In keeping with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ new focus in 2020 — particularly in mentoring individuals and organizations — Alliance President Jane Hoffman guest lectured a law class at NYU School of Law on February 5, 2020, at the invitation of Professor Mariann Sullivan. The class discussion focused on policy. Jane described how lawyers can help shape policy for the benefit of animals and further, how lawyers can go beyond creating and advocating for animal-friendly laws and help shape public opinion.
Jane presented examples of policies that began with the Alliance’s strategic plan and the initiatives outlined in the plan that fueled the steady decrease in euthanasia at NYC’s animal control shelters and the resulting rise in the live release rate since 2003. One of the Alliance’s core programs examined by the class was the NYC Feral Cat Initiative. That program helped to usher in policy changes in the way stray and community cats are treated in New York City and contributed to the passage of Local Law 59, which provides protections for community cats and their human caretakers.
For many years, Jane has encouraged young lawyers to become members of Animal Law Committees in their communities and, where no Animal Law Committee exists, to start one with their local Bar Association. As early as 2002, Jane presented a lecture on The Role of Bar Associations in the Development of Animal Law at the UCLA School of Law. She is a Founding Member and former Secretary and Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee, the first of its kind in the United States, and was awarded the inaugural Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award from the American Bar Association (ABA) TIPS section at the ABA Annual Conference held in San Francisco in 2007. Earlier this year, Jane was awarded the SEEDS Award by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR). This newly created award honors individuals and not-for-profit entities that have made exceptional contributions to the important and burgeoning field of Animal Law.
As a result of Jane’s class lecture in February, she subsequently met with one of the law students from the class and encouraged her to become a student member of the Animal Law Committee. Additionally, Jane will introduce her to other leaders in the field of animal welfare who can continue to act as mentors.