CITES Treaty: Big Cats

The CITES treaty, the most significant treaty addressing the commercial trade in endangered species of animals and plants, is due to be updates in 2019. The fates of many animal and plant species are affected by these decisions and those effects are felt worldwide, particularly with larger animals. This panel will discuss what we can expect to see added to the endangered species lists, how those additions and subtractions are determined and, in larger scope, how big cats like lions and tigers are affected by these decisions.

  • Carney Anne Nasser, ADLF and Director of Michigan State Animal Law Clinic

Carney Anne Nasser, one of New Orleans Magazine’s Top Female Achievers for 2016, is the Director of the Animal Welfare Clinic at Michigan State University College of Law and is reportedly only one of two full time animal law professors in the world. MSU’s Animal Welfare Clinic is only one of five active animal law clinics in the country. Professor Nasser has cultivated professional expertise in litigation, regulatory matters, legislative/policy, lobbying, and trends in animal law in her more than 14 years of practice, and now supervises law students in the dynamic, multi-disciplinary, and rapidly-developing field of animal law. 3B6023FF-3F2E-4B88-A4E5-2314F35C3451 - Carney Anne NasserPrior to her role at MSU, Professor Nasser worked in the non-profit sector, where she served as Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement at the PETA Foundation, and previously as senior attorney for wildlife and regulatory affairs at the Animal Legal Defense Fund.  Professor Nasser is published on the topics of the federal Endangered Species Act and Animal Welfare Act and has extensive experience strategizing and deploying creative legal strategies to ameliorate the exploitation of big cats, elephants, bears, primate, orcas, and other exotic and/or endangered animals. Professor Nasser has played a key role in the rescue of nearly two dozen exotic animals, who are now thriving in reputable sanctuaries. An internationally recognized expert on laws impacting big cats and wildlife trafficking, Nasser represented the Animal Legal Defense Fund at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) seventeenth meeting of the parties in South Africa in 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in 2016; and has been approved again by the United States government to contribute testimony at the eighteenth meeting CITES treaty parties when they meet in Sri Lanka in May 2019. Professor Nasser holds a B.A. in political science from U.C. San Diego, a J.D. from Tulane University (2003), and a graduate degree in community advocacy from the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. She is a recognized speaker on the national and international circuit and has served as a media spokesperson on a wide range of animal protection issues, including contributions to National Geographic, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times; as well as appearances on CNN and on NBC’s nationally syndicated Today Show.

  • Julia Breaux – The Humane Society US

Julia was hired to work for HSUS, the largest animal protection organization in the United States, in 2007 and has risen through the ranks to become the Senior State Director for Louisiana and Mississippi. In her role, Julia combines her love of politics with her passion for helping all animals to live more humane lives. At HSUS, Julia works on animal welfare issues on a national scale. The organization recognizes that prevention of cruelty can only be achieved by confronting issues with the human and animal relationship. Julia has proposed and passed numerous animal protection bills into state law, including creating first offense felony level penalties for participating in cockfighting, updating the Animal Cruelty Code to include psychological counseling for those found guilty, and making it a felony to be a spectator at a dogfight.  Legislative lobbying is a big part of what Julia does for HSUS, but she also has a hand in rescue efforts, direct care, public awareness, education, and corporate reform. Julia-Breaux-Melancon-Community-Connect-Client-Witry-Collective-768x768.jpgTo enable community members in both Louisiana and Mississippi to become more involved, Julia has developed a State Council and District Leader program where members can become more involved in their particular animal issue passion projects.  Currently, Julia and HSUS are fighting for stronger policies in Louisiana against the sexual abuse of animals. According to the HSUS website, Governor John Bel Edwards, D-Louisiana signed S.B. 236 into effect, a bill that will strengthen the laws against the sexual abuse of animals. It’s hard to imagine that, in this day and age, laws prohibiting this type of abuse do not exist in all 50 states. Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. do not currently have similar statutes. This is a clear example of how policy needs change! We are inspired by all the work Julia does to protect animals. She truly is an inspiration and a voice for so many creatures that are unable to advocate for themselves.

  • Machelle Hall, Tulane Environmental Law Clinic 

Machelle Lee Hall received her JD from Tulane University Law School where she was the Editor in Chief of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal, her MA from Central European University, and her BA from Hamline University.  mhall_webMs. Hall worked at F. Gerald Maples, PA in New Orleans for 4 years, where she represented clients in the Comer global warming, Miss. River Gulf Outlet takings, Murphy oil spill, CAPECO oil facility explosion, and various toxic tort, commercial litigation and other cases.  Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Hall was a consulting archaeologist performing cultural resource and environmental compliance for highway, pipeline, commercial construction, superfund and other development and mitigation projects in the Upper Midwest and Gulf Coast states.  Ms. Hall also volunteers for the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council, New Orleans Association for Women Attorneys, Louisiana SPCA, and Linda Bruneau Regional Breast Cancer Association.