Team

Ankita Shanker

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Founder & Director

ankita.shanker@wmilar.com

Ankita Shanker LLB (R’dg) BCL (Oxf) BPTC (BPP) is a social entrepreneur and legal researcher specialised in Public International Law, Animal Law, and Legal Philosophy and Theory.

She earned her post-graduate degree in law from Oxford University and qualified as a barrister at the Bar of England and Wales.

After nearly 1.5 years training at international criminal courts/tribunals and 1.5 years running two courses on a Swiss LLM programme, Ankita is now working towards her doctorate in Animal Rights Legal Philosophy and Theory at the Universities of Basel and Helsinki. She holds various scholarships/fellowships, and is thus funded by (the) Swiss, Belgian, and Finnish governments/research institutions.

Ankita has set up and run various moot court competitions. As International Moot Court Training Expert for the International Commission of Jurists, she founded, developed, and ran the first moot on International Human and Animal Rights Law, held at the national level in Myanmar. She is now the Founder and Director of the first world moot on International Law and animal rights, comprising an international mooting competition and mooting/coaching training courses.

Ankita is the Co-Director for Research and Expert on International Criminal Law and Animal Law at World Animal Justice. She is also a Fellow of the Animals & Biodiversity Think Tank of the Global Research Network, and holds various other appointments and memberships, including the title of Expert at the Global Animal Law Association.

In her spare time, Ankita works, pro bono, as a legal correspondent and moot court coordinator at the UK Centre for Animal Law, a consultant composing law and policy recommendations for the European Union on behalf of Dierencoalitie (the Dutch coalition for animal NGOs), and a legal and policy advisor to various animal NGOs across Europe.

Ankita also paints (because it’s fun), cooks (because she likes eating), plays guitar (because the habit remained, though the talent waned), and kickboxes (because it’s a great stress-buster).

Ankita’s current favourite music artists are Cage the Elephant, Dr. Dog, Imagine Dragons, Modest Mouse, and Tame Impala (though she remains morally opposed to caging elephants or taming impalas). Nick Valensi is, to her, the best guitarist in human history, and Dani Filth has the most beautiful voice she has ever heard. Over the years, her most consistent sources of entertainment have been Stephen King’s magnificent story-telling, and the TV shows 30 Rock, Always Sunny, and What We Do in the Shadows. Some of her favourite films are A Few Good Men, Fracture, and Primal Fear, along with a host of war films.

Altamush Saeed

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Deputy Director |
Regional Co-Director, Northern America

altamush.saeed@wmilar.com

Altamush Saeed BA-LLB (Lhr LUMS) LLM (Mich) LLM (Pdx L&C) LLM (Pdx L&C) is an Animal Law LLM Graduate from the Center for Animal Law Studies, Lewis and Clark Law School. He is currently pursuing an Environmental Law, Natural Resources, and Energy Law LLM at Lewis and Clark. He holds an LLM from the University of Michigan Law School, a BA-LLB from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan.

Altamush is a Co-Founder/Director of Charity Doings Foundation (charitydoings.org). Altamush is also an Animal Welfare Ambassador to Comprehensive Disaster Response Services (CDRSWorld.org), both incorporated in Pakistan/the USA, and is a vice-chair of the American Bar Association(ABA) Animal Law, International Animal Law subcommittees, a member of the  ABA Climate Change & Human Rights Subcommittees, and a founding member of newly formed Animal Law Working Commission Group for The Union of International Associations (UIA).

Altamush served as a Legislative Advocacy Intern at Best Friends Animal Society in 2022, a Government Relations Intern at The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 2023 and is currently serving as a Humane Policy Volunteer Leader at the Humane Society of the United States and a Thomas Raskin Summer legal intern at Mercy for Animals USA.

Altamush is also a Junior Fellow in the Animals and Biodiversity Think Tank at the Global Research Network.

Sara Mehak

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Head of Legal Affairs

sara.mehak@wmilar.com

Sara Mehak BMgt (Leth) LLB (Law) LPC-LLM (Law) CID (Camb), originally from Canada and currently based in London, is a licensed lawyer in England and Wales. With extensive experience in private practice and in-house, Sara has served as legal counsel for a defense intelligence company, and served as a litigator successfully litigating against major airlines, financial institutions, and other prominent companies.

