Animal Law Volunteer Opportunity

Announcement - Volunteer Opportunity in Animal Law


The Brandeis Student Animal Legal Defense Fund received the following volunteer oportunity from the national ALDF organization.  Please contact Brittany Ducker ( if you are an SALDF member interested in learning more about this opportunity.

Please see below announcement regarding a great project for SALDF chapters, in which student volunteers are needed to help with a lawsuit intended to improve conditions for farmed animals.


In the lawsuit at issue, a coalition of groups and individuals are challenging regulations issued by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture that are supposed to set standards for the humane raising, keeping, care, marketing and sale of all domestic livestock.  This is a groundbreaking case because the New Jersey Legislature is the first state body to require that there even be standards for the humane care of farmed animals -- most other states simply exempt all such practices -- unfortunately the standards are woefully inadequate.

One of the issues with which we are asking for help is an exemption in the regulations for "routine" agricultural practices, which the NJDA has defined to encompass any practices "commonly" taught by veterinary schools, land grant colleges, and agricultural extensions.  Although the parties have completed briefing, there is still an opportunity for amicus (or friends of the court) briefs, and a private law firm has agreed to represent several local SPCAs in filing an amicus brief that would present the court with examples of some of the practices that are actually taught by these institutions.  At this point, the missing piece is that we need help compiling the curricula of these institutions with respect to certain, targeted practices.  Just by way of example, some of the practices that we are talking about include "forced molting" egg laying hens -- i.e., starving them for several weeks in order to cause them to produce more eggs -- and "de-beaking" -- i.e., removing the beaks of chickens that are forced to live in extremely small, cramped cages. 

To that end, we were hoping to potentially enlist SALDF volunteers throughout the country (and, hopefully, at some of the same institutions where these veterinary schools and land grant colleges are located) to do the ground work by actually finding out the curricula of these institutions -- i.e., by going to the schools, obtaining the syllabi and other course material, and determining exactly how these institutions are teaching certain practices.  If there are student volunteers who express an interest in helping out with this project, I can provide a more detailed explanation of the specific information we are looking for and suggestions for how to go about doing so, but we would be relying on the students to some extent to be creative in figuring out how to obtain the information. 

As far as time frame, we would love to receive information from student volunteers by mid-October, as the argument could be scheduled any time after that.  Hopefully lots of students will be eager to help with a case that has enormous implications for literally billions of farmed animals!