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Events

​​Through conferences, panels and seminars, the Center for Animal Law provides educational and networking platforms to facilitate the exchange of ideas among scholars in the field, practicing attorneys and the general public. Panels have covered some of the most notable issues in animal law including state and federal animal welfare laws, factory farming, dog fighting, puppy mills, animals in entertainment and tort valuation of animals.


Past Events

February’s webinar, Farmed Animals Activism, Legislation, and Litigation, is now available online for free! Visit here to register, watch, and receive up to 3 hours of CLE credit.

Farmed Animals: Activism, Legislation, and Litigation (February 2020)

Co-hosted by the DePaul Center for Animal Law and the DePaul Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter

This legal webinar was presented by the DePaul University College of Law Center for Animal Law. Speakers discussed current issues in farmed animal law, the environment, and social justice. Presentation topics included: slaughterhouse issues, factory farming, changes in farmed animal or environmental law, environmental degradation, and analysis of other current farmed animal issues that intersect with the environment and social justice.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

For video of the event, visit the InReach CE site


Nuestro Planeta Compartido: At the Intersection of Animal Law, the Environment, and Human Rights in Latin America (September 2020)

Co-hosted by the DePaul Center for Animal Law, the DePaul Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter, the DePaul Latino Law Students Association, and the UIC John Marshall Law School Environmental Law Society.
Co-sponsored by the International Institute for Animal Law.

This legal webinar was presented by the DePaul University College of Law Center for Animal Law. Speakers discussed how Latin American countries address issues of animal rights and the environment, and how this may impact human rights. Presentation topics included: constitutional rights of nature, habitat destruction, and analysis of current Latin American legal issues that intersect with the focus areas of animals, the environment and human rights.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site
For video of the event, visit the InReach CE site

"The Game Changers" – Documentary Screening and Plant-Based Reception (January 2020)

Sponsored by the DePaul Center for Animal Law, the DePaul Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter, the DePaul Entertainment and Sports Law Society, and the DePaul College of Law Vincent G. Rinn Law Library

DePaul Law presented a special screening of the documentary "The Game Changers" followed by a plant-based networking reception. Dr. Terry Mason, Chief Operating Officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health and interviewee for the film, provided opening comments.

Directed by Oscar®-winning documentary filmmaker Louie Psihoyos and executive produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Chris Paul, "The Game Changers" tells the story of James Wilks — elite Special Forces trainer and The Ultimate Fighter winner — as he travels the world on a quest to uncover the optimal diet for human performance. Showcasing elite athletes, special ops soldiers, visionary scientists, cultural icons, and everyday heroes, what James discovers permanently changes his understanding of food and his definition of true strength.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


Animal Warriors: At the Intersection of Animal Law and Veterans Affairs (November 2019)

Sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the DePaul Center for Animal Law.
Organized by the Veterans Advocacy Student Organization and the DePaul Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter

DePaul Law dedicates its Fall symposium in Animal Law to showing the interplay between animal welfare and the military with Animal Warriors: At the Intersection of Animal Law and Veterans Affairs. This program's three speakers highlighted different ways in which these two areas merge. Chris Berry (Animal Legal Defense Fund) discussed a case involving the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, which is a sanctuary in Frazier Park, California, where military veterans train wolves and other animals - and is also the subject of Animal Planet's Wolves and Warriors television program. Cynthia Bathurst (Safe Humane Chicago) talked about her organization's VALOR (Veterans Advancing Lives of Rescues) Program. And Marilyn Forbes Phillips (Duke University School of Law, Womble Bond Dickinson) reviewed the history of dogs in the US military and the TEDD (Tactical Explosive Detection Dog) program, with an emphasis on the story of Sgt. Ryan Henderson and his TEDD dog, Satan.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

Intellectual Property and the Legal Status of Animals (April 2019)

For its 2019 Spring Seminar, the DePaul Center for Animal Law focused on Intellectual Property and the Legal Status of Animals. Our first two panels looked at the intersection of trademarks, copyrights, and patents and animal rights with topics such as branding, marketing deals, the “monkey selfie copyright dispute,” and meat-free meats. Our featured speaker was Justin Marceau of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law who spoke about his book on the intersection between Animal Law and Criminal Law, published by Cambridge University Press.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


“Eating Animals” Special Screening (April 2019)

Co-hosted by DePaul College of Law Vincent G. Rinn Law Library and the DePaul Center for Animal Law

This special screening of the documentary "Eating Animals" by Christopher Quinn featured introductory remarks by Professor Howard Rosing (Executive Director of the Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and Community Service Studies, Co-director of DePaul’s graduate program in Sustainable Urban Development (SUD), Cultural anthropologist, and Author of “Chicago: A Food Biography").