Passionate about animal welfare, Sara actively participates in APDAWG (Parliament) and serves as a non-executive director at Animal Alliance Project. Furthermore, she is a pro bono lawyer at the UK Centre for Animal Law. Sara’s advocacy extends to improving the lives of animals and reshaping laws related to animal ownership, the farming industry, animals in captivity and the use of animals in societal tasks.

Shreya Padukone

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Head of Marketing

shreya.padukone@wmilar.com

Shreya Padukone BSc-LLB (Amd GNLU) is a legal and policy researcher with an integrated degree in Science and Law from Gujarat National Law University. She leads programs at the Animal Law Centre – NALSAR University of Law, and assists on custom operations projects with nonprofits at Aneeha Patwardhan Consulting.

Imogen Suett

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Marketing Associate

imogen suett@wmilar.com

Imogen Suett is a second-year Philosophy and Politics undergraduate student at the University of Bristol in England. As a keen advocate for animal welfare and rights, she seeks opportunities to make substantial positive change in this sector. She has already started making a small impact through founding the Bristol Animal Law society at her university. The society is affiliated with many inspiring organisations such as Advocates for Animals, The Animal Law Foundation, and the UK Centre for Animal Law. She is also pursuing more opportunities, such as this role with WMILAR, to advance her awareness surrounding the law, and to contribute further to the movement.

Uzma Hussain

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Marketing Associate

uzma.hussain@wmilar.com

Uzma Hussain Btech (Noida Bernett) is a graudate in Engineering Physics from Bennett University. She is interested in Environmental Science and is committed to minimizing the damage that humans have caused our Earth. 
 
She has worked in the National Institute of Advanced Studies and researched on air pollution caused by combustion engine vehicles and a hypothetical transition to electric vehicles. While there she also worked on an emission inventory using Drone Technology for the city of Bengaluru. 
 
She worships nature and is inspired by it. As a long term plan she aims to learn from nature and find eco-friendlier substitutes for our everyday life. 
 
In her free time she loves to sing (karaoke), play the guitar, crochet gifts for friends and read some fiction.

Ben Wambold

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Head of Information Technology

Ben Wambold, an independent developer from Germany, is currently pursuing a degree in computer science. Beyond his academic endeavors, Ben engages in a multitude of projects, offering his expertise to various companies as a freelancer. His passion extends into animal rights advocacy, where he actively contributes by developing platforms that foster connections within the movement. Additionally, Ben is committed to raising awareness through organizing screenings of slaughterhouse footage and leading street outreach initiatives.

Mikalah Singer

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Regional Co-Director, Northern America

mikalah.singer@wmilar.com

Mikalah Singer BA (Cle CWRU) JD (Pdx L&C) LLM (Pdx L&C) is an Oregon-barred attorney with a JD, a Certificate in Animal Law, and an L.L.M. in Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law. While at Lewis & Clark, Mikalah served as the Pro Bono Chair of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, was a member of Animal Law Review, and was a student clerk for the International Environmental Law Project. She earned her BA in Cognitive Science and Psychology with honors from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio where she worked on research related to ethics and dehumanization.

She currently works as the Public Policy Manager for the Center for Contemporary Sciences (CCS), a 501(c)(3) working at the intersection of animal exploitation and public health, and is the Founder and Executive Director of Fox Protection International, an organization dedicated to spreading awareness and supporting global efforts to protect fox species and their natural environments. Before her current role, MIkalah was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Environmental Health and Engineering Department at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and part of the Toxicology Policy Program. While at Johns Hopkins and CCS, Mikalah works with policymakers and scientists to support in vitro models in research and safety testing through lobbying, education, and research. At Hopkins, her primary focus was on policy changes that the National Institutes of Health can make in its grant-making process to be more inclusive of the use and development of in vitro and in silico models in biomedical research, and now her work looks more broadly at the public health implications of animal exploitation including industrial agriculture, animal experimentation, and wildlife trade.

