Harvard Law School today announced a $ 10 million endowment for the Animal Law & Policy program, thanks to a donation from the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy.

The program will now be named after the institute’s founding benefactor, Brooks McCormick Jr., a longtime animal lover and philanthropist who passed away in 2015. The Brooks family founded the International Harvester Company, and his great-great-great Uncle Cyrus McCormick revolutionized world agriculture. by patenting the first mechanical combine, the McCormick Reaper, in 1834.

“It is a meaningful and enduring reflection of the life of Brooks McCormick Jr. that the world’s first university program in animal law and policy will be forever named in his memory,” said Tim Midura, executive director of the Brooks Institute. “Recognizing that each animal has a unique and inherent value as an individual being, Brooks was troubled by the fact that animals are treated as property under the law. He hoped that with better understanding, policymakers could get an objective analysis and create momentum for change. Through his vision and philanthropy, Brooks hoped to leave a legacy of opportunity that would produce a profound change in animal rights law and policy. “

Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy program will now be named after Brooks McCormick Jr., a longtime animal lover, philanthropist and founding benefactor of the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, who died in 2015.

The HLS Animal Law & Policy program was established seven years ago with founding donations that were to be spent within five years to spur transformative growth. Since then, the program has helped expand Harvard Law School’s curriculum with its faculty offering courses in wildlife law and farm animal law; has developed a visiting scholarship program and a series of workshops that encourage and promote rigorous and relevant academic scholarship; and organized dozens of events to educate a wider audience on animal welfare issues.

In 2019, additional donations enabled the launch of the HLS Animal Law & Policy Clinic, an in-house public interest law firm where Harvard students gain hands-on experience and mentorship by working directly on animal law cases. and political projects in real time. Many graduates and fellows of the Animal Law & Policy Program have subsequently chosen to devote their careers to animal welfare – obtaining positions as public advocates, think tank policy analysts, professors. holders and directors of new animal law programs.

“For two decades, Harvard Law School has been at the forefront of the development of the critically important area of ​​animal law and policy,” said John F. Manning ’85, Dean Morgan and Helen Chu of the Harvard Law School. “This generous endowment will help ensure that our faculty and students continue to have the opportunity to tackle these vital issues with depth and impact, while training new generations of leaders in this growing field.” We are very grateful to the Brooks Institute and delighted that these valuable efforts continue at HLS. “

Through his vision and philanthropy, Brooks hoped to leave a legacy of opportunity that would produce a profound change in animal rights law and policy.

Kristen Stilt, professor at Harvard Law School, faculty director of the Animal Law & Policy Program, and Chris Green ’04, executive director of the program, said the generous support of the Brooks Institute and its partnership with Harvard Animal Law & Policy Policy Program will have a transformative impact on the field of animal law and policy.

“The Brooks Institute has burst onto the animal law and policy scene with immense energy, creativity and dedication, and has already made the field better and stronger in such a short time,” said Stilt. “The Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program has been fortunate to partner with the Brooks Institute on numerous projects, benefiting from the institute’s unstoppable momentum and its inspiring motto that ‘failure, for us, is ‘not try something new and innovative, ”she added. . “Our program has a huge agenda to solve some of the most pressing problems in the world today, and this gift will help us spend more time on our crucial work.”

In just a few short years, the Brooks Institute has grown into the premier foundation promoting academic work in animal law and policy. In addition to its partnerships with Harvard, the institute has engaged and supported animal law programs at Yale, New York University, Lewis & Clark, and Vermont Law School, and has awarded grants. to half a dozen other institutions that deliberately encourage collaboration. among their programs.

The Brooks Institute also helped fund the launch of HLS Animal Law & Policy Clinic. Over the past two years, the clinic and institute have collaborated to produce and distribute the Brooks Animal Law Digest, a weekly summary of all the latest developments in animal law and policy in federal and state case law, initiatives Federal and state legislative news and pending, federal regulatory actions, published scholarships and international news related to animal law. This research is then shared publicly for use by other clinics, programs, NGOs and academic practitioners in the field.

