Wednesday night (8.25.10), I had the honor of attending the opening reception of the Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights, which was held in the first capital of Brazil—Salvador, Bahia. From a live band to Bahia’s movers and shakers of the political arena, the opening reception was superb. Professor Cassuto, a Pace Law School professor, spoke at the opening reception, along with numerous scholars, all of which got the conference started on a wonderful note!
Hosted by the Federal University of Bahia, yesterday (8.26.10) was the first full day of the conference. I had a jam-packed day of speaker after brilliant speaker. As a rising law school 3L, I have not yet found an opportunity to take an Animal Law course. However, after just one full day at this conference, I feel like I’ve gone to the academic edge and back. By no means am I now an animal law expert, but I’m happy to have learned a little bit about a lot of different animal law issues. I have always been concerned about the protection of animals (and other beings that can’t speak for themselves), and I am excited to hear from the world-renowned speakers that each seem to approach the same concern from different angles.
One of the most impressive lectures was that of professor Peter Singer, writer of 1975’s Animal Liberation. While that time period is reminiscent of the civil rights and women’s liberation movement, Singer brought animal rights issues to the mainstream. Singer’s book discusses the importance of respecting animals and using the law as a protective mechanism. In a time when the mere concept of animal rights was thought to be preposterous, this book was truly revolutionary—albeit not to the degree animal rights supporters anticipated or hoped for. Attending his lecture was truly and honor.
Today (8.27.10), I attended the second full day of the conference and, yet again, was amazed by the breadth of knowledge and expertise possessed by the speakers. It was a busy day, starting with a lecture about the type of arguments to make before a judge, to one about animal testing, another about factory farming, and so on! From renowned animal law activists and attorneys to law professors who are taking these important issues to their students, they all taught me something that I did not know before attending this conference.
I feel incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend this conference. Not only was I one of only two American students in attendance, but also I have been warmly welcomed by the organizers of the conference—some of which took the time to give me a tour of Salvador. All in all, this has been an absolutely marvelous experience.
Tomorrow is the last day of the conference. I look forward to returning home and sharing all the details of my experience with friends and colleagues.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal law education, animal rights Tagged: | activism, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, Animal Liberation, animal rights, animal scholarship, animal welfare, Bahia, Brazil, David Cassuto, environmental ethics, FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF BAHIA/BRAZIL, Peter Singer, Second World Conference on Bioethics and Animal Rights, UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DA BAHIA