Mikalah has previously worked on policy and legal issues with organizations that aim to protect humans, animals, and the environment including the Animal Welfare Institute, Born Free Foundation, Mercy For Animals, and the Green Energy Institute. Mikalah is a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, Chair-Elect for the Animal Law Section of the Oregon Bar, and has been published in both law and scientific journals for her work on alternatives to animal experimentation.

María Francisca Tapia Thenoux

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Regional Co-Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

maria-francisca.tapia@wmilar.com

María Francisca Tapia Thenoux LLB (Stgo UCH) is a law school graduate from Universidad de Chile, where she specialized in criminal law and became a passionate advocate for Animal Rights. Since 2017, she has been an Associate of Fundación Derecho y Defensa Animal, where she has organized, moderated, and spoken at various symposiums and forums on Animal Rights Law. Francisca played an integral role in the “Animales en la Constitución” campaign during the Chilean constitutional process. This encompassed delivering educational sessions on constitutional law and animal rights law, and collaborating with constitutional delegates to incorporate animal sentience into the constitutional text. She is currently engaged in the legal area of the foundation, handling emblematic cases of animal abuse.

Additionally, she has taught lectures on the intersection of Animal Rights Law with Criminal Law at the Universidad de Chile. Moreover, she has recently published a book on the matter (2024), titled “Una propuesta jurídico-penal para los animales no-humanos: Consideraciones en cuanto a su estatus jurídico y moral”, among other publications. Francisca is also an Associate member of the Global Research Network.

She is currently residing in Caen, France, where she is pursuing the University Diploma of French Studies (DUEF), following her love for language learning and her interest in furthering her education in France.

Beyond her legal and academic pursuits, Francisca is a passionate traveler who finds joy in hiking and discovering new places. She also nurtures her curiosity for the world through her love for science and history documentaries. As a longtime vegan, she is deeply committed to exploring plant-based cuisine and is passionately pursuing her goal of becoming a great cook.

Angie Vega

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Regional Co-Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

angie.vega@wmilar.com

Angie Vega LLB (Bog PUJ) LLM (Mich State) is a Colombian attorney and the current Animal Law Fellow at Michigan State University. With an LL.M in the American legal system, she has used her expertise in civil law and common law to advance animal law in the academic field. Angie’s legal research and teaching focus on companion animal damages, animal law in Latin America, Animal Rights, and the Rights of Nature. Angie has published law review articles on bullfighting and recovery of damages in companion animal cases. She is also a contributing editor of the Latin American materials of the Animal Legal and Historical Center, where she has also written articles on various topics, including legal damages, veterinary malpractice, and the status of animal law in many countries within Latin America. Angie is the WMILAR Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, a HSUS Humane Policy Volunteer Leader, a Member of the Mercy for Animals Detroit Hub, and a UN Harmony with Nature Expert. She is a foster mentor with the Capital Area Humane Society and specializes on neonatal orphaned kittens.

Cheslyn Ceaser

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Regional Co-Director, Sub-Saharan Africa

cheslyn.ceaser@wmilar.com

Cheslyn Ceaser LLB (Bel UWC) LLM (Bel UWC) is a graduate of The University of the Western Cape (UWC), completing a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2018. He completed a master’s degree in environmental law with a focus on climate change in 2020 from his alma mater. Cheslyn has been a Graduate Lecturing Assistant and Coordinator at the Law Faculty of UWC, thereafter becoming an educator at Boston College and City Campus. In 2021 he was a part time lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) while working on various research projects and commentary related to animal and environmental matters for The Coalition of African Animal Welfare Organizations (CAAWO) and Animal Law Reform South Africa (ALRSA) respectively. Cheslyn is the Legal Researcher at ALRSA, working primarily on the Corporate Accountability Programme, which aims to shed light on the animal cruelty within the South African egg industry. Cheslyn is a recipient of the Growth Bursary from the Global Environmental Law Centre (GELC) and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree with a focus on animal protection in animal agriculture at UWC.

