U of T hosts in-person Canadian Animal Rights Conference – The Varsity

The fourth edition Canadian Animal Rights Conference was held at the U of T from September 16-18. animal justice, a non-profit animal rights group in Canada, hosts the conference each year. At the event, the nonprofit seeks to facilitate various legal presentations and discussions on animal rights and advocacy among leading legal scholars in the field.

In 2020, the conference was to be hosted at the University of Toronto, but Animal Justice moved it to an online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As U of T and the province of ontario relaxed their COVID-19 restrictions, the conference returned to its original in-person and U of T delivery.

In an interview with the university, Camille Labchuk, Executive Director of Animal Justice, spoke about the organization’s animal rights work, conference goals, and opportunities for student participation. Labchuk also spoke about the organization’s relationship with the University of Toronto Law School.

animal justice

As Canada’s only national animal rights group, Animal Justice’s primary goal is to improve the legal protection of animals in Canada.

Labchuk believes that “the laws in the books for animals in Canada are extremely outdated and far behind many other developed countries.” To address this issue, Animal Justice is trying to provide effective legal representation for animals and is pursuing a revitalization of Canada’s animal protection laws.

In addition to Animal Justice’s work in formulating new animal protection laws and lobbying for the implementation of the laws, the group also works to ensure that these protective laws, once implemented, are applied in Canada. The group also offers educational programs and support for clubs focused on animal rights at law schools nationwide.

In addition, the group often collaborates with the U of T. Labchuk noted that the U of T is “one of the leading centers for animal rights” in Canada and, therefore, an important source of academic research. on animal rights.

The relationship between Animal Justice and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law is facilitated in part by Angela Fernandez’s animal law initiatives and involvement with Animal Justice. Fernandez is a professor at the Faculty of Law, whose research focuses on animal rights.

Canadian Animal Rights Conference

The 2022 conference is the fourth conference hosted by Animal Justice and the first time it has been held at the U of T.

Through the conference, the group aims to facilitate a weekend of collaboration and learning by inviting people from various disciplines and academic backgrounds to consider animal rights in Canada.

Additionally, Animal Justice is hosting the conference in hopes of providing students with an opportunity to learn more about animal rights.

Labchuk explained that “interest in animal rights has just exploded in recent years” and that the organization has “seen this growth of animal rights clubs across the country.”

Labchuk pointed out that “people are increasingly engaging with animals” and “[the lives of animals] encompass all aspects of [one’s daily life].” She specifically mentioned the production of clothing and the consumption of food as evidence of the integral role of animals in daily life.

Although Labchuk believes that many people support the idea of ​​giving animals better legal protection, a significant problem remains: “Our laws still do not correspond to society’s expectations. [of animal rights protection].”

Labchuk explained that it is up to animal rights activists to bridge this gap. She commented that “the animal law movement really has a big part to play in explaining [why animal-rights laws remain insufficient]and trying to convince politicians and even businesses to do better.

U of T Law School

Labchuk also discussed his connection to the University of Toronto Law School.

In 2011, the University of Toronto awarded Labchuk a research fellowship to join Animal Justice. Through her work at Animal Justice during her time at the U of T, Labchuk had many opportunities to conduct research in the area of ​​animal rights. Labchuk also recalled working on projects to prevent the exploitation of animals in experimental research.

Labchuk graduated from U of T Law School in 2012. She explained that the reason she chose the school was due to the established history of animal law at U of T. .

“A great thing about U of T is that the university has always been very supportive of animal law,” Labchuk said. She believes that the U of T has been so well integrated into the animal rights movement in Canada that “most people involved in animal rights…have come through the U of T at some point” .

Student Opportunities

On increasing student engagement with the organization, Labchuk advised students interested in animal rights to start “small” and “local.” She recommended that students join existing animal justice clubs at any Canadian university and explained that the group provides support for these clubs through grants of up to $500 per year.

The animal justice club at the U of T offers members a variety of animal rights engagement opportunities, including annual networking events, case work experience opportunities, and events with guest speakers of the domain.

Animal Justice also offers various opportunities for participation for students pursuing law studies at Canadian universities. During the summer, Animal Justice offers many paid jobs suitable for students. Throughout the academic year, the group organizes the “Pro Bono Students Canada” program, which helps students interested in animal rights by matching them with volunteer positions with existing animal rights organizations. in Canada.

Labchuk encouraged people to volunteer for any animal welfare group, noting that even an individual “can do a lot of important work.” Labchuk said participating in animal rights campaigns, raising awareness of animal rights issues, or even convincing post-secondary schools to increase the supply of plant-based foods on campus are all methods. which is important work in the pursuit of effective animal rights law in Canada.