September 20, 2009

Oregon Animal Law: Jane Goodall speaks to students in Portland

Eminent primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall recently addressed students at Portland’s French School, bringing her message of hope for endangered species to the Rose City. Her visit was in conjunction with a keynote speech to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums annual conference at the Oregon Convention Center.

Dr. Goodall praised the work of some conservation programs in zoos. I tend to disagree with her views on the subject, at least with regard to the Oregon Zoo. Her tireless efforts to raise the level of understanding of the animals with whom we share the world, however, are inspiring beyond words.

Her visit adds to what has been a productive year for the study and practice of animal law in Oregon. The recent symposium on toxicology and animal testing was engaging, although the promise of proposed strategies to reduce and eliminate the use of animals in laboratories is a long, long way from the reality. The upcoming animal law conference at Lewis & Clark Law School should offer even more tools for animal attorneys.

Animal law can be a difficult practice for an lawyer because of the magnitude of the problems facing living beings of every species. But more law students are becoming exposed to the field every semester, and younger students inspired Dr. Goodall to do something for animals will have law programs that give them the opportunity. As Jane would certainly agree, that is a reason for hope.

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