The success of the II Global Animal Law conference in Barcelona

Two weeks have passed since the II Global Animal Law Conference and with great satisfaction the first positive feedback has started to arrive. Amongst the continuous exchange of pictures, Facebook comments, and tweets (see them all here:, two of the prominent speakers have published online their thoughts and impressions about this event and repeated their commitment to meet again in four years for its third edition, possibly in Asia or Latin-America.

First of all we will mention the words written by Jean-Marc Neumann, French lawyer and animal law jurist, who runs the page, in which he underlines that animal law is a movement in continuous evolution and progress around the globe. Therefore he believes that the Conference has been a great opportunity for jurists and experts from around the globe to gather and discuss anima law from its various perspectives. Discovering that animal law is not only a western concern, but is also gaining more awareness in eastern countries like China and is taught in Kazakhstan – by Prof. Baideldinova at KIMEP (University of Kazakhstan in Almaty) – gives hope and is a further step in the right direction. Step, which France, as a founder state of the EU, should also take but has snubbed until now because of its very conservative law tradition.

The Conference has also given the possibility to meet some talented representatives of the new generation of animal law jurists, such as Loïs Lelanchon, PhD candidate and alumni of the Master in Animal Law and Society of the UAB. Last but not least, one of the biggest highlights has surely been Steven Wise´s presentation about the Nonhuman Rights project and his first cases before the court of New York on behalf of chimpanzees. Mr. Neumann also expresses his satisfaction for being given the chance to be the chair of one of the panels, more precisely the one about “Global Issues” with Paul Littlefair of the RSPCA, Gieri Bolliger of the Tier im Recht Foundation, and Prof. Thomas Kelch, from the Witthier University of California. His final message? “Vive le droit animalier!!.

Secondly, Joyce Tischler, the founder of The Animal Legal Defence Fund, also shared her thoughts on the blog of the ALDF, which has sponsored the Conference. Ms. Tischler herself spoke about how successful social movements use three interdependent approaches: litigation, legislation, and public outreach (education).

Ms. Tischler believes that this event has truly been an international gathering, bringing together participants from all over the world to discuss the wrong concept of animals as “things” and resources. She writes, “Not surprisingly, the industries that exploit animals are in control of the laws, the codes, the regulations – or lack thereof – and they are always looking for ways to silence their critics”. To this regard the presentation on the Ag-Gag Laws by Prof. David Cassuto was very interesting. Listening to all panelists and seeing their commitment and dedication has been a true inspiration; it has been heartwarming to share this experience with experts and friends such as David Favre, Pamela Frasch, and Kim Stallwood, and with promising young scholars.

Ms. Tischler gives a special thank you to Prof. Marita Giménez-Candela, who has introduced and championed the study of animal law in Spain, and who arranged for the Conference to be hosted at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where she directs the first European Master’s program in Animal Law and Society. Animal law is no longer just an American movement, for this reason international conferences have a huge value, to discuss and share challenges and solutions. Viva Animal Law!.

Martina Pluda

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