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For Poco. . .

By on May 30, 2014

Written by Rachel Sekine, third year law student I think I can speak for us all when I say I can’t believe our time in Kenya is coming to an end.  Today,   we had our final meetings for our trip at Ol Pejeta, a wildlife conservancy of over 90,000 acres.  Apart from Kenya’s 27 national parks, 31 national reserves, and 8 sanctuaries, Kenya has over 142 wildlife conservancies.  In the past, national parks, reserves, and sanctuaries had legal protocols to follow, while conservancies did not.  Local people set up conservancies on their own as communities voluntarily set aside land for wildlife.  Over time, conservancies vastly outnumbered the governmental land specifically set aside for wildlife.  The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act has evolved to include legal standards for these conservancies, which include licensing and management requirements. As a conservancy, Ol...

Impala: The Other White Meat?

By on May 27, 2014

Written by Angie Ostrowski, 3rd year law student When people talk about poaching in Kenya, they are usually referring to elephant tusks and rhino horns. While these are extremely important issues, there is also the lesser-known poaching issue of bush meat. Although there is less of a focus on bush meat, it is still important from the perspective of animal welfare and public health. The bush meat trade involves poachers setting traps, typically wire snares, in the bush to catch whatever animals happen to walk by. The traps catch zebra, eland, impala, warthogs, and even giraffe. The bush meat is then sold for public consumption and is in demand because it costs a fraction of the price of traditional forms of meat. Animal welfare issues arise from the animals suffering painful deaths when the wire tightens around their necks and crushes them. Public health issues arise because no research...

Driven to Help Animals

By on May 26, 2014

Written by Meg York, third year law student Twende! Let’s go! Our excitement was palpable. Our eyes scanned for animals the second we passed through the main gate of Nairobi National Park. Sam couldn’t help but chuckle at our enthusiasm, slowing the Land Cruiser each time any of us thought we saw something. Shortly after entering the park, we stopped to spend time at the Ivory Burning site where Kenya burned its stockpile in 1989. Ashes and tusk bits formed a large mound in the center of a fire pit—a memoriam to lives lost and a hope for the future. We piled back into the vehicle, kicked off our dress shoes, and stood on the Cruiser’s seats, poking our heads through openings in the roof. From our roof-top vantage point, the park looked alive. Sunlight reflected off the sand-colored grass, punctuated by intermittent dark areas like the body of a giraffe. At the end of the expanse rose...

Making a Difference for Animals

By on May 24, 2014

Written by David Rosengard, 3rd year law student   “What do you want to make?” This is the question WachiraKariuki, the staff attorney for Africa Network for Animal Welfare asks the group of Riara University law students who have gathered to learn about animal law from the Kenya Legal Project team. The question, however, resonates throughout our time in Kenya. While here, I have met magistrates, members of Kenya’s Judicial Training Institute, and attorneys with the Director of Public Prosecution’s office, all committed to building a system that effectively secures justice for humans and animals. I know of no society that has fully realized the aspirational goal which is justice, but rather than causing despair, this realization—combined with the example of the committed lawyers, students, and animal advocates I have met through the Kenya Legal Project—inspires fervent hope. That...

The Judicial Impact on Kenyan Law Enforcement

By on May 23, 2014

Written by Denise Luk, Portland based animal attorney As of 18 months ago, the Kenyan judicial system has 600,000 cases pending. If we look at the courts’ clearance rates, it will take six years to get through this backlog. That is, assuming no new cases are filed. The numbers are daunting – 98% of cases are settled in the U.S. compared to 8% in Kenya. Unfortunately, defendants have no incentive to settle when they can wait 6+ years for the High Court to hear their case and in the meantime hope the complainant will drop the lawsuit. We met with the Director of the Judicial Training Institute and learned that these are just some of the issues Kenya’s judiciary is grappling with after the country’s new Constitution passed in 2010. Earlier in the day, we were invited to sit in on a morning session of criminal plea hearings at Makadara Court. The Chief Magistrate...

Asia is the Key

By on May 22, 2014

Written by Moe Honjo, Animal Law LL.M. student What can Asia do to stop poaching in Kenya? Being from Japan, this was my first question coming into the Kenya Legal Project.  And, each day in Kenya, I receive input and answers from wildlife experts and those actively involved. For instance, 30 pages of my little notebook are filled with possible answers after meeting with prosecutors assigned to Kenya’s wildlife crime unit. On May 20, 2014, we, as part of the Kenya Legal Project, visited the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), in order to learn about the successes and challenges of prosecuting wildlife crimes. It was fascinating to know that the Kenyan government has a long history of wildlife conservation with a ban of sport hunting, and is continuing to improve on the recently amended Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013. In addition, what interested me the...

Combating Animal Cruelty in Kenya

By on May 21, 2014

Written by Juli Zagrans, Animal Law LL.M. student “She has a broken jaw,” a veterinarian told me about my newest foster dog.  I was shocked.  Hollyberry, whom I fostered through Chicago-based dog rescue One Tail at a Time while earning my J.D., was a puppy mill survivor.  In addition to her broken jaw, which the vet determined was caused by a lack of proper nutrition and medical care for this six-year-old Maltese’s entire life, she also needed all but three of her teeth extracted due to the extreme neglect she had endured at the hands of her owner. Hollyberry’s case did not go to trial.  No one was charged with animal cruelty or neglect, and no one was held legally, financially, or morally responsible for her years of pain and suffering.  One Tail at a Time incurred the costs of her abuse and provided Hollyberry the medical and emotional attention she never received — and so...

38 Orphans

By on May 19, 2014

Written by Christina Kraemer, Animal Law LL.M. student Asante sana. This phrase means ‘thank you very much’ in Kiswahili and it was one of the first phrases we learned upon arriving in Kenya. It could not be more appropriate as I reflect on how thankful I am to be a part of the Kenya Legal Project and for the hospitality from our wonderful hosts. I was born in Kenya when my parents were serving in the Peace Corps and it has been a life long dream of mine to return. My passion for wildlife began in Kenya and grew throughout my work at Lewis & Clark. While pursuing my Animal Law LL.M., I harnessed this passion focusing on legal issues relating to wildlife. In the Animal Law Clinic, I conducted research for the Kenya Legal Project by reviewing Kenyan laws relating to anti-cruelty and wildlife protection. In addition to my clinical work, I completed my LL.M Thesis on President Obama’s...