Posted by: Jarod Word on Jan 1, 2021

Journal Issue Date: Jan-Feb 2021

Journal Name: Vol. 57 No. 1

Nosey, a 38-year-old circus elephant, spent more than 30 years in captivity before being seized by authorities who found her living in squalor, showing signs of neglect and abuse. Nosey’s rescue was the culmination of a coordinated effort by law enforcement and attorney advocates to assure that she could spend her remaining days at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. 

In a recent program the Tennessee Bar Association Animal Law Section reassembled the team who saved Nosey, to detail a firsthand account of the legal battle surrounding the animal’s rescue, and to provide members with commentary on legal issues pertaining to animals in captivity. The virtual event was well attended by TBA members and others across the country, serving to increase the profile of both the section and bar.

Since being established in 2015, the Animal Law Section has quickly become one of the organization’s most progressive and dynamic groups, consistently providing unique educational programming such as this course to benefit its membership. A true affinity group, the section is not defined by a particular practice area, but embodies a group of lawyers in pursuit of justice for companion animals, farm animals and wildlife. Through strong leadership the group has successfully forged unique and unconventional partnerships beyond the legal community, allowing professionals of common interest to benefit from its learning opportunities as well.

Perhaps the most notable example of this section’s outreach has been providing veterinarians with approved continued education through TBA seminars. This unique concept was driven by Dr. Robert Simpson, a veterinarian and lawyer, who is vice chair of the Animal Law Section. He saw an opportunity for both sectors to learn aspects of animal health and advocacy to which they otherwise would not be exposed. 

“Like most professionals, veterinarians are required to obtain legal and regulatory continuing education,” Simpson said. “This uniquely positions the Animal Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association to provide cross discipline continuing education.”  

This hybrid learning will continue with the section’s upcoming Animal Law Forum, tentatively scheduled to take place at the Nashville Zoo on April 9. The program will bring together zoo leadership, conservationists and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, along with other animal welfare advocates to allow TBA members to enjoy the zoo while leaning and obtaining necessary CLE.

Jarod word is one of the TBA’s Section and CLE Coordinators.