After giving away prize money for years on “The Price is Right,” Bob Barker — the show’s famous host — is giving away money of his own for a cause that is dear to him — animal rights law.
For the last few years, Barker has been donating money to animal rights law programs at law schools across the country.
The University’s law school is now being considered, along with a few other schools, for a similar donation, said Steven Croley, associate dean for academic affairs at the Law School.
Last month, Barker donated $1 million to the Duke University School of Law to create the Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights Law; law schools at Stanford University, Columbia University, the University of California at Los Angeles and Harvard University have already received donations for the endowment funds from Barker.
The gift funds periodic courses and seminars, as well as visiting professors, to support teaching and research at selected law schools.
Members of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund — the University’s student chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a national organization dedicated to animal protection through the legal system — expressed excitement at the possibility of increased funding for animal rights studies.
Jaime Olin, a Law student and member of SALDF, said he believes animal rights law is growing in popularity and has been denied due recognition in the past. A donation from Barker would bring the issue greater focus and attention, Olin said.
“It is necessary for more action to be taken,” Olin said.
Pamela Grewal, a second year law student and member of SALDF, said she believes donations made for the purpose of promoting animal protection law courses and seminars would make it easier for people to get involved with animal law issues.
“Not many people are exposed to that kind of practical law. This would get more people interested,” Olin said.
Some Law School students said they would benefit the most from the program, as it attempts to train a new generation of lawyers and judges in the field of animal rights law, as well as raise awareness of instances of cruelty and injustice toward animals across the United States.
“I think it is great that (Barker) is willing to give money for such a specific cause, and to a particular area of interest that wouldn’t typically garner many funds,” said Law student Marisa Bono.
When or whether money for a Barker endowment fund will be granted to the University’s Law School is still unknown at this time.
Harvard was the first to benefit from Barker’s donations, when it was awarded $500,000 in 2001.
Michael Armini, director of communications for Harvard Law School, said Harvard’s animal rights law program grew as a result of this contribution, but new additions to the staff were not made with the money from Barker’s donation.
“The gift we received did not support a permanent addition to the faculty, but it has been used to bring in visiting professors who can teach on this subject,” Armini said.
Harvard Law School was eager to accept funds in order to promote awareness on animal protection law, Armini said.
“It’s our goal to make sure that our curriculum covers a wide range of emerging fields, including animal rights law,” he said.