WCL ANIMAL LAW SOCIETY
A Student Chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund
Providing a forum for education, advocacy & scholarship aimed at protecting the lives & advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.
What is Animal Law?
Animal Law is an emerging legal field that combines statutory and case law in which the nature—legal, social or biological—of nonhuman animals is an important factor.
Animal law encompasses wildlife, animals used in entertainment, animals raised for food and research, companion animas, and sea life.
Who Are We?
We are a student chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Because issues relating to Animal Law also relate to a broad spectrum of issues surrounding other legal fields, we are a group of Law Students who seek to show how Animal Law intersects with nearly every other law field. We also just really love animals!
To accomplish this:
We collaborate with other WCL Law Societies to host joint events.
We work closely with faculty and staff to bring animal friendly events to campus.
We host speakers who work in the Animal Protection Field.
Tom Linney, Senior Pro Bono Manager at ALDF
Dr. Richard Ruggiero, Chief of the Division of International Conservation at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
Will Potter, American Independent Journalist and Public Speaker
Michelle Welch, Assistant Attorney General of Virginia for Animal Prosecution Unit
Scott Giacoppo, Chief Community Animal Welfare Office for Humane Rescue Alliance
Steve Swartz, General Counsel for the Humane Society Wildlife Trust & Associate General Counsel for the Humane Society of the United States
More additions to this list are coming soon . . .
Animal Law at WCL
Thinking about studying Animal Law at WCL?
LAW-795 Animal and Wildlife Law
LAW-601 Administrative Law
LAW-629 Environmental Law
LAW-648 Food and Drug Law
LAW-681 International Law of Biodiversity
LAW-716 Environmental Litigation
LAW-721 Law of the Sea
LAW-737 International Institutions & Environmental Protection
LAW-777 Legislative Practice Seminar
LAW-788 Federal Regulatory Process
LAW-795 Environmental Compliance and Enforcement
LAW-795 International Climate Change Law
LAW-813 Comparative Environmental Law
LAW-824 Water Law
LAW-844 Advanced Environmental Law
LAW-851 Climate Change & the Law
LAW-892 The Washington Lawyer
WCL is located in the hub of the country when it comes to opportunities to extern at Animal Protection Organizations.
Past student externships include:
Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society International
Humane Society Legislative Fund
Natural Resources Defense Council
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of General Council, Marketing, Regulatory, and Food Safety Programs Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Association of Clean Water Agencies
Center for Biological Diversity
The Nature Conservancy
World Wildlife Fund
The Nature Conservancy
The Ocean Conservancy
Defenders of Wildlife
Reach out to us at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Ingrid Lesemann, 3L
Brooklynite turned Carolina Girl. This Charlestonian intends to practice Farm Animal Protection Law. She parents a small rescue yorkie-mix named Zoe who loves to eat carrots. She is also an animal care volunteer at Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary.
Carolyn Larcom, 2L
This west coast belle comes to us from the famed city of Los Angeles. She intends to practice Environmental, Animal Protection, and Food and Drug Law. Carolyn parents two rescue cats: Alaia and Limon.
Alycia Kokos, 2L
North Carolina bred, this beach babe recently joins us from Wrightsville Beach or the dreamy Dawson's Creek, as some of us refer to it. She intends to practice coastal preservation law and/or animal protection law. She parents a spunky little pup named Bella.
Taylor Burnett, 2L
You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl! This Texan intends to practice administrative law and use her passion for politics to advocate for changes in the way our society treats all animals. She parents a 106 pound great pyrenees named Harper.
Lacey Mendrick, 3L
This New Yorker recently hails from the valley city of Buffalo on the eastern shores of Lake Erie at the head of Niagara River. She intends to practice bankruptcy law or tax law, but she also wants to use her law degree to help animals. She parents three little kitties.
Check out these events at WCL, in the DMV area, and across the country!
Puppy Day is back on April 28th from 11-1!
The AUWCL Animal Law Society is partnering with
Homeward Trails Animal Rescue to bring adoptable puppies
to campus during reading days.
This is a great way to decompress before finals, and meet
some amazing adoptable pups!
Please consider donating!
Please venmo donations to 904-945-4849.
We will be accepting donations including: paper towels,
trash bags, dog food, treats, towels, etc. and will also be looking to make a monetary donation so Homeward Trails
can continue rescuing more animals in need.
