Animal Law Course Launches at Vermont Law

PETA Foundation Attorney and Supervising Veterinarian to Teach Ethical and Legal Challenges of Using Wild Animals for 'Entertainment'

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

South Royalton, Vt. – Beginning today, Vermont Law School will welcome PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders and PETA Foundation Supervising Veterinarian Dr. Heather Rally for a new summer course on animal-welfare law.

Together with Donald Baur, a partner at Perkins Coie, Winders and Rally will focus on the ethical questions and legal challenges surrounding the exploitation of wild animals for human entertainment. The class will combine traditional principles of animal-welfare laws and advocacy using laws typically applied in the context of wildlife conservation, such as the Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection acts. The course will also touch on PETA’s groundbreaking lawsuits, including its legal efforts on behalf of Lolita, the lone orca at the Miami Seaquarium; the “monkey selfie” suit, which sought to grant Naruto the macaque the copyright of the photographs that he took of himself; and the 13th Amendment suit filed on behalf of five wild-caught orcas at SeaWorld.

“The shutdown of Ringling Bros. circus and the end of SeaWorld’s orca-breeding program show that the public’s opinion of using animals for entertainment is evolving—and the law is evolving right along with it,” says Winders. “PETA looks forward to a new generation of legal minds who are equipped to advocate for the most vulnerable among us.”

Winders recently completed a role as a visiting scholar at Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law, which was preceded by a two-year stint as the first-ever academic fellow in Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Program. Her work with PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—includes stopping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from secretly issuing permits allowing holders to harm and harass endangered animals.

A wildlife veterinarian with experience and training in wildlife medicine, Rally helps lead investigations in cases of abuse of animals in roadside zoos, circuses, and other captive-animal exhibits, and her work includes assisting in rescuing animals and relocating them to reputable sanctuaries.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind