A Student Chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund

    Washington D.C.

  • 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.

    • Animal Law at WCL

      Thinking about studying Animal Law at WCL?

      Recommended Courses

      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-686​ Federal Public Lands & Natural Resources


      LAW-700 Advanced Administrative Law


      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 Marine Conservation Law & Policy


      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


      Externship Opportunities


      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

      Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust

      Natural Resources Defense Council

      U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of General Council, Marketing, Regulatory, and Food Safety Programs Division

      U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service

      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

      National Association of Clean Water Agencies

      Center for Biological Diversity

      Compassion Over Killing

      The Nature Conservancy

      World Wildlife Fund

      The Nature Conservancy

      The Ocean Conservancy

      Defenders of Wildlife

      Sierra Club


    • Executive Board

      Reach out to us at anytime at animallaw@wcl.american.edu!

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      Natalie Landau, 2L

      Executive Chair

      Natalie is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. She graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science. As a vegan for the past eight years (and vegetarian for four years prior to that), she hopes to dispel beliefs that being raised in a meat-heavy culture makes the transition to plant-based foods and vegan products difficult. Natalie is interested in raising awareness about speciesism and the connection that exists between animal rights, the environment, and human rights. Her free time is usually spent in the company of her rescue cat, Atlas.

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      Xara Shang Yun Sunne, 2L

      Events Chair

      Xara was raised in Midcoast Maine, nestled between mountains and the ocean. She graduated from Hamilton College with a B.A. in Sociology. An avid animal lover, she is interested in raising awareness and advocating for animal welfare rights for both companion animal and farm animals in the agricultural farming apparatus. Xara’s animal advocacy interests extend beyond legal remedies and include policy and legislative avenues for change; she is currently working with a colleague on passing an animal protection law in the Maine state legislature this upcoming legislative session. In her free time, Xara is summiting mountains with her two dogs or exploring the local food scene.

    • Past Speakers

      Peter Brandt, Senior Attorney for Farm Animal Litigation, Humane Society of the United States' Animal Protection Litigation (APL) Section


      Tom Linney, Senior Pro Bono Manager, Animal Legal Defense Fund


      Dr. Richard Ruggiero, Chief of the Division of International Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services


      Will Potter, American Independent Journalist and Public Speaker


      Michelle Welch, Assistant Attorney General of Virginia, Animal Prosecution Unit


      Scott Giacoppo, Chief Community Animal Welfare Officer, Humane Rescue Alliance


      Steve Swartz (Alum), General Counsel, Humane Society Wildlife Trust; Associate General Counsel, Humane Society of the United States


      Sarah Stewart (Alum), Director for Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the United States Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President of the United States (USTR)


      Rebecca Regnery (Alum), Deputy Director of Wildlife, Humane Society International (HSI)


      Megan Hill, Natural Resources Management Specialist, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)


      Meaghan Parker-Forney, Forest Legality Initiative Science Officer, World Resources Institute (WRI)


      Bryan Landry, Senior Special Law Enforcement Agent, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) on wildlife trade regulation and unlawful commercial exploitation


      Angie Colamaria (Alum), Permitting Lead, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)


      Ted Boling, Associate Director for the National Environmental Policy Act, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)


      Bob Irvin, President, American Rivers


      Dr. Sacoby Wilson, Associate Professor, Maryland Institute Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH)


      Gary Frazer, Assistant Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services

      Gregory Smith, Director, United States Forest Service, Lands and Reality Management

      Bettina Poirer, Former Staff Director & Chief Counsel, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee


      Tracie Letterman, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Humane Society of the United States


      Denise Rucker Krepp, Government Relations Counsel, EMR USA


      Masha Kalinina, International Trade Specialist & Lobbyist, Humane Society International (HSI)


      Raul Garcia (Alum), Senior Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice


      Alexandra Wyatt, Legislative Attorney, Congressional Research Service


      Dr. Louis Scarano, Senior Science Advisor​, ​Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics


      Dr. Anna Lowit, Co-Chair, Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH); Senior Science Advisor, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticides


      Adam Zipkin, Legislative Counsel, Senator Cory Booker


      Sara Amundson, President, Humane Society Legislative Fund


      Nathan Hershler ​(WCL' 08)​, Executive Director, New England Anti-Vivisection Society


      Sue A. Leary, Chair, Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (Leaping Bunny); President, American Anti-Vivisection Society; President & CEO, Alternatives Research & Development Foundation


      Lizzie Lewis (Alum), Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP


      Martha McCoy, Office of General Counsel, Oceans and Coasts Section, NOAA

      Ken Kopocis, Former Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, EPA

      Julie Lawson, Director, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of the Clean City in Washington, DC



    • Upcoming & Past Events

      Bird Search Contest Jan 25 — Feb 3, 2022

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      2022 General Interest Meeting 

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      Tuesday, January 25, 2022 | 12:00pm-1:00pm

      Zoom Meeting ID: 916 1570 5019



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      March 29, 2019 | Yuma Y116 | 2:00pm-5:30pm

      Reception to Follow: 5:30pm-7:00pm

      Opening Remarks (2:00pm-2:10pm): Bonnie Monteleone, Executive Director, Director of Science, Research and Academic Partnership, Plastic Ocean Project
      Keynote Address (2:10pm-2:40pm): Carroll Muffett, President & CEO, Center for International Environmental Law
      Panel 1: Plastics on Land and Seas—The Related Problems of Trash and Marine Debris
      (2:40pm – 4:05pm)

      The first segment will discuss the regulation of plastics at the federal, local, and international level; how trash and marine debris are related and impact oceans and lands; and how legal solutions can mitigate the effects of plastic pollution on the environment.

      Moderator: Lizzie Lewis, Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP
      • Martha McCoy, Office of General Counsel, Oceans and Coasts Section, NOAA
      • Ken Kopocis, Former Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, EPA
      • Julie Lawson, Director of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of the Clean City in Washington, DC
      Panel 2: Legal Solutions—Responses from the Public Sector on Government Regulation
      (4:15pm – 5:30pm)

      The second segment will discuss solutions as well as initiatives taken by domestic and international organizations to influence legislation and replace single-use plastic with reusable and biodegradable alternatives.

      Moderator: Lizzie Lewis, Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP
      • Dr. Winnie Lau, Senior Officer, Preventing Ocean Plastics Project, Pew Charitable Trusts
      • Bonnie Monteleone, Executive Director, Director of Science, Research and Academic Partnership, Plastic Ocean Project
      • Trey Sherard, Outreach Coordinator and Staff Biologist, Anacostia Riverkeeper
      A reception sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, American University Washington College of Law Animal Law Society, and American University Washington College of Law Environmental Law Society will follow from 5:30pm-7:00pm where attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy the Plastic Ocean Project’s Art Exhibition, which consists of a replication of Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave of Kanagawa” constructed entirely of collected plastics from nearly 10,000 nautical miles. Additionally, attendees will be able to learn how to live more sustainably by sampling reusable and plastic-free products.

      Registration is Free but Required – Go to www.wcl.american.edu/secle/registration
      For further information, contact: Office of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education at 202.274.4075 or secle@wcl.american.edu

    • The Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief was founded to provide a forum for those interested in promoting sustainable economic development, environmental conservation, environmental justice, and biodiversity throughout the world.

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      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.

    • Local Shelters & Sanctuaries

      Want to volunteer? Or, give a donation? Check out these wonderful animal folks!

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      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
      P.O. Box 507
      Poolesville, MD 20837
      Phone: 301-428-8128

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      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
      (202) 882-1000

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      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!

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      Wildlife. Not entertainers.


      From their regional hubs in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America, we move the world to protect animals.

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      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.

    • Send us a message

      We would love to hear from you!

    • Social Feed

      Check out the latest animal protection news!

    • Our Constitution

      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

      (hereinafter “ALDF”).


      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.