Gary Francione, professor of law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Distinguished Scholar of Law & Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law, and Taimie L. Bryant, professor of law at the UCLA School of Law, join us to delve deeper into the topic of teaching animal rights courses in law school and how these can affect the legal landscape for nonhuman animals. We’ll discuss their theories, the courses they are teaching, what courses are currently being taught in law schools elsewhere, and the conceptual shift in animal law that they are spearheading in their classrooms.
Professor Francione started teaching animal rights and the law in his course on legal philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985. He began teaching it as a separate course when he moved to Rutgers in 1989, and combined the course with a litigation clinic (the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Clinic) in which students worked on actual animal cases while learning theory in the classroom. He presently teaches several different courses, including a seminar on animal rights and the law, and a course on human rights and animal rights. (He co-teaches these courses with Anna Charlton, who was the co-director of the Clinic.) He has written four books, and numerous articles on animals and the law, including Animals, Property, and the Law (1995) (foreword by William M. Kunstler), Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? (2000) (foreword by Alan Watson), and Vivisection and Dissection in the Classroom: A Guide to Conscientious Objection (with Anna Charlton) (1992).
Professor Bryant has taught classes in animal law since 1995 and currently teaches Animals and the Law at UCLA, a course that, through case studies and examination of proposed legislation, provides an overview of the current social and legal status of animals used for food, companionship, entertainment, and research. She is currently writing articles that concern issues of theory in animal law. In a paper entitled “Trauma, Law, and Advocacy for Animals,” Professor Bryant draws on social science and medical literatures that document the traumatic effects of witnessing violence that society has not yet recognized. She applies that literature in the context of advocates for animals, arguing that some forms of legal activism that seem ineffective for helping animals actually increase public activism and understanding of animal suffering, thereby making other forms of legal change more likely.
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