This critically lauded film has been described as “an urgent, eye-opening look at the environmental, economic, and public health consequences of factory farming. Tracing the history of food production in the United States, the film charts how farming has gone from local and sustainable to a corporate Frankenstein monster that offers cheap eggs, meat, and dairy at a steep cost: the exploitation of animals; the risky use of antibiotics and hormones; and the pollution of our air, soil, and water.”


2018 Andrew Buslik Scholarship in Animal Law Reception (November 2018)

The DePaul Center for Animal Law presented the first Andrew Buslik Scholarship in Animal Law to Zachary Danis. The award, presented to the top student in the Animal Law class, is given in memory of Andrew Buslik (JD 2016).


HSUS in Illinois: Turning Compassion into Legislative Action (October 2018)

This presentation by Marc Ayers, Illinois State Director of the Humane Society of the United States, provided a brief overview of the HSUS and recapped major legislative achievements. Topics included the recent ban on ivory sales in Illinois, as well as potential changes to bobcat hunting laws in the state. He also discussed additional pending and future legislation to be introduced over the fall and spring legislative sessions in the Illinois General Assembly.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

DePaul Center for Animal Law presents Housing Law and Companion Animals (April 2018)

For its 2018 Spring Seminar, the DePaul Center for Animal Law examined issues involving housing law and companion animals. Our speakers looked at the rights and responsibilities of pet owners and landlords. Topics included: emotional support animals, insurance requirements, Chicago's Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, and Home Owner Association law.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


Humane Lobbying: Using the Legislative Process on Behalf of Animals (November 2017)

Co-sponsored with the National Anti-Vivisection Society

Lobbying is an effective means by which advocates can have their voices heard and effect change at all levels of government. But with it comes unique challenges and ethical considerations. The first part of this lunchtime panel discussion looked at the unique roles that lawmakers and lobbyists each play in advancing legislation. Specific attention was paid to the recent passage of the Research Dog and Cat Adoption Law.

The second part of the discussion examined the ethical issues pertaining to lobbying and legislating in the State of Illinois. Leading this discussion will be lobbyist Dave Marsh, who was instrumental in shepherding the Research Dog and Cat Bill through the Illinois General Assembly, along with the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora).

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

For video, visit YouTube

DePaul Center for Animal Law Presents “Animal Shelters” (April 2017)

This seminar explored the myriad of legal, ethical, and financial issues affecting animal shelters, locally and nationally. Among the topics covered were: the operations of a public animal shelter (Chicago Animal Care and Control), the operations of a non-profit animal shelter (Tree House Humane Society), and the recently proposed ordinance to make all Chicago animal shelters "no-kill." It also analyzed the recently decided lawsuit between ALDF and Animal Care and Control regarding FOIA requests for records related to animal treatment.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


DePaul Center for Animal Law Presents “Companion Animal Valuation” (October 2016)

This panel examined the realities and the difficulties in obtaining a valuation of companion animals after their injury or death due to another's negligence or actions. Professor Margit Livingston (DePaul University College of Law), author of "The Calculus of Animal Valuation: Crafting a Viable Remedy" (82 Neb. L. Rev. 783 (2004)), explored the historical development of animal valuation as a legal concept. Anna Morrison-Ricordati (AMR Law Group, LLC) provided an analysis of Illinois statutes and cases involving animal valuation (including those where emotional distress was factored into the allowed damages) and offered practice pointers for attorneys representing litigants in these suits.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

Companion Animals and the Law II: Protecting Our Pets (2015-2016)

For the 2015-2016 academic year, the Center for Animal Law continued its look at companion animal issues with the series Companion Animals and the Law II: Protecting Our Pets. Its four topics were:

