July 29, 2022

The Animals and Restorative Justice Symposium


The Animals and Restorative Justice Symposium will be hosted virtually on July 29, 2022, as a collaborative effort between Vermont Law School's Center for Justice Reform and Animal Law and Policy Institute, and University of San Francisco School of Law's Justice for Animals Program.

The goal of this event is to bring together practitioners, academics, service providers, researchers, and others who are considering the relationship between animal law and restorative justice. In recent years, animal law scholars and activists have critiqued punitive and retributive approaches to crimes against animals as unjust and ineffective. This symposium will explore methods of recognizing the harms inflicted on animal victims, rehabilitating offenders, and addressing deeper, structural causes of animal abuse.

For those involved in work dedicated to animal law/animal rights, there has been growing interest in learning more about the ways that restorative responses could be used as a way to address harm in a different, non-carceral approach. In addition, for those involved in work surrounding restorative justice and restorative practices, there has been a gap in attention given to the ways that harms involving animals are relevant and critically important to the field of restorative justice as a whole. The symposium will also explore the restorative capacities of the human-animal bond and whether animals should play a role in restorative justice beyond crimes against animals.  

During this symposium, there will be two 75-minute panel discussions (each panel will have three speakers), followed by smaller group discussions. The goal of the break-out discussions will be to share a variety of perspectives and experiences relevant to the intersection of animal law and restorative justice, and to consider further collaborations in this work. For those interested in continuing these collaborative efforts, there may be opportunities to form partnerships, co-author papers, or develop community programs.

Proposals will be accepted until May 27, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. (ET).