The Animal Defenders Office (ADO) was incorporated five years ago by a group of lawyers specialising in animal law.
Last month, the group confirmed that it had received accreditation from the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC), the first such CLC in the ACT and NSW to specialise in animal law. The national accreditation scheme recognises good practice in the delivery of community legal services.
In a statement posted to the ADO’s website, the group described its accreditation as a milestone moment and thanked the ongoing help of volunteers and supporters to realise the goal.
“In an exciting development for animal law in Australia, the ADO has been awarded accreditation by the Australian National Association of Community Legal Centres,” the group said.
“This is a massive milestone for our small, independent, volunteer-run organisation. Formal certification will enable us to continue giving animals a voice from ‘within’ the system.”
Based in the ACT but also servicing matters nationally, the now accredited community legal centre is dedicated to helping wildlife, domestic and farm animals with the law. Law reform to advance animal interests in Australia is a key part of the group’s work, made possible by volunteer lawyers and law students.
According to the ADO’s own mission statement, it is committed to community education about the issue of animal protection as well as awareness-raising campaigns.
“The mission of the ADO is to use the law to protect animals. This includes assisting individuals and groups to secure animal interests through existing legal mechanisms, increasing public awareness of animal protection matters, and working to advance animal interests through law reform.
The ADO also provides free advice and legal representation for individuals and groups acting on behalf of animal creatures. One of its core values is recognition and respect for the “inherent value of all individual sentient creatures”.
The value is articulated by the now accredited CLC with the following: “The ADO strives to protect sentient animals regardless of their species, numbers or legal status.”