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News Release

VLS Symposium to Explore Bridging Animal and Environmental Law

Wednesday, March 23, 2022


The Animal Law Society at Vermont Law School will host a symposium on Friday, March 25, that explores ways to bridge the over lapping, and yet often siloed, fields of animal and environmental law through case-study panels examining areas of intersection and opportunities for collaboration.

The virtual symposium will take place from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. (EST). Pre-registration is required to participate in the zoom session, while a live online broadcast of the event can be viewed at   

The symposium will feature two discussion panels: "Climate Contingencies and Farmed Animals: Building Resilience" and "A Critically Endangered Orca in the Smallest Orca Tank in the World."

"Climate Contingencies and Farmed Animals: Building Resilience" will explore how society's reliance on animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, and climate change in turn exacerbates myriad contingencies that disproportionately impact farmed animals, including disasters and zoonoses. 

Panelists include: Randall Abate JD/MSEL'89, Rechnitz Family Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy and professor of political science and sociology at Monmouth University; Hannah Connor JD'07, senior attorney for environmental health at the Center for Biological Diversity; Laura Fox JD/MELP'13, Harvard Animal Law and Policy Program fellow; and Ingrid Seggerman, senior director of federal affairs at ASPCA. 

The day's second panel discussion, "A Critically Endangered Orca in the Smallest Orca Tank in the World," will focus on Lolita, aka Tokitae, aka Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut, who was taken from her home waters off the Washington coast more than a half century ago and has spent her years since in the world’s smallest orca tank at the Miami Seaquarium. 

Panelists include: Don Baur, VLS Summer faculty member, partner at Perkins Coie and former general counsel of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission; Tim Ragen, former executive director of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and current member of the Washington Southern Resident Orca Recovery Task Force; Dr. Heather Rally, VLS Summer faculty member and supervising veterinarian for the PETA Foundation’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement Division; Charles Vinick, executive director of the Whale Sanctuary; and Delcianna Winders, VLS visiting associate professor of law and director of the Animal Law and Policy Institute. 

The symposium will conclude with remarks from Laura Ireland, Animal Law and Policy Institute program coordinator.