Harvard Law School to teach students how to fight for animal rights

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As you might know filing a lawsuit in an attempt to pursue justice is a common practice and culture in the United States. Following an increasing trend of schools offering animal rights legal training, Harvard Law School also launched a program called “Animal Law & Policy Clinic”.

Gear up more fighters for animal protection while educating the public

This program provides students with hands-on experience in litigation, legislation, administrative practice and policymaking. A broad range of issues affecting farmed animals, wildlife, animals in captivity, and the overarching threat to all forms of life from climate change. Students can also learn how to pursue advocacy under several substantive areas of the law, including the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Slaughter Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Wild Horse and Burros Act, and state animal cruelty codes.

animal welfare hong kongHarvard hopes the course will see ‘a new generation of leaders for the animal protection movement’. This is also a step towards building an internationally renowned platform for educating the broader public about the many pressing issues involving animal law and policy.

Know the difference between animal rights and animal welfare

Do you know “animal rights” and “animal welfare” hold different belief and principles? Mind that “animal rights” and “animal welfare” are not interchangeable.

“Animals are not ours to use for food, clothing, entertainment or experimentation. It means no service dogs, no leather or fur, zoo, dairy products, meat, fish, honey and etc.” PETA, one of the renowned animal rights organisations, advocates.

While animal welfare advocates care about the welfare of animals – whether they are treated humanely. For example, how farm animals can be treated humanely without unnecessary suffering, and they push for humane-slaughter regulations, codes of practice and other provisions to minimize stress and suffering of animals. The advocates, for example, also concern how pets can be properly taken care of.

Progress towards animal welfare in Hong Kong depends on actions of everyone of us

In Hong Kong, we are very much lagging behind in establishing a widely acceptable standard to reduce animal suffering and in effectively executing animal welfare policy. For example, Hong Kong carried out only a 3-year Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) trial program at a few locations from 2015 to 2019 with the sole purpose of reducing the number of stray dogs. With three years gone, its report claimed the program didn’t live up to expectation, leaving whether the program could continue or not unknown. What’s certain is that Hong Kong is still adopting a “catch and kill” policy towards stray animals and some abandoned pets, it signals disregard for animal right to survival. On the other hand, you can also hear news of pets being abandoned almost every week.

Do you know you have the power to make things better for the generation to come? You can vote for candidates in elections of District Council and Legislative Council who support animal welfare, so they can advocate for the voiceless on your behalf. You can adopt pets, help or donate to animal welfare organisations. You can say no to fur, leather, meat. You can as simply as pick up dog poo and keep our environment clean.

Every action counts.

animal welfare hong kong


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