Founded in late 2004, the American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section’s Animal Law Committee addresses all issues concerning the intersection of animals and the law. The status of animals in our legal system, and in our society at large, is in flux, and attorneys are discovering creative and interesting ways to use the rule of law in many different arenas to create a just world for all. These arenas involve a vast array of human/animal interactions, including estate planning for companion animals, liability standards and insurance coverage when an animal causes harm, appropriate compensation when an animal is killed or injured, standards of care and accountability for animals used in industry and agriculture, expanding notions of what constitutes “cruelty to animals,” and the competing interests of wild animals and humans in dwindling resources. The mission of the Animal Law Committee is to be the instrument of a paradigm shift in the way the law addresses animals within our society.
The Animal Law Committee has approximately 380 members and is growing. The Committee has been extremely active since its inception providing its members with a variety of resources to promote professional development while also promoting the protection of animals though the law. The Animal Law Committee has published three books, hosted a number of CLE programs, and created a podcast series. The Animal Law Committee boasts twelve substantive subcommittees, produces three newsletters a year, maintains an active Facebook page to keep their membership up-to-date on the developments in animal law globally, and annually recognizes the outstanding achievements of one of its members through the Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award. Through the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, the Animal Law Committee, has sought ABA approval of a number of policy initiatives including the adoption of a Model Act Governing Standards for the Care and Disposition of Disaster Animals while also being active in a number of public interest projects, including the establishment of the Animal Disaster Network and a continuing and expanding humane education project.