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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Activities & Organizations

Law students fundraise for Australia fire relief


After the massive effects of the Australian wildfires, the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at the UH Law Center is taking action with a fundraiser for relief.

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

With more than 16 million Australian acres set ablaze in the country’s recent series of fires, students at the Law Center have decided to take action.

The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at the Law Center will fundraise for the next two weeks to help combat consequences of the fires in Australia. These funds will go toward wildlife rescues in the heart of some of the country’s fiercest flames. 

“As you may know, over a billion animals across Australia have been affected by the wildfires since September, and the fires are still burning,”  said SALDF President and third-year law student Emily Seaman. “SALDF will be fundraising for the next two weeks to raise money to support wildlife rescues in Australia that have been assisting wildlife during the brushfires.”

The group will be selling Australian flag Pura Vida bracelets and koala pencil toppers, with all proceeds going to the animal rescue fund in New South Wales, the Australian state that has suffered the worst from the inferno.

SALDF is a student chapter of the nation’s larger Animal Legal Defense Fund. The fund offers a variety of resources to help legally protect the interests of animals across the country and the globe. 

After hearing of the group’s fundraising campaign, first-year law student Youssef Abdelhafiz said he is glad people are taking action.

“I really think they’re doing a great job,” Abdelhafiz said. “I think law students and people in general can get caught up in their own lives, and we can forget about literal atrocities that are happening right now on the other side of the globe.”

Seaman said they believe that anyone can make a difference in our world regardless of how small they think it may be. Whether that means helping out during natural disasters like the fires in Australia or building a more sustainable future.

“Everything has an impact; we’re all connected,” Seaman said. “Global warming is real. The world is literally burning. You may think, ‘We’re all the way over here, it’s not our problem,’ but a lot of species in (danger) are exclusively in Australia. If they’re lost, they’re lost for the whole world.” 

The group will be tabling in the Law Center through the next week. Donations can be coordinated with Emily Seaman at [email protected]central.uh.edu, or directly to the group’s Venmo account using @UHLCSALDF.

The orginial SALDF had been dormant for about ten years. Then two years ago, Seaman and her friends’ passion for animal advocacy caused them to recharter the group after they realized there was no organization at the Law Center that focused around animal rights.

SALDF assists in high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm. They provide free legal assistance and training to prosecutors in their fight against animal cruelty, support animal protection legislation and more.

The group encourages students from around the country to bond together in their own chapter, and with over 200 chapters around the country, it’s one of the largest student-based animal rights groups in the world.

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