IALA: Diego, could you please tell us about your non-profit organization?
Diego: CEDA Chile is the first center of specialized studies in Chilean Animal Law. We carry out legal research in Animal Law, coordinate educational actions, and provide technical support to legislative processes and animal organizations. Through these and other activities, we intend to contribute to the generation of cultural conceptions that allow us to create an interspecies relationship detached from all those elements of exploitation and subjugation that currently characterize them.
IALA: What animal law issues does CEDA address in Chile? Have you faced any difficulties and how did you get over them?
Diego: CEDA Chile is currently working on various animal issues in each of its areas. In the legal research area, we are working on various animal problems, such as animal testing, industrial production, the regime imposed by the current fishing law and hunting law, and even veganism as part of freedom of conscience. On the other hand, the intersectional literature area addresses intersectional justice issues, particularly animal liberation and feminism, gender equality (LGBTQ+), and indigenous people. Simultaneously, the educational side of our work is organizing various academic instances to be developed in schools, universities, and through our social media pages. In the latter, we will address general conceptions about animal law, veganism, animal ethics and philosophy, and non-human emotion and cognition.
Perhaps, the main difficulty has been to assemble working teams that can successfully face all the challenges that await us this year. Besides, we are still in a learning phase regarding how we are organizing ourselves. Fortunately, many people have approached us, intending to collaborate in all these areas, which has allowed us to be part of a multidisciplinary team where we all have the opportunity to create and grow.
IALA: Since the hit of the pandemic in December 2019, everybody has had to shift to a “new normal” life, remote work, online education. What challenges did your organization face since then?
Diego: When I founded CEDA Chile, I was studying in the United States, which meant that our activities used telematic media from the beginning. This was intensified with the onset of the pandemic and the resulting change in conditions that this entailed. Because of the above, our work system revolves predominantly around the use of telematic means. We have tried to use all possible means that can bring us benefits for our internal operation and bring our work and activities closer to a larger audience.
Besides, I have tried to find opportunities for our team - or some of it - to interact face-to-face, which strengthens ties and improves interpersonal relationships. However, this has been particularly difficult in these times due to COVID-19 restrictions.
IALA: Do you have anything to share about what CEDA Chile is planning to accomplish during 2021-2022?
Diego: We are very excited about two ongoing projects at CEDA Chile during the 2021-2022 period.
The first one is the development of a project of non-legal literature that addresses the issues of intersectional justice through various formats, such as short stories, poems, comics, novels, or philosophical writings. This project will be headed by a director with a background in literature and will develop various activities to reach the broadest possible audience.
The second project is the legal constitution of the foundation "Justicia Interespecie" (Interspecies Justice), an NGO in which we are working together with two CEDA members. Once constituted, this foundation will pursue the development of academic actions, animal activism, have an area of legal innovation, and develop a strategic litigation program, which we hope will be inaugurated with the first habeas corpus filed in Chile on behalf of a great ape confined in a zoo, during the first quarter of 2022.