  • Animal Hoarding (April 2016) – An analysis of another of animal law's biggest topics – animal hoarding – with speakers having backgrounds in law, psychology, and animal protection efforts. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site
  • Dog Court/Breed Specific Legislation (March 2016) – An analysis of what happens to complainants following a dog bite incident with a focus on the Chicago municipal code, followed by a look at the controversial science behind breed specific legislation. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site
  • The Dangers of Dog Fighting (November 2015) – An analysis of one of the most hot button issues in all of animal law - dog fighting – with speakers looking at it from legal, advocacy, and sociological perspectives. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site
  • The History of Animal Welfare Laws (September 2015) – An analysis of the history of America's Animal Welfare Laws presented by Mary Raines of the Anti-Cruelty Society. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

Companion Animals and the Law: The Limits of Regulation (2014-2015)

For the 2014-2015 academic year, the Center for Animal Law looked at regulatory issues relating specifically to companion animals, particularly those throughout Chicago. Its four topics were:

  • Dog Bite Prosecutions (March 2015) – An analysis of strict liability dog bite laws in Illinois, which included lawyers informing attendees about preparing for these lawsuits as well as protecting oneself and one's pet from liability. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site
  • Trap Neuter Return Programs (January 2015) – An analysis of “TNR” programs, which is considered a humane method for controlling the feral cat population by spaying/neutering them and having them monitored by a trained feral-neighborhood cat caregiver. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site
  • Puppy Mills (October 2014) – An analysis of the practice of commercially breeding dogs in inhuman conditions that are harmful to the animals' emotional and physical health. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site
  • Puppy Lemon Laws (September 2014) – An analysis of laws that provide legal recourse to individuals who purchase animals from dealers and who later discover that their pet is injured or ill. For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

Free Film Screening: "Maximum Tolerated Dose" (April 2014)

The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) and the DePaul Center for Animal Law, in recognition of World Day for Animals in Laboratories, presented a free screening of “Maximum Tolerated Dose,” a feature-length documentary from Decipher Films that charts the lives of both humans and non-humans who have experienced animal testing first-hand. A reception with "Maximum Tolerated Dose" director Karol Orzechowski followed.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


Pirates or Protesters? The Institute of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (February 2014)

The center hosted a discussion on The Institute of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an international lawsuit regarding whale hunting that received attention due to its connection to the popular American non-scripted television show “Whale Wars.” The plaintiff, a Japanese research foundation that hunts whales, sued the defendant, an American non-profit organization of eco-activists that is best known for starring in "Whale Wars," over interfering with their activities.

The panel featured Harris & Moure, pllc, attorneys Charles Moure and Rebecca Millican who represented Sea Shepherd. Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, appeared via SKYPE. They analyzed how the ruling may affect international maritime law, the future of the group, and the actions of other ecological-focused protesters.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


Fall All-Day Symposium: Animals as Food: The Legal Treatment of Animals in Contemporary Agribusiness and Factory Farming (October 2013)

The legal, moral and ethical issues surrounding animals in contemporary food production and distribution were the focus of the DePaul Center for Animal Law's 2013 fall all-day symposium. Over the past several years this topic has received significant attention because of books such as "Fast Food Nation" and "Eating Animals," documentaries like "Food, Inc." and "Forks Over Knives," and the release of undercover footage depicting modern slaughterhouse conditions. At the same time, consumer interest about where food comes from and the value of organic eating and non-meat diets is at an all-time high. To reflect these concerns, the center presented panels on the raising and slaughtering of farm animals, AG-GAG laws, food labeling, and the success in banning certain food products. Gary Francione of Rutgers Law School served as keynote speaker.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


Drug Sniffing Dogs and the Fourth Amendment (October 2013)

In early 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on two different cases involving drug sniffing dogs. The first, Florida v. Harris, decided unanimously that if the police can show that a drug sniffing dog satisfactorily earned certification or completed a training program, the dog's alert can provide probable cause to search a vehicle. The subsequent case, Florida v. Jardines, said that using drug sniffing dogs at the front door of a house where the police suspected drugs constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment and thus requires a warrant. The panel examined the background of the cases, the implications to criminal investigations, and the practical training and applications of police dogs.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

