Posted September 5, 2013

On October 10, 2013 from 12 – 1 p.m. (CDT), the National Agricultural Law Center and the American Agricultural Law Association will co-sponsor a webinar, “Enforcing Animal Welfare Statutes:  Whose Job Is It, Anyway?”  The presentation is designed to be useful to anyone — attorneys, lobbyists, policymakers, cooperative extension service professionals, producers, and others — with an interest in the enforcement of animal welfare laws in the United States.  The webinar is the first in a series of several upcoming continuing legal education credit webinars provided by the National Agricultural Law Center.


For additional information and registration, visit the National Agricultural Law Center website here.

The program has been approved for Continuing Legal Education credit in Arkansas.  For attorneys outside the state of Arkansas, the National Agricultural Law Center will happily provide any needed documentation or materials necessary for a non-Arkansas attorney to obtain Continuing Legal Education in their respective state.  For any assistance needed in this regard, please contact Rusty Rumley at

Authority to enforce animal welfare laws has been delegated to private citizens involved with humane organizations since the 1880s, when the majority of those statutes were originally passed. Currently, over half of the states and the District of Columbia grant some form of law enforcement power to members or officers of humane societies. The authority ranges from the power to arrest to the ability to seize and destroy private property. In some cases, it includes the right to carry a firearm– even, in one state, as a convicted felon– while engaging in law enforcement activities.
After a brief history of the statutory scheme, this presentation will discuss the states that delegate authority to private citizens involved in humane societies, the specific authority that is given to these individuals and an overview of liability concerns that may present themselves as a result of the delegation.


Elizabeth Rumley is a staff attorney at the National Agricultural Law Center, where her primary focus is on legal issues in animal agriculture, and she frequently lectures on those issues and others to audiences nationwide.  Her article, A Proposal to Regulate Farm Animal Confinement in the United States and an Overview of Current and Proposed Laws appeared in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law (14 Drake J. Agric. L. 437 (Fall, 2009)) and she co-wrote an article titled, Enforcing Animal Welfare Statutes: In Many States, It’s Still the Wild West, which appeared in the San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review (21 San Joaquin Agric. L. Rev. 21 (2012).

Mrs. Rumley is an adjunct faculty member in the  University of Arkansas’ Center of  Excellence for Poultry ScienceAnimal Science Department, and the Agricultural  Economics and Agribusiness Department in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences.  Further, Mrs. Rumley works closely with and is on the advisory board of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Center for Food Animal Well-Being.  Additionally, she has co-taught a course titled “Animals and Agricultural Production, Law and Policy” several times at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and most recently at the University of Nebraska College of Law, has developed and teaches a course on legal issues in animal agriculture through the Dale Bumpers College of  Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas. She also teaches a course on agriculture and the environment, also through the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.


The National Agricultural Law Center is the nation’s leading source of agricultural and food law research and information.  Headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas the Center is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The Center serves producers, attorneys, policymakers, cooperative extension service professionals, academics and others throughout the United States.  The American Agricultural Law Association is the nation’s only professional organization focused on the legal needs of the agricultural community.  The AALA encourages students, attorneys and other professionals interested in agricultural to food law to join AALA and attend its
34th Annual Conference in Madison, Wisconsin October 31 – November 2, 2013.