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2020-2021 Executive Summary

After a productive year of litigation, learning, and teaching remotely, our Animal Law & Policy Program (ALPP) team and Fellows returned to the Harvard Law School (HLS) campus in September excited to work together and collaborate in person once again. We are grateful to be able to share with you this account of all our Program and Clinic’s accomplishments from the past academic year.

Before turning to that work, though, we first must highlight the monumental and transformative gift we received in November 2021 from the Brooks McCormick Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy to establish a $10 million endowment that will support the Program’s activities. We could not be more appreciative of this humbling endorsement of our work and believe it truly will help raise the profile of animal law and policy more broadly, especially in the academic sphere. The Animal Law & Policy Program now will forever bear the name of the Institute’s founding benefactor, Brooks McCormick Jr., a lifelong animal lover and philanthropist who passed away in 2015.

As we enter our seventh academic year, the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program remains dedicated to improving the treatment of animals suffering a variety of harms from human activities, including those farmed for food, wild animals impacted by climate change and animal agriculture, and the broad range of animals used in scientific research.

Throughout the year we expanded the research and writing for our collaborative international research project examining the global regulation of live animal markets and their role in the transmission of zoonotic disease. Overseen by ALPP Faculty Director Professor Kristen Stilt and Executive Director Chris Green, and led by Research Fellow Ann Linder, the project now includes more than 15 institutional partners in over a dozen countries. We look forward to sharing the full report in the summer of 2022.

ALPP Visiting Fellows have continued to produce impressive work, which this past year included Jan Dutkiewicz’s prolific publications about just food systems for animals, workers, and the environment, Helen Harwatt’s focus on the nexus between animal agriculture and climate change, and Martha-Smith Blackmore’s thoughtful examination of the way animal cruelty is investigated and enforced. Two of our former students, Alicia Rodriguez ’15 and Gabriel Wildgen ’20 also returned as Visiting Fellows in Fall 2020 to produce a detailed report on how the farmed animal protection community can better engage in the political sphere.

Our Animal Law & Policy Clinic also handled an ever increasing docket of projects under the supervision of Clinic Director Katherine Meyer. The Clinic’s lawsuit against the National Park Service for its complicity in allowing California’s Tule elk to starve behind a human erected fence and die slow, preventable deaths garnered significant national media coverage and drew further attention to how government agencies often prioritize agricultural interests over those of affected animals and members of the public.

This past summer brought the good news that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the Clinic’s favor in an Endangered Species Act lawsuit underscoring the intersection between animals and climate change. The Clinic had filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of six scientists supporting a challenge to the Trump administration’s refusal to list the Pacific walrus as “threatened” after deeply discounting the future negative impacts of global warming on Arctic sea ice. The brief was drafted by Clinic students Rebecca Garverman ’21 and Ashley Maiolatesi ’20, and Rebecca was thrilled while watching the oral argument when one of the judges directly quoted a passage she had written in the brief.

Since the work of both the Program and Clinic are entirely donor funded, none of this work would be possible without the generous support of the individuals and institutions who graciously ensure that our broad-reaching activities, scholarship, and policy work can continue to have positive impact for animals.

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