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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. Her work has been featured by CNN, Fox News, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today, the Guardian, Science Magazine, and more. Vanessa 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, and recognized as 2022-2023 Adjunct Professor of the Year. 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.

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Speaking Engagements

Strategic Legal Battles in Animal Advocacy, The Animal & Vegan Advocacy Summit, Washington DC (May 18, 2024) 

Animals Need Lawyers: Litigation to Help Our Nonhuman Friends, Beverly Hills Bar Association, Virtual (March 18, 2024) 

Animal Law Podcast #105: Breaking the Rules?: Taxpayer-Funded Animal Research Outside the US, Our Hen House, Virtual (Feb. 28, 2024) 

On Balance, NewsNation (Nov. 10, 2023)

Animals in Harm’s Way: Legal Arguments and Hands-on Intervention, Animal Law Conference, Los Angeles (Oct. 21, 2023) 

Unconventional Approaches to Challenging Factory Farming, North American Animal Law Conference, University of Toronto (Sep. 29, 2023)

Advancing Law for Animals with Vanessa ShakibUniversity of Denver Sturm College of Law (Sep. 19, 2023) 

Factors Impacting Newsworthiness of Animal Welfare Litigation, Oxford Animal Ethics Summer School, University of Oxford (Aug. 9, 2023) 

Understanding & Combatting Animal Experimentation, The Animal & Vegan Advocacy Summit, Los Angeles (July 29, 2023) 

The Legal Battleground for Animals, Vegan Women Summit, New York City (May 19, 2023)

How I Became an Animal Lawyer, Plant Futures, Virtual (April 27, 2023) 

Inside Edition (April 14, 2023)

On Balance, NewsNation (April 7, 2023)

CNN Tonight, CNN (April 3, 2023)

The Girl and the Goat, KNX News (April 3, 2023)

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

Daily Mail, New California law would stop farm animals that win top county fair prizes from automatically being slaughtered for food (Feb. 23, 2024) (quoted)

The Orange County Register, Commute the death sentences for county fair animals in California? (Feb. 21, 2024) (quoted)

Sacramento Bee, ‘We got him.’ New court filings shed light on seizure and slaughter of Cedar the goat (Jan. 16, 2024) (quoted)

Sacramento Bee, Family sues over slaughter of pet goat by fair officials. Now, California AG suing them (Nov. 8, 2023) (quoted)

Los Angeles Daily News, LAPD horses provide ‘a different way of doing police work’ (July 11, 2023) (quoted)

Fox News, California mother sues cops after 'sham criminal pursuit' ends in slaughter of daughter's pet goat (April 4, 2023) (quoted)

The Washington Pos
t, A girl refused to sell her goat for slaughter. Then came law enforcement (April 3, 2023) (quoted)

Business Insider, A 9-year-old girl in California tried to save her beloved pet goat from a livestock auction. Then the police were called. (April 1,
2023) (quoted)

Los Angeles Times, A 9-year-old girl didn’t want her goat slaughtered. California fair officials sent deputies after it (March 30, 2023) (quoted)

Daily Mail, California girl, 9, sues state fair after her pet goat was sold and BARBECUED after her mom entered it for auction - and cops are sent hundreds of miles to retrieve it when family took it back (March 30, 2023) (quoted)

Sacramento Bee, California girl saved pet goat, search warrant followed (March 29, 2023) (quoted)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science Magazine, USDA settles animal care lawsuit (Jan. 29, 2021) 

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

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

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

Courthouse News Service, Covid Cockfights (Aug. 26, 2020)

Daily Trojan, Laboratory animal abuse lawsuit against University to continue (March 1, 2020) 

Patch, Lawsuit Accusing USC Of Animal Abuse Can Proceed, Judge Rules (Feb. 28, 2020)
USC Annenberg Media, USC lawyers dispute animal abuse case (Feb. 27, 2020) (quoted)

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

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

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

Patch, USC Sued, Accused of Abusive Animal Research (June 25, 2019) 

KFI AM 640, University Accused of Abusive Animal Research (June 25, 2019) 

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