Fifteen people gathered around a long table in a meeting

Credit: Courtesy of Chris Green

The field of animal law and the HLS Animal Law & Policy program have grown exponentially in recent years. Harvard was one of the few schools in North America to offer a course in animal law when it introduced its first course in the spring of 2000. This initiative was seen as so innovative that it was brought to the headlines. from The New York Times. Now, just over two decades later, 167 U.S. law schools have offered courses related to animal law, and several more have launched their own comprehensive academic programs.

Two of these new programs were created by former fellows and staff of the Animal Law & Policy Program. This fall, a new animal law initiative was launched at Vermont Law School, led by ALPP’s first academic researcher, Delcianna Winders, who previously opened a farmed animal litigation clinic at Lewis. & Clark Law School. In 2019, the former Policy Director of the Animal Law & Policy program, Jonathan Lovvorn, also helped create the Law, Ethics and Animals program at Yale Law School.

Many HLS students also embarked on careers in animal welfare after graduation, working with organizations such as Animal Outlook, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Food Solutions Action, the Good Food Institute, the Humane League, The Humane Society of the United States, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Last year, the former president of the Harvard Animal Law Society, Alene Anello ’16, formed her own nonprofit focused on the legal defense of farm animals. Anello and Alicia Rodriguez ’15 also organized 50 other HLS graduates who are in the process of creating the Animal Law & Policy Network, a shared interest group of alumni that will provide a forum for continued professional engagement on these issues.

HLS alumnus Chris Green ’04 returned to Harvard in 2015 to join Stilt in creating and managing the Animal Law & Policy program. Having started with just Stilt, Green, and a single academic researcher, the program and clinic this year will include two faculty members, a law lecturer, eight full-time staff, and more than a dozen researchers and guest researchers.

Four men standing in front of a bookshelf

Credit: Harvard Law School[L-R] Bob Barker, Chris Green, Miguel Danielson and HLS Dean Robert Clark, in 2001.

“It’s hard to overstate the value Harvard Law School brings in validating and propelling the field of animal law and policy,” Green said. “Twenty-one years ago, as a student, I took this first HLS Animal Rights Course which directly led Bob Barker to create the world’s first endowment for the study of animal rights here. at Harvard. Kristen’s arrival in 2014 to pursue an animal law scholarship as a full professor then encouraged Brad Goldberg to fund the launch of our program – which Charles Thomas and many others helped support. It will forever be one of my proudest professional milestones that the great success that such support now offers us has resulted in this unprecedented endowment from the Brooks Institute that will help us move our work forward for years to come. to come. “

Chris co-owns and manages an Illinois farm that has stayed with his family for 183 years, and his first job as a teenager was with the local International Harvester dealership in his rural hometown.

Rightly, the work of the program places particular emphasis on combating the harms of industrial animal agriculture and climate change, while promoting food justice and the free development of alternatives to meat and dairy products. The program and clinic have sought to achieve these goals through such means as the petition to the United States Supreme Court regarding liability for factory farm pollution, the USDA lawsuit to demand standards of humane handling for poultry and summoning experts to advise federal regulators not to ban the use of common products. meat and poultry terms on cell-based products. The awarding of this gift coincides with COP26 of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, as animals raised for food collectively constitute one of the world’s greatest sources of greenhouse gases, while wildlife across the planet is poised to be one of the climate’s worst-hit victims. cash.

To address these issues, the Animal Law & Policy Program works with many of its counterparts at Harvard and, externally, engages with a wide range of public and private entities, including the National Academy of Sciences, the US Department of Justice, Food & Drug Administration. , US Department of Agriculture, as well as each of the world’s leading animal welfare organizations. Internationally, the program has advised on strengthening legal protections for animals in countries as diverse as Chile, China, India and Iran, and is currently leading a major study on global policy responses to live animal markets and their role in the transmission of zoonotic diseases. a collaboration between fifteen other academic institutions in a dozen countries.

This new endowment on behalf of Brooks McCormick Jr. will ensure that such work remains a perpetual part of Harvard Law School’s mission and significantly honors the memory of a man who cared so deeply about the treatment of non-human animals. .

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