Non-Profit Litigation, Paid Plaintiffs and the Endangered Species Act: A Look at ASPCA's Settlement with Feld Entertainment (April 2013)

The center hosted a panel discussing the various issues related to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' $9.3 million settlement with Feld Entertainment, the owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus. The hour-long presentation examined non-profit organizations bringing suit against large corporations, legal ethics in using allegedly paid plaintiffs, public relations concerns, and related topics.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


Spotlight on Animal Crimes: A Discussion with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart (March 2013)

This lunchtime talk featured Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart discussing the Chicago Police Department Animal Crimes Unit, animal welfare issues within Chicago and related topics.

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site


Fall All-Day Symposium: Examining the Legal Protection of Animals Used in Entertainment (October 2012)

The focus of this symposium was the legal protection of animals used for entertainment purposes, including movies and television, magic shows, dog fighting, circuses, and horse racing. The four panels (plus keynote speaker Gary Francione of Rutgers Law School) examined these topics through a filter of the ethical responsibilities involved in using animals for entertainment purposes, legal liability for the misuse of animals, the history of the field of animal law in entertainment and what happens to animals after they "retire."

For more information, visit the Eventbrite site

Revisiting the Fine Line between Freedom of Speech and Obscenity (2010)

This symposium examined the recent United States Supreme Court decision in United States v. Stevens, in which the Court held that a federal law banning the distribution of so-called "crush" videos was unconstitutional as an undue restraint on free speech under the First Amendment. Speakers discussed in detail the basis for and the ramifications of the Court's holding and also suggested other legislative approaches to regulating videos depicting the actual killing of small animals that would pass constitutional muster. The event attempted to convey the horrendous nature of the crush video industry while exploring regulatory solutions respectful of free speech concerns.


Prosecuting and Representing Animal Abusers and Caring for Their Victims (2008)

This symposium delved into the legal intricacies of prosecuting and defending those charged with animal cruelty or animal neglect. It focused on the criminal prosecution of football star Michael Vick, who was ultimately convicted and sentenced for his activities in running a dog fighting operation on his property. Panelists also discussed the outcome for the dogs rescued from Vick's operation and noted that many were successfully rehabilitated and placed in private homes. The symposium drew attention to outcomes for other than euthanasia, the typical end for fighting dogs.


Companion Animal Hoarding (2008)

This event featured policymakers, states' attorneys, psychologists, and academics who have been involved with the issue of pet hoarding. Pet hoarding appears to be a growing problem in the U.S., and law enforcement has faced challenges in keeping up with the increased number of cases. Particularly discouraging is the huge recidivism rate for companion animal hoarders and the limited effectiveness of judicial prohibitions on future pet ownership. The speakers discussed the dimensions of this problem as well as possible approaches to finding more effective solutions to it.


Menu Foods Pet Poisoning Litigation (2007)

This program examined the causes and ramifications of the distribution of tainted pet food throughout the U.S. by Menu Foods in 2007. The speakers emphasized the need for proper government oversight of pet food manufacturing and also explored the proper valuation of companion animals in tort. They noted that the current legal standard for valuing companion animals is fair market value—a standard that arguably grossly undervalues animals as companions to humans and an integral part of the family unit. The participants debated the pros and cons of changing the valuation standard to provide for greater damages awards in cases where pets have been injured or destroyed and illuminated the policy concerns surrounding the valuation issue.


Fall All-Day Symposium: Punishment and Sentencing of Animal Abusers (2006)

This symposium focused on criminal penalties imposed on those convicted of animal cruelty or animal neglect. The speakers discussed the increased criminalization of activities injurious to domestic animals and noted the deterrent effect of augmented fines and prison terms. They also explored some creative punishments, such as that imposed by one state court judge who ordered the defendant to spend a night outside without food, water, or shelter. The symposium increased awareness of the need to set appropriate penalties to deter and punish animal abuse.


Photos from "The Game Changers" - Documentary Screening + Plant-Based Reception (January 29, 2020) and  Animal Warriors: At the Intersection of Animal Law and Veterans Affairs (November 14, 2019)