Animal related

Animal Legal Defense Fund

  • Cotati, CA
  • www.aldf.org

Mission Statement

ALDF's mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.

Main Programs

  1. Animal Law Program
  2. Litigation Program
  3. Criminal Justice Program

service areas

International

Self-reported by organization

ruling year

1980

chief executive for fy 2007

Mr. Steve Wells

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

Animal Rights, Animal Protection, Animal Welfare, Legal Protection for Animals, Animal Law, Animal rights law, animal advocacy

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

94-2681680

Also Known As

ALDF

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (D01)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

Lasting change can only come when the law reflects what most of us already know – that abusing any animal is wrong and that animals are not merely property, but living beings capable of suffering and a wide range of emotions. As the only organization specifically focused on animal law, the Animal Legal Defense Fund brings unparalleled legal expertise to the struggle for animal rights. U.S. state and federal laws relegate animals to the status of property, despite what we know about animal intelligence and the rich emotional lives they lead. ALDF envisions a world where the lives and interests of animals are fully safeguarded by the legal system. For more than 35 years, ALDF has been fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests. Unlike many other animal protection groups, ALDF focuses on helping all animals through the legal system.

Programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Animal Law Program

As part of its focus on animal law, the Animal Legal Defense Fund works to cultivate the next generation of animal lawyers. We do this through our Animal Law Program (ALP), which works closely with law students and law professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. Moving toward the day when animal law is part of the curriculum at each and every law school, the Animal Law Program collaborates with students, faculty, and school administrations to facilitate the development of animal law courses and assists students in forming Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapters.

A secondary goal of having animal law taught throughout the country is ensuring all lawyers have a strong understanding of the field, which will inform their practice in whatever area of law they build a career.

Category

Animal-Related

Budget

781,046

Population Served

Adults

Program 2

Litigation Program

The Animal Legal Defense Fund's (ALDF) Litigation Program ensures the filing of, and where appropriate the appearance of ALDF as a litigant in, civil cases in primarily domestic venues that develop – rather than simply apply – the law to significantly (1) improve animal welfare, (2) ensure greater animal autonomy, (3) generate the legal recognition of animals as interest-bearing entities who generate duties on humans, and (4) eradicate specific practices involving animals (e.g., the mutilation of farmed animals).

Category

Animal-Related

Budget

4,229,658

Population Served

Adults

Program 3

Criminal Justice Program

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program (CJP) is staffed by attorneys, including former prosecutors, with substantial practical experience in prosecuting animal crimes. Our attorneys provide free legal assistance to prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to ensure that state criminal anti-cruelty statutes are vigorously enforced and that those convicted of animal cruelty and neglect receive appropriate sentences.

Category

Animal-Related

Budget

Population Served

Adults

Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

Self-reported by organization

1. Number of animal cruelty cases where ALDF provided direct assistance to prosecutors and law enforcement officers

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Criminal Justice Program
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

2. Number of Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapters in the U.S. and Canada

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Animal Law Program
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

3. Number of civil litigation matters handled

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Litigation Program
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The goal of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. We use the full force of the law to ensure animals everywhere receive the justice they deserve.

    ALDF was born of a bold vision: that one day the interests and legal rights of animals – in laboratories, on factory farms, in the wild, and in our own homes – would be recognized and protected by law. Since then, ALDF has blazed the trail for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals in every corner of American life.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Every day, ALDF works to protect animals by:

