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New degree continues animal law’s evolution

December 06, 2011

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    Pamela Frasch, assistant dean of the Animal Law Program and executive director of the Center for Animal Law Studies

Law Campus

Though lawyers have new tools in the fight over animal rights, the decades-old debate rages on. As Lewis & Clark prepares to launch the world’s first advanced degree in animal law, the Portland Tribune explores the concept of animal welfare, with Lewis & Clark professors providing varied opinions on the topic.

Many experts point to increasing evidence that animals are smarter and more capable of feelings than previously suspected. 

“The law is lagging behind what science is telling us,” Pamela Frasch, assistant dean of the Animal Law Program and executive director of the Center for Animal Law Studies, said. “The animal’s interest should be considered, and that’s hardly happening right now.”

Dean Emeritus Jim Huffman provides a contrasting perspective. In his opinion, to have rights, a being must be able to represent himself in court. Nonetheless, Huffman can see both sides of the debate.

“I go to the zoo and see chimps and I just find it spooky,” he said. “The difference between them and us is so slight. That forces you into a dilemma.”

The Animal Law LL.M. Program at Lewis & Clark is expected to launch in the fall of 2012. As more information becomes available, it will appear on the Center for Animal Law Studies’ website.

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