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Vanessa Shakib

Attorney and Animal Advocate

About Vanessa

Vanessa is an expert in animal law, government accountability, and illegal business practices. She co-founded and co-directs Advancing Law for Animals, a non-profit law firm for our non-human friends. There, she develops impact litigation to further the interests of animals exploited in research and industrial food production. Vanessa is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School. She regularly presents talks as an invited expert in animal law both nationally and abroad.


Prior to animal law, Vanessa specialized in illegal taxation, consumer protection, and inverse condemnation, among other practice areas. Her track record in government oversight informs her work at Advancing Law for Animals, where she has successfully challenged cruel and illegally-promulgated regulations at the federal level, and lack of animal-welfare enforcement at the local level. Vanessa continues to consult on a variety of legal matters through her private practice, Shakib Law, PC.

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Speaking Engagements

Animal Agriculture’s Environmental Issues, UC Davis School of Law, Virtual (Feb. 24, 2022)

New Lawsuit Says NIH Illegally Skips Foreign Animal Lab Oversight, VoiceAmerica Influencers, Virtual (Feb. 7, 2022)


Cultivating a Career in Animal Law, Advancing Law for Animals, Virtual (Nov. 16, 2021)

U.S. Laws and the Ongoing Risk of Zoonotic Diseases, Animal Legal Defense Fund Animal Law Symposium, Virtual (April 24, 2021)

Advancing Law for Animals versus the USDA with Vanessa Shakib, The VedgeTalk Podcast, Virtual (April 11, 2021)

Animal Law Podcast #70: The Case of the “Teachable Moments,” Our Hen House, Virtual (March 31, 2021)

Non-Human Primates in Laboratories and the Law, Guest Lecture, Marymount University, Virtual (Feb. 11, 2021)

Activist Defense, Animal Legal Defense Fund Animal Law Symposium, Los Angeles, California (TBD; rescheduled due to COVID-19)


The Intersectionality of our Values and Forward Thinking Movements, Vegan Fashion Week, The Future of Fashion, Los Angeles, California (October 2019) 


U.S. Legal Trends Impacting Animals, International Animal Rights Conference, Luxembourg (September 2019)


Strategies for Defeating the Use of Animals in Science, Animal Rights National Conference, Washington DC (July 2019)

Animal Justice and Human Rights, UCLA Law Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Liberation Lawyering, Los Angeles, California (March 2019)

In the News

USA Today, A family tried to save their auctioned goat from slaughter. Now they are suing police who took it (Sep. 3, 2022) (covering Vanessa's work)

New York Times, A Fair Auctioned a Beloved Goat. Its Owners Filed a Federal Lawsuit (Sep. 2, 2022) (covering Vanessa's work)

The Guardian, A girl wanted to keep the goat she raised for a county fair. They chose to kill it (Sep. 2, 2022) (covering Vanessa's work)

Sacramento Bee, A California girl wanted to keep her baby goat alive. Her county fair killed it anyway (Sep. 1, 2022) (covering Vanessa's work)

KRCR ABC 7, Lawsuit claims Shasta County officers drove 500 miles to seize goat for slaughter (Aug. 31, 2011) (covering Vanessa's work)

Lady FreeThinker, New Lawsuit Seeks Protections for Animals in Foreign Labs Using American Taxpayer Dollars (Jan. 12, 2022) (quoting Vanessa)

One Green Planet, White Coat Waste to Sue NIH Over Foreign Animal Experiments (Jan. 5, 2022) (covering Vanessa's work)

Lady FreeThinker, Making Legal Waves for Animals is a Guiding Light for Attorney Vanessa Shakib (Aug. 24, 2021) (featuring Vanessa)

WildEarth Guardians Wild at Heart, Vanessa Shakib and Advancing Law for Animals (Spring 2021) (featuring Vanessa)

World Animal News, USDA Settles with Animal Watchdog Groups, Ensuring Stricter Enforcement Against Puppy Mills & Research Labs in the United States (March 22, 2021) (quoting Vanessa)

Science Magazine, USDA settles animal care lawsuit (Jan. 29, 2021) (covering Vanessa's work)

Monterey County Weekly, Animal welfare groups successfully sue the county to enforce its own cockfighting ordinance (Jan. 11, 2021) (quoting Vanessa)

Voices of Monterey Bay, Quieting the Rooster Chorus, Monterey County to start enforcing cock-raising rules (Jan. 10, 2021) (covering Vanessa's work)

The Californian, Cockfights focus of lawsuit against Monterey County (Sep. 4, 2020) (quoting Vanessa)

Courthouse News Service, Covid Cockfights (Aug. 26, 2020) (covering Vanessa's work) 

Daily Trojan, Laboratory animal abuse lawsuit against University to continue (March 1, 2020) (covering Vanessa's work)

Patch, Lawsuit Accusing USC Of Animal Abuse Can Proceed, Judge Rules (Feb. 28, 2020) (covering Vanessa's work)
USC Annenberg Media, USC lawyers dispute animal abuse case (Feb. 27, 2020) (quoting Vanessa) 

VegNews, Lawsuit Filed Against USC for Abusing Animals  (July 19 2019) (quoting Vanessa)

KMOX NewsRadio 1120, Missouri animal rights group sues USDA over handling of puppy mills (July 16, 2019) (covering Vanessa's work)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri animal welfare group says USDA broke the law to weaken dog kennel enforcement (July 16, 2019) (covering Vanessa's work)

Patch, USC Sued, Accused of Abusive Animal Research (June 25, 2019) (covering Vanessa's work)

KFI AM 640, University Accused of Abusive Animal Research (June 25, 2019) (covering Vanessa's work)

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