    • Filing groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse and expand the boundaries of animal law.
    • Providing free legal assistance to prosecutors handling cruelty cases.
    • Working to strengthen state anti-cruelty statutes.
    • Encouraging the federal government to enforce existing animal protection laws.
    • Nurturing the future of animal law through Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapters and our Animal Law Program.
    • Providing public education through seminars, workshops and other outreach efforts.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is the preeminent legal advocate for the protection of animals. Since 1979, ALDF's unique mission has been to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. We use the full force of the law to ensure animals everywhere receive the justice they deserve. From small town cruelty cases to lawsuits against the federal government, we may be the only lawyers on earth whose clients are innocent.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Our performance indicators are quite simple. We measure our progress based on the number of victories we win in the case against animal cruelty.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    It has been over thirty five extraordinary years since the founding of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. In that time, we have helped establish greater protections for companion animals through the nation's first mandatory animal abuser registries, filed friend of the court briefs in animal custody disputes, assisted in the recovery of adequate damages for wrongfully killed companion animals, helped change the law to establish trusts for the care of beloved animals in our lives, and accomplished many other things. For example, in one of the largest civil animal cruelty cases in history, ALDF v. Woodley, we won a landmark victory for animals and were awarded custody of over 300 dogs rescued from nightmarish conditions from North Carolina dog hoarders.

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund has also stopped hunts of bears and mountain lions as well as the violent removal of burros from federal lands. We have tackled such diverse topics as challenges to the intensive confinement of farmed animals and the “patenting" of genetically altered animals, as well as cases under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and federal Animal Welfare Act. From our earliest cases, saving more than 5,000 wild burros from certain death and stopping the importation of 71,500 monkeys for use in laboratory experiments, to our most recent victories freeing Ben the Bear from a roadside zoo, advancing our case to free Tony the Tiger from a truck stop in Louisiana, and helping to shut down the cruel California-based Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Inc., the Animal Legal Defense Fund is winning the case against animal cruelty.

    The fundamental problem facing animals in the U.S. is that the law often considers them merely property, in many cases no different than inanimate objects like tables and chairs. Only in the past few decades have vile acts against animals become felonies, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been central to such improvements. Yet, in some states, no matter how badly an animal is abused or harmed, animal abusers cannot be charged with a felony. Even when protective laws do exist, they are often insufficient, rife with loopholes, and inadequately enforced. For example, the federal Animal Welfare Act—the primary law governing the use of animals in laboratory experiments explicitly excludes birds, rats, and mice, even though they account for nearly 95% of animals used in laboratories. In addition, no federal laws protect the billions of farmed animals in the U.S. from egregious abuses on factory farms.

    In these ways, the justice system does not reflect the true values of society. This is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund focuses its animal protection work exclusively on the legal system and it is essential that ALDF's critical work continue. Truly, today's state of affairs for animals is dire—and ALDF is needed to win the case against animal cruelty.

service areas

International

Self-reported by organization

Blog

The organization's Blog

Social Media

@AnimalLegalDefenseFund

@ALDF

@ALDFstaff

@ALDF/

photos




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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Animal Legal Defense Fund Inc
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR

Mr. Steve Wells

BIO

Stephen Wells is the executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. For six years (until 2006), Steve founded and served as the director of ALDF's successful Animal Law Program, which provides support and resources to ALDF's law professional and law student members and pro bono opportunities for attorneys and firms to assist ALDF with its mission.

At the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Steve saw an opportunity to expand into law schools and involve attorneys directly, providing additional resources and pro bono connections. He helped stop wild animal trainers in Los Angeles from abusing primates in a landmark lawsuit. He helped to set up a sanctuary for hundreds of animals in the infamous North Carolina Woodley hoarding case. Steve has also raised significant funds to create the ALDF Fellowship program and helps ALDF fund an expanding vision for the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School.

When Steve started, ALDF had no litigation staff–so he created an in-house litigation program which, with the help of his new litigation director, Carter Dillard, allowed ALDF to quadruple its caseload. Steve expanded the Animal Law Program and helped to exponentially expand the student chapters (SALDF) of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

As the leader at ALDF, Steve has been interviewed by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and ESPN.

Steve has created a highly efficient, passionate, and talented team at ALDF. As he says, it is his job to create an environment where egos are out the door and everyone works together for one end–to end the exploitation and suffering of animals. And that is just what he has done. He lives in the western woodlands of Sonoma County, California with his dog, Eve.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Sarah Luick

Massachusetts state Administrative Law Judge

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?