caliber of the scholarship produced, but it also quantitatively increases the intellectual capacity of the field by attracting scholars who previously may never have considered writing academic pieces about animal law and policy issues. By offering leading experts in various doctrinal areas of law the opportunity to turn their cognitive capabilities and specialized knowledge toward animal welfare issues, we can push the field forward with new and innovative scholarship–research that in turn forms the underpinnings for the legal theories and strategies that advocates can put into practice in courtrooms, legislatures, and other venues.
To address animal protection-related matters that historically have not been adequately discussed, or to bring together parties on neutral territory who could benefit from confidential dialogue, the Program has hosted several, closed-door policy roundtables. These events convene experts and stakeholders from law, academia, science, government, industry, and advocacy to privately assess the issues, identify potential challenges and opportunities, and recommend strategic paths forward.
The Program has both hosted and collaborated on organizing major conferences related to animal law and policy issues. Our first on-campus conference marking the 50th anniversary of the Animal Welfare Act featured 40 speakers and drew over 200 attendees. We also partnered on planning and executing the Global Animal Law Conference in Hong Kong. The experts presenting at these conferences have included the world’s most cited legal scholar and the world’s most cited nutritionist, both Harvard University professors.
Each spring we co-host an annual Harvard Animal Law Week with Harvard Law School’s Animal Law Society. The week consists of a public lunchtime lecture each day, often accompanied by a smaller coffee-chat with students. The speakers to date have ranged from leaders of the world’s largest animal protection organizations, to undercover investigators, attorneys, scientists, entrepreneurs, and scholars.
Throughout each academic year we hold as many as 20 lectures on animal law and policy topics. The number of speakers the Animal Law & Policy Program has hosted on campus number well over 100 so far, and just last year alone, 1,500 people attended our in-person events. Now that the current health crisis has precipitated Harvard moving all events to the virtual realm, we are using technology to share our work even more widely throughout the world and attracting many new listeners who can engage with our events in real time.
Because film is such a powerful medium, we also host an ongoing series of film screenings related to animal protection issues. We additionally bring in experts related to the films to do a live Q&A and more substantive lunchtime lecture related to the film or its subject matter. These screenings have sold out HLS’s largest auditorium at 300 attendees. And notably, two of our most committed JD graduates decided to change their life paths during law school to pursue careers in animal law and policy after first attending one of our film screenings.