Lewis & Clark sponsors animal law training in Zimbabwe

Lewis & Clark Law School continues its efforts to help protect animals in nations where they are particularly threatened.

The Portland school's Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS)  was again the principal sponsor of the third animal law training session organized by the Zimbabwean nonprofit, Speak Out for Animals (SOFA), which was held in Harare, Zimbabwe. Natasha Dolezal, director of the International Animal Law Program, represented CALS and spoke about animal law in the United States.

Dolezal also collaborated with Ever Vimbai Chinoda (Lewis & Clark Law School ’17 LL.M. and SOFA Founder) to secure the participation of Ed Newcomer, senior special agent for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Newcomer serves as the Wildlife Law Enforcement Attaché and senior USFWS representative in Southern Africa. In this capacity, he provides investigative and enforcement assistance to Southern African nations in regards to poaching and wildlife trafficking. His participation in the training provided attendees with both hands on expertise and critical U.S. support for ongoing and future wildlife cases.

While CALS has sponsored all three animal law trainings in Zimbabwe, this year’s training was the first to focus exclusively on prosecutors and the important role they play combating crimes against animals. As former U.S. prosecutors, both Dolezal and Newcomer were able to share their perspectives and understanding of the challenges facing successful prosecutions of animal crimes. Many of the prosecutors in the training spoke about the lack of awareness regarding the laws pertaining to crimes against animals, as well as the limited support from law enforcement investigating these cases.

Overall, the importance of animal law is gaining traction in Zimbabwe through the work of advocates of SOFA, prosecutors, and rangers. Through this training, Dolezal had the opportunity to meet and speak to prosecutors about the opportunity to study animal law in depth through Lewis & Clark’s Animal Law LL.M. Program. In that vein, CALS looks forward to welcoming even more passionate and dedicated Zimbabwean attorneys as the school continue to educate the next generation of animal law attorneys.