State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section honors two law students with 2023 Wanda Nash Award

The Animal Law Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan  announces that the 2023 Wanda Nash Award will be presented to:

• Annie Sloan, Michigan Law School
• Rebecca Sutton, Michigan State University College of Law

The annual award recognizes graduating students from Michigan law schools who have had the most impact on animal law, based on nominations by law school professors. It was established in 2006 as a tribute to the Section's founder. Both Sutton and Sloan serve on the Animal Law Section Council this past year as their school’s law student representative.  

Sutton was nominated by Professor David Favre who called her “one of our best.” In addition to her animal law classes, during law school she interned for several national animal welfare organizations gaining varied and substantive experiences in research, writing, the regulatory system, litigation strategy, the politics/policy in issues from the protection of wildlife to puppy mills; was a leader in MSU’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, serving as president this past year with a priority on engagement with students who are less familiar with animal law through events geared toward more general audiences (including an event at a local cat café); planned the 2023 symposium for the Journal of Animal and Natural Resources Law, “The Cross-Section of Animal Law and the First Amendment,” as the journal’s Managing Editor, which included  securing participation of well-known experts in the field and moderating the virtual event. She has been volunteering for a Michigan-based animal law organization by compiling a spreadsheet of relevant federal regulatory actions for use in the organization’s monthly newsletter. Favre noted, “She is a top-rated student who is fully committed to the animal issues that Wanda cared about. Her high motivation for animals has resulted in several activities not normally engaged in by law students.”  

Sloan was nominated by Professors Andy Buchsbaum, Nicolas Cornell and William Novak. They cite her scholarship and her unwavering efforts to bring an animal law perspective to all her  endeavors; her development of the Michigan Law’s Food Equity & Ecological Diversity Society (FEEDSoc) reflecting her interest in food and environmental justice – which included the  successful campaign to have vegan offerings at law school functions; and her advocacy at the law school and campus-wide to stop the use of pesticides, rodenticides, and glue traps. She has interned for national organizations; and has co-written a proposal that has been selected for the Oxford Summer School of Animal Ethics in August 2023. She has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Journal of Law & Society, featuring scholarship at the intersection of law, history and social science.

“Annie has taken advantage of every animal-related opportunity that Michigan Law has had to offer and then pushed tirelessly beyond those,” said Cornell.  “I am continually impressed at how she continually explores and expands the role of law to improve the lives of animals,” Buchsbaum noted. “She is fully dedicated to this cause and works in each and every class she takes to get faculty and colleagues to consider animal law and animal rights perspectives and to try to change the way humans treat other animals,” Novak added.

Sloan will be honored on Friday, April 14, at the Cook Room, 903 Legal Research Building, 801 Monroe St. in Ann Arbor, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sutton will be honored on Thursday, May 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Eli Broad School of Business, 632 Bogue St. n520 in East Lansing. Each will receive a framed certificate and an honorarium. Both ceremonies will feature food and refreshments and will be available virtually to ensure maximum attendance.   

The Animal Law Section was founded in 1995 and is the first State Bar Section in the country focused on Animal Law.


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