POST WRITTEN BY: Angelique Rivard (’14), Pace Law School
The Animal Law Resource Center (ALRC) is a comprehensive clearinghouse for information on animals and the law. The information on the ALRC’s website is accessible to everyone and is particularly beneficial for attorneys, law students, policy makers, engaged constituents, academics and all other animal advocates. ALRC is entirely funded by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing science without harming animals, and sponsored by The International Institute for Animal Law (IIAL), a not-for-profit organization comprised of internationally renowned attorneys and judges.
The International Institute for Animal Law provides animal law programs, workshops, online resources such as ALRC and offers grants, but is not licensed to practice animal law or give legal advice. Rather, the mission of IIAL is to encourage, at the international level, the development of legal scholarship and advocacy skills and as a result enhance the development of animal protection laws. IIAL along with many animal advocates including animal law attorneys believe that increasing animal welfare and rights through the law is the next logical step in the movement toward social justice. While the news articles available on ALRC’s website may promote this sentiment, the legislative and legal resources are neutral and unbiased. IIAL’s “scope is broad and far-reaching in providing up-to-date resources on all aspects of animal law, whether it concerns stronger enforcement of existing laws, tighter regulations regarding the use of animals, the case for granting fundamental legal rights to animals, or the civil rights of those who defend animals.” Furthermore, the information on ALRC’s site proves especially valuable for animal law attorneys and other legal practitioners working for non-profit organizations who may not have access to legal databases for purchase.
The Animal Law Resource Center website has numerous features that are clearly categorized in the top menu bar. The user can search both current and pending legislation by filtering through jurisdiction, filling in a keyword or the bill number and/or selecting popular tags, such as “Dog Fighting.” The “Model Laws” section of the website is a particularly unique and useful resource. Local constituents, advocates and policy makers can utilize the model laws to build and create animal legislation within their states. Sample legislation topics include entertainment, hunting and product testing. One may also search case law. The content in this section is unique from other online resources in that it contains brief-like summaries instead of case opinions. The “Bibliography” section is helpful for locating other sources, like books and law review articles, based on your topic of research. Also, the “Links” section on the top of the menu bar links to other websites pertaining to animal law, such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund site and the Animal Legal and Historical Web Center. Attorneys, students and other advocates may find these additional websites beneficial in researching animal law.