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Indian champion of animal rights

20 May 2008

Indian champion of animal rights

A prominent Indian lawyer and advocate for the rights of wild and domesticated animals will be speaking in Auckland in early June.

Raj Panjwani has dedicated his career to preventing cruelty to animals used for food production, entertainment, hunting and research.

Over the past 25 years he has advocated on behalf of animals such as turtles, antelope, tigers, deer, goats, buffalo and bears.

Mr Panjwani’s notable Supreme and High Court successes in India include:
• Banning the use of tigers, lions, panthers, bears and monkeys in circuses.
• Obtaining a right of choice for school students opposed to dissection and experiments on animals.
• Securing the imprisonment of Sansar Chand, one of India’s most notorious wildlife criminals.
• Acquiring the mandatory labelling of animal-derived food products.
• Defending a legal challenge by traders seeking to reinstate the trade in ivory and the fur and skins of endangered animals.

In 2002 the Supreme Court of India Bar Association acknowledged his efforts by awarding him a citation for “Adding knowledge to the practice of law”.

At The University of Auckland’s Law Faculty he will deliver a public lecture on the current state of animal protection in India and the implications of the global expansion of agribusiness for farm animals.

His visit to Auckland, his only stop in New Zealand, will mark the end of a ten-day speaking tour organised and sponsored by Voiceless, the fund for animals, that is taking Mr Panjwani first to leading law schools in Australia.

India is a nation that is largely committed to the principle of non-violence, says Mr Panjwani. “It also has possibly the largest vegetarian population. Despite this, animals in India continue to suffer enormously and in staggering numbers even though the Constitution mandates that every citizen have compassion towards all living creatures."

Mr Panjwani’s lecture will provide a rare insight for lawyers and non-lawyers alike into the cutting-edge field of animal law, says Peter Sankoff who teaches an animals and the law course at the Auckland Law School.

“Relying on the notion of compassion for animals, Mr Panjwani has over the last two decades continually broken new ground for animals in the courtroom, working as legal counsel for India's major environmental and animal protection organisations.”

What: “Animal law talk: An Indian perspective”. Public lecture by Raj Panjwani, hosted by the Faculty of Law and the Animal Rights Legal Advocacy Network (ARLAN)
Date: Tuesday 3 June 2008
Time: 7-8.30pm
Venue: Stone lecture Theatre, Faculty of Law, 17 Eden Crescent. The lecture is free and open to the public.




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