Protecting Animal Welfare
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, TAU law students and staff played a critical role in the protection of animal rights as part of the Coller-Menmon Animal Rights and Welfare Program. They successfully advocated pro bono on behalf of animal sanctuary and animal rescue employees to be considered as essential workers, rather than be put on leave, thus ensuring that the animals under their care would continue to receive food and medicine.
Jointly funded by the Coller Foundation and Israeli law firm Menmon Ltd., the Program was launched in 2018 at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law with a single academic course. It was then expanded to incorporate animal rights and welfare into the existing legal clinic on environmental issues.
Today, the Program includes academic courses and research fellowships, conferences, the Coller-Menmon Chair, and the Environmental Justice and Protection of Animals Rights (EJPAR) Legal Clinic. The clinic conducts research, informs policy-makers, litigates, enforces animal protection laws, and provides legal aid to NGOs and activists. Recently, students in the Program succeeded in reversing a national regulation that prohibited elderly people housed in public institutions to have companion animals.
In addition, the Coller-Menmon program supports the Law, Environmental and Animals Student Association, which runs awareness campaigns on campus.
"Bringing together research, education, and legal aid under one roof is essential in promoting animal rights and welfare, as well as addressing the overlap with environmental issues," says Attorney Amnon Keren, the Program Coordinator.
Kerem says that the Buchmann Faculty aims to grow the Program into an academic center in the coming years. In the meantime, thanks to increased support from the founding donors, two post-doctoral fellows in sociology and anthropology will join the program for the 2020-2021 academic year. Their research will address social perception of animals as a way to impact law and policy.