Location: Courtyard between Yuma Building and Warren Building
Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief
Our mission is to serve as a valuable resource for practitioners, policy makers, and concerned citizens promoting sustainable development, environmental preservation, environmental justice, and biodiversity throughout the world.
Many of our ALS members "SDLP" staff!
Email the publication to apply for a staff position, to subscribe, become a translator, or to submit an article!
"SDLP" is a student-run initiative at AUWCL that spans a broad range of environmental issues such as sustainable development; trade; renewable energy; environmental justice; air, water, and noise regulation; climate change and ecology; land use, conservation, and property rights; resource use and regulation; and wildlife, habitat preservation, biodiversity, and animal protection.
Our publication also focuses on reconciling the tensions between environmental sustainability, economic development, ecology, and human welfare.
Sign Up For ALS
Join our listserv so we can invite you to events with our animal friends!
Animal Friends Gallery
Photos of Past WCL Animal Law Society Events
Local Shelters & Sanctuaries
Want to volunteer? Or, give a donation? Check out these wonderful animal folks!
Offering care to neglected, abused, or abandoned farm animals
Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary is a 400 acre non-profit refuge in Poolesville, Maryland for farm animals and wildlife that relies entirely on public donations for support. Our mission is to offer care, rehabilitation, and permanent sanctuary for neglected, abused or abandoned farm animals, as well as providing a protected habitat for wildlife. We promote compassion and the humane treatment of all animals by educating the public on farm animal and wildlife issues.
We are open for tours and visits by appointment.
POPLAR SPRING ANIMAL SANCTUARY
Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary
P.O. Box 507
Poolesville, MD 20837
Rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife in DC
City Wildlife was created to address the need for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Washington, DC. Over the past several decades, local wildlife habitat has been severely depleted, and wild animals have had to adapt to living in close proximity with people. Each year hundreds of wild animals in DC are unintentionally harmed by people and the urban environment.
15 Oglethorpe St NW
Washington, DC 20011
Finding forever homes for dogs in need
A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation is a non-profit dog rescue group that operates in the Northern Virginia / Washington Metropolitan area. We strive to make quality dogs available for adoption and do our best to match prospective adopters with the right animal!
Animal Law Resources
Interested in Animal Law? Check out these fabulous Animal Protection Organizations! They also accept donations!
Winning the Case Against Cruelty
The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. ALDF accomplishes this mission by filing high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm, providing free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes, supporting tough animal protection legislation and fighting harmful animal protection legislation, and providing resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.
Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization. We and our affiliates provide hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year, and we professionalize the field through education and training for local organizations. We are the leading animal advocacy organization, seeking a humane world for people and animals alike. We are driving transformational change in the U.S. and around the world by combating large-scale cruelties such as puppy mills, animal fighting, factory farming, seal slaughter, horse cruelty, captive hunts and the wildlife trade.
International Fund for Animal Welfare
IFAW’s mission is to rescue and protect animals around the world.
Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare saves individual animals, animal populations and habitats all over the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW provides hands-on assistance to animals in need, whether it's dogs and cats, wildlife and livestock, or rescuing animals in the wake of disasters. We also advocate saving populations from cruelty and depletion, such as our campaign to end commercial whaling and seal hunts.
Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty
Humane Society International is one of the only international animal protection organizations in the world working to protect all animals—including animals in laboratories, farm animals, companion animals, and wildlife—and our record of achievement demonstrates our dedication and effectiveness.
Because Life is Good . . .
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.
We want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive.
Since its founding in 1951, AWI has sought to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by people.
While AWI’s mission is to alleviate suffering of nonhuman animals, the principle followed by AWI of compassion and nonviolence applies to human animals as well as nonhuman animals. The Animal Welfare Institute condemns violence directed against all living creatures. There are no exceptions.
Protecting farm animals by inspiring compassionate food choices and policies
Mercy For Animals believes that a humane society is possible. We are committed to reducing the greatest amount of suffering for the largest number of animals. Our efforts focus on protecting farmed animals—the most abused and exploited animals on the planet—and utilize a broad range of strategic approaches that seek to expose cruelty, prosecute abusers, and inspire consumers to make compassionate food choices.
Providing Resources to Further Understanding and Advocacy
The Animal Law Resource Center provides access to legislation and legal matters pertaining to animals and the law. Information concerning animal cruelty, animal control, laboratory animal welfare, wildlife management and other issues concerning animals in our society. This content is updated regularly and is presented in searchable databases to help legal professionals, students, advocates and the general public make sense of a wealth of information and resources regarding legal and legislative issues.
