Animal Law and Animal Welfare Group

This weekend I stopped by the Vegetarian Food Festival in Toronto to try out some new food products. The last thing I expected to see was a lawyer group. But there, prominently situated between food sample tables and advocacy groups was the Lawyers for Animal Welfare  booth.

University of Toronto law student Camille Labchuk and lawyer Nick Wright were staffing the booth, making members of the public aware of the group and a number of law-related animal welfare issues. I learned that Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW) is a registered charity dedicated to advancing public knowledge of animal practices and preventing the abuse and killing of animals through enforcement of existing laws.

Notably, the group is presenting the program The Emerging Field of Animal Law on October 3rd through Ontario Bar Association’s professional development program. This program is available in person and via webcast. From the program description:

Join us for an opportunity to network and learn from a panel of lawyers and students working in the field of animal law at this inaugural Ontario Bar Association event. The field of animal law is growing rapidly in Canada. Animal law has been established and practiced in the United States for decades, and the past few years have been marked by a growing awareness of animal legal issues in Canada. Most Canadian law schools now offer courses in animal law, animal law practitioners have emerged and an increasing number of law students are entering the field. These developments have prompted many to draw comparisons between the present state of animal law, and the state of environmental law 25 years ago. For some lawyers, practicing animal law simply means working with clients who have legal issues relating to animals. Others are drawn to the field by a commitment to protecting animals – beings with few legal protections unable to help themselves. Drawing on a growing body of Canadian case law and legislation relating to animal issues, particularly in Ontario, lawyers practicing animal law are at the forefront of an exciting new field of law. This session will be relevant to various types of civil litigation practice as well as criminal prosecutions.

Program Chair: 
Nicholas dePencier Wright,
 LLB, MBA, Campaigner, Humane Society International/Canada and
Executive Director, Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW)

Peter Sankoff, JD, LLM, Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law
Evelyne Kostanska, JD, President, Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW) and Fellow, PETA Foundation
Camille Labchuk, President, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, University of Toronto Chapter and Campaign Manager, Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW)

For more information about the group see their website: and find out about upcoming meetings from their page You can also sign up for their mailing list:


  1. Thanks for writing about the Lawyers for Animal Welfare booth, Connie! It was great to meet you.