May 25, 2022

Yvonne Gurira Receives Outstanding Animal Law LLM Graduate Award

Yvonne Gurira is named this year’s Outstanding Animal Law LLM Graduate, a merit award given in memory of Florence Kaufelt, a lifelong friend of animals, to a graduate of our Animal Law LLM program.

Yvonne Gurira ’22 (Zimbabwe), is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Animal Law LLM Graduate Award. Yvonne obtained her law degree from the University of Zimbabwe in 2010. Following graduation, she worked with the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe as a Principal Public Prosecutor for nine years, prosecuting among other criminal cases wildlife crimes before the Magistrates Court and the High Court of Zimbabwe. Thereafter, she served as the Legal Manager for Speak Out for Animals, a nonprofit founded by Animal Law LLM alum, Ever Chinoda ’17 (Zimbabwe), focusing on protecting animals through the legal system in Zimbabwe.

Yvonne chose to study with the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) at Lewis & Clark Law School to pursue her goal to start her own animal protection nonprofit. She accomplished that dream during her studies, working with Professor Russ Mead as her mentor. Professor Mead was impressed by Yvonne’s founding a nonprofit and her performance in his mock trial course and says: Yvonne brought years of courtroom experience to our animal law trial advocacy class. She is the perfect animal law advocate—just as comfortable talking to those on the front line about poaching as she is in the courtroom. It was delightful to work with Yvonne.”

Yvonne’s new nonprofit—Animal Advocates International—has already obtained 501(c)(3) approval. The nonprofit’s mission is to “reduce the suffering and enhance the interests of non-human animals through the law.” Professor Mead adds that: “This is the magic of our Animal Law LLM program. Lawyers come from around the world to study cutting-edge animal law. Then they go back home and become leaders in their home country in animal protection and education. Yvonne is typical of our animal law LLM students. Experienced, driven, and looking for legal advocacy tools to improve the lives of animals. I am confident she’ll succeed.”

One of Yvonne’s passions is advancing welfare and protections for farmed animals in Zimbabwe. Animal Advocates International is working on several projects to improve living conditions for farmed chickens. She will also be launching a campaign to end battery cages in Zimbabwe, in favor of migrating these facilities to free range to improve the lives of the animals.

She is committed to wild animal protection as well and created an innovative program—the International Snare Removal Project—that sends people into the bush to gather and remove snares that harm and painfully kill a variety of wild animals for bushmeat, such as impalas, buffalo, and kudu.

Yvonne shares: “I am honored, humbled, and grateful for this prestigious award. Thank you CALS for this incredible recognition and all the endless support through this journey. I am more than grateful and words cannot express how I feel. Thank you for making my dream to advocate for animal protection come true. A special shout out to Professor Mead for the unwavering support and making Animal Advocates International a reality. I will always cherish his mentorship and guidance at every stage.”

The Center for Animal Law Studies

The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) was founded in 2008 with a mission to educate the next generation of animal law advocates and advance animal protection through the law. With vision and bold risk-taking, CALS has since developed into a world-renowned animal law epicenter, with the most comprehensive animal law curriculum offered anywhere. In addition, CALS is the only program that offers two advanced legal degrees in animal law (an LLM degree and a Master of Studies degree for non-lawyers, both degrees are offered in person and online) and three Animal Law Clinics. CALS’ Alumni-in Action from more than 20 countries are advancing legal protections and making a difference for animals around the world.