Washington College of Law American University
Animal Law Society (student chapter of Animal Legal Defense Fund)
Article One. Name.
The name of this organization shall be AUWCL Animal Law Society (a student chapter of the Animal
Legal Defense Fund) (hereinafter referred to as ALS).
Article Two. Purpose.
ALS provides a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at protecting the lives and
advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, and raising the profile of the field of animal
ALS is dedicated to the goals of educating the law school and surrounding community about forms of
institutionalized animal abuse, and engaging in projects that combat that abuse. ALS is equally dedicated to protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal
The activities of ALS shall include, but not be limited to: hosting speakers, debates, and conferences on
current issues in animal rights and animal welfare law; carrying out research projects for lawyers and
organizations promoting animal welfare and animal rights litigation; networking with students at other
law schools, colleges, universities, and high schools; conducting educational events such as information
tables and video screenings on pertinent issues; and advocating on behalf of vegetarian/vegan students
within our law school.
Article Three. Criteria for Membership.
Membership in ALS shall be open to all students currently enrolled in Washington College of Law,
regardless of gender, race, creed, religion, age, color, national origin, physical disability, or sexual
orientation. Individual membership in the Animal Legal Defense Fund is encouraged but not required for
all ALS members.
Article Four. Officers.
The Management Council of ALS shall consist of three to five elected members, one of whom will be
responsible for communicating with the designated contact person at the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Qualifications for persons who are eligible to serve as officers of ALS are as follows:
• registration as a student at Washington College of Law,
• membership in ALS,
• attendance at a minimum of two meetings of ALS,
• agreement to uphold the goals and purposes of ALS, and to comply with the mission and goals of
the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Article Five. Elections.
Council members shall be elected each school year by a majority vote of the membership of WCL
SALDF, shall serve a term of one semester, and may be reelected. In the event that no candidate attracts
the requisite number of votes for election, a run-off shall be held between the two candidates with the
highest number of votes.
Students interested in serving as council members shall so inform ALS no later than one week prior to the
election. In electing council members, each member shall have one vote.
Article Six. Meetings.
Regular meetings of ALS shall be held at least once each semester. Decisions at meetings shall be made
by a majority of the members, with every present party agreeing to, dissenting to, or abstaining from
every action there decided.
A necessary quorum for all decisions shall be at least 51% of all members
present at the meeting and must include at least one council member.
Special meetings of ALS may be called by any number of members, who shall inform the Management
Council or the entire membership at least one week prior to the date of the proposed meeting.
Article Seven. Events.
On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and
stuffed into wire cages, metal crates, and other torturous devices. These animals will never raise their
families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural and important to them.
Most won’t even feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they’re loaded onto
trucks headed for slaughterhouses.
The factory farming industry strives to maximize output while minimizing costs—always at the animals’
expense. The giant corporations that run most factory farms have found that they can make more money
by squeezing as many animals as possible into tiny spaces, even though many of the animals die from
disease or infection.
While we love animals and do not want to hurt them, we are also social justice advocates and we care about the environment.
Mammals are inefficient convertors; their production is environmentally costly in terms of water used and
greenhouse gases [GHG] generated. The production of one pound of beef consumes over 2000 gallon of
water, whereas gran production consumes 200 gallons, and vegetables 100 gallons. Cattle contribute
about 60 million tons of GHG per year.
Therefore, our executive board shall order food that is efficient and humane, and thus unrelated to animal
agriculture at all ALS events.
Article Eight. Affiliation with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Activities of ALS shall at all times be consistent with the mission of the Animal Legal Defense Fund
No litigation will be initiated, endorsed, or supported in the name of ALS, without prior approval of
All public policy positions taken by the ALS shall be consistent with the mission of ALDF: “to protect
the lives and advance the interests of animals.”
ALS will not purport to speak for ALDF or commit it to any position on any matter of public policy or
law on behalf of ALDF without ALDF’s prior written consent.
Article Nine. Amendments.
Any two current members shall be entitled to propose amendments.
Proposed amendments shall be consistent with these By-Laws, and shall be communicated to the ALDF and all current ALS council members, who shall schedule a meeting for the purpose of approving these amendments.
If the date of submission of these amendments is near the date of a regular or special business meeting, then no
additional meeting need be scheduled.
A two-thirds majority of all chapter members must vote on a amendments to this constitution.