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Harvard launches law firm for animal advocacy
Animal law is the fastest growing legal discipline.
- Harvard Law School is launching a new clinic to train lawyers in animal law.
- They're one of the leading institutions in the animal protection movement.
- Increased public interest in animal rights has made this discipline expand rapidly.
Harvard Law School (HLS) recently announced the exciting launch of their own Animal Law & Policy Clinic. Animal Law is a rapidly growing field that deals with the impact or relation we have with all non-human animals of the planet. Harvard reports that in 2000, there were only nine institutions that offered Animal Law courses, that has now skyrocketed to 167 law schools today.
The new clinic will provide students with the broad and extensive knowledge of the field by teaching them how to navigate the legislation, litigation, and policy of animal law on both a national and international level. They'll work on a number of issues that include, "farmed animals, wildlife, animals in captivity, and the overarching threat to all forms of life from climate change."
HLS sees themselves as leading the way for the future of the animal protection movement.
Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic
The new clinic has a great experienced team leading the Animal Law & Policy Program. On the subject of leading the clinic, Faculty Director Professor Kristen Stilt, stated:
"The Animal Law & Policy Clinic at HLS will train and prepare our graduates to embark on careers in the animal protection field, produce impactful litigation and policy analysis to benefit the animal protection movement, and provide an internationally renowned platform for educating the broader public about the many pressing issues involving animal law and policy."
The clinic will also be led by Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Katherine Meyer and Clinical Instructor Nicole Negowetti, with recent HLS graduate Kate Barnekow returning as the first clinical fellow, and finally Sarah Pickering as the team's communications manager.
HLS Dean John F. Manning remarked about the importance of giving students real world experience in the field. He is ecstatic to have such a professional and experienced team in charge.
Meyer has an extensive background in animal protection litigation, having founded an animal public interest law firm 26 years ago — she's been ahead of the curve for quite some time.
"This is truly thrilling news for our law students and for the entire law school community. Katherine Meyer's contributions as a public interest lawyer and animal welfare advocate in Washington D.C. are legendary," said Richard Lazarus, an environmental law professor at HLS.
Negowetti as well is considered a food systems policy expert. She's spent her career teaching and advocating on the impact of industrial livestock on animal welfare.
"The clinic will provide outstanding training for a new generation of advocates as we identify and pursue high-impact legal strategies to achieve a resilient, healthy, and just food system — for the benefit of human and non-human animals alike," Negowetti told Harvard Law Today.
With experience related to "plant-based and cell-based meat regulation," Negowetti has a unique background that is in line with growing trends in the public.
Overall, the Animal Law & Policy Program is inheriting a rich tradition of Harvard Law expertise that has the chance to make some real changes in animal welfare policies.
A growing legal study
Harvard's animal law program has been the foremost leader and authority in the field for years. They're expanding into all domains — training lawyers, encouraging thought leadership in academic writing, and engaging with the community at large on the many issues that affect our animal kin.
Speaking with the Harvard Gazette late last year, HLS lecturer Jonathan Lovvorn spoke about the importance of protecting wildlife from our current climate crisis. He considers the world's most vulnerable population to be animals, especially those in developing countries being ravaged by industry.
"In those countries, especially in terms of climate change, what we see regarding the exploitation and destruction of wildlife is deeply intertwined with the exploitation or destruction of people, communities, and cultures. We can learn a lot about our own social and legal problems by studying our legal problems with wildlife," said Lovvorn.
Lovvorn has taught classes on wildlife law in the past. He hopes to inspire lawyers to take animal law as a starting point to affect positive change in the world at large:
"The key to wildlife law or other collective issues like climate change is to figure out where you can make a difference, and to talk about how we might change institutions to make them more effective."
Public interest in animal law
When major brands such as Burger King start rolling out plant-based meats, it's indicative of the growing power of the animal rights and protection movement. We're beginning to see the increased public interest in animal law in a great deal of scattered legislation, wildlife conservation, and public discourse.
In California recently, there has been an ongoing effort to ban the sale of fur. This follows a wave of animal welfare legislation that is trying to outlaw cosmetic testing and cruelty on animals with a general push for a more animal-friendly environment.
Concerning the measure, assemblymember Laura Friedman stated,"We've seen California voters more than once saying that any product involving animals should be humanely sourced."
As these many efforts begin to coalesce, places like Harvard's Animal Law & Policy Clinic will be at the forefront of the change.
What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.
- A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
- This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
- The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
The process for measuring the fine-structure constant involved a beam of light from a laser that caused an atom to recoil. The red and blue colors indicate the light wave's peaks and troughs, respectively.
Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.
- Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
- Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
- The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.