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News Release

Vermont Law School and ASPCA Seek Journalists for New Animal Law Media Fellowship

Monday, April 5, 2021


Full cost of fellowship covered by ASPCA grant to increase dialogue around lack of legal protections for farm animals and related policy issues

Vermont Law School (VLS) and the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) are pleased to announce the launch of a new Animal Law Media Fellowship. Applications are now open to qualified journalists who cover issues related to agriculture, factory farming, and/or animal welfare.

The Animal Law Media Fellow will spend two weeks at Vermont Law School’s Summer Session from July 12 to 22, attending an intensive course in Farmed Animal Law, while having access to the school’s distinguished faculty and visiting policy leaders. The position includes a stipend, housing and books, and a tuition waiver. In addition to attending class, the fellow will present on a topic of their choice as part of the Summer Session’s “Hot Topics” series.

“While at Vermont Law School, media fellows learn to ‘think like lawyers’ while reporting like journalists,” said Jennifer Rushlow, associate dean for environmental programs and director of VLS’s Environmental Law Center. “This is an opportunity for a reporter to delve into animal law and its many intersections with climate, agriculture, and environmental justice issues, learning from experts in the field while making valuable contacts.”

Although VLS has hosted environmental journalists as media fellows annually since 2002, in 2021 the school will host its first fellow specifically focused on animal law, thanks to a grant from ASPCA. The new fellowship aligns with broad public attention around animal welfare, worker safety, environmental, and public health risks related to industrial animal agriculture. According to a recent survey, the majority (89 percent) of Americans are concerned about factory farming—and there is strong support for intervention to reform industrial animal agriculture and address its negative impacts.

“We are thrilled to fund the new Animal Law Media Fellowship at Vermont Law School alongside our ongoing work with local, state and federal lawmakers to increase legal protections for farm animals,” said Kara Shannon, senior manager, farm animal welfare at the ASPCA. “The suffering that billions of animals experience on factory farms intersects with a multitude of social justice issues in agriculture, and journalists are doing critical work to bring these intersections to light. This fellowship will encourage greater transparency and dialogue as we move toward a more humane, sustainable, and just food system.”

The fellow will be selected based on work history and samples, commitment to covering animal issues, and their potential for increasing understanding of animal law and policy issues nationwide. Journalists from BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

The application deadline is Monday, April 26. Prospective fellows may submit applications via email to Molly McDonough at with “animal law media fellowship” in the subject line. Include a CV or LinkedIn profile, a link to your online portfolio or links to at least two recent published articles, and a short cover letter explaining your interests in and qualifications for the fellowship. For more information, visit

About Vermont Law School
Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s premier environmental law program. VLS offers a juris doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; four master’s degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy, and Master of Arts in Restorative Justice—and four post-JD degrees-LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and an LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental Advocacy Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Environmental Justice Clinic, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.