NYU Launches Animal Studies Initiative

David Cassuto

Oh to be young again.  NYU is launching an Animal Studies Initiative.  NYU students will soon be able to minor in animal studies and the initiative will also create opportunities for interdisciplinary courses, conferences and other research projects.  Professor Dale Jamieson, who heads NYU’s Environmental Studies Program and has written much that needs to be read in the animal studies arena, will head the program.  He notes:

The interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies has developed rapidly over the past two decades, opening up new areas of research both within and between many existing academic fields.  Animal Studies addresses questions about the uniqueness of human beings with respect to other animals, the moral status of animals and their cultural meanings, and the roles they play in our imagination and arts.

The Animal Studies Initiative was made possible through the generosity of Brad Goldberg, a far-sighted philanthropist who understands the importance of animal causes and animal education.  Mr. Goldberg’s championing of animal causes goes  beyond simply giving money (although Lord knows that’s important…).  He founded the Animal Welfare Trust, a grant-making institution, and also Animal Welfare Advocacy, a charity.  In sum, the man is a mensch of the first order.

Also instrumental to the Initiative’s creation was David Wolfson who, in addition to teaching animal law at NYU and Columbia, writing important and influential animal law scholarship, and representing numerous animal advocacy groups, manages to squeeze in a few thousand hours a year to work as an M&A partner at Milbank.

This Initiative is the first of its kind and its importance is hard to overstate.  Heartfelt huzzahs all around.

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