Michaela Tafani

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Regional Co-Director, Sub-Saharan Africa

michaela.tafani@wmilar.com

Michaela Tafani LLB (Pry) LLM (Pry) is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa with several years of legal practice experience. Michaela holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (2018), and a Master of Laws degree (2022) in environmental law with a specific focus on animal rights, from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Michaela is the Programme Lead for Animal Law Reform South Africa’s Corporate Accountability Programme, which aims to shed light on the realities of the egg industry of South Africa.

Marine Lercier

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Regional Co-Director, Northern, Western, and Southern Europe

marine.lercier@wmilar.com

Marine Lercier LLB (Rouen Norm) LLM (Aix-Mar) LLM (Aix-Mar) MA (Jlm) MA (Auto Bcn) is a French human rights and animal rights researcher, advocate, and activist. Her academic background is in international and European Law (UN law, EU law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, transitional justice, rule of law, electoral law, and comparative constitutional law). She earned a master’s degree in Animal Law with honours at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain (UAB) with the ambition of researching animal rights in addition to human rights after realising their interconnections and the relationship between human and animal health, welfare, and rights.

Marine is currently a PhD candidate in Global Animal Law and a researcher at the Faculty of Law of the UAB. She taught Animal Law and Roman Law and supervised law students’ undergraduate dissertations on animal law, achieving the highest possible grades.  She has published articles, book chapters, working papers and blog posts, reviewed articles for academic journals, and delivered dozens of oral presentations and lectures in French, English, and Spanish. She has served as assistant editor of the journal dA. Derecho Animal (Forum of Animal Law Studies) (2018-2020). She has been a Junior Fellow (2020-2022) and Fellow (2022-2023) of the Animals & Biodiversity Think Tank programme at the Global Research Network. She has organised several in-person and online scientific and academic conferences, roundtables, book talks and symposia, some bringing together over 1,000 live participants and being viewed 2,000 times. She ran in the last parliamentary elections in France (2022) for the Animalist Party (Parti animaliste), where she remains actively involved.

Her research focuses on Global and Comparative Animal Law to improve the consideration and welfare of racehorses and protect their fundamental interests at the end of their careers and until the end of their lives. Her interests include the legal status and legal rights of animals, animal labour studies and labour rights for animals, animals’ representation in politics, and the impact of wars, climate change, and natural and human-induced disasters on fellow animals.

Dara Eisen

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Regional Co-Director, Northern, Western, and Southern Europe

dara.eisen@wmilar.com

Dara Eisen LLB (Liv J Moores) LLM (Durh) is a full-time PhD candidate at Durham University Law School, an aspiring Barrister, and Exhibition Scholar of The Honourable Society of The Inner Temple. Dara’s thesis title is: ‘Reconsidering the International Legal Approach to “Harmful” Cultural practices’. This research compares female genital cutting, male circumcision, and whaling to use animal law as a means of approaching cultural relativism from a new perspective.

Dara has taught as a law tutor at Liverpool John Moores University, Durham University, and Durham University International Study Centre (DUISC). During her time in education, she has been involved in Animal Law in various ways. As a student ambassador for the UK’s animal law charity A-Law, Dara and her colleague have organised an animal law debate and a student led conference on the human relationship with nonhuman animals. Dara has attended the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law lecturer workshop where she developed materials that have since been delivered on her course at the DUISC on Contemporary Issues in the Law. She has also been a global advisor for the think tank Mazeltov – Innovation and Justice where she was the chair of their mentorship programme. Dara’s key research interests include international law, international human rights law, law and culture, and animal law.

Rimona Afana

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Regional Co-Director, Eastern Europe, Central and Western Asia, and Northern Africa

rimona.afana@wmilar.com

Rimona Afana BA (Crai) BA (Crai-Biel) MA (Crai) MSc (Ams) PhD (Uls) is a Romanian–Palestinian researcher, lecturer, activist, and multimedia artist working on environmental harms, nonhuman rights, violent conflicts, state–corporate crimes, and colonial legacies.

She is an independent scholar, convener of the Ecocide/Speciesism symposium and Regional Co-Director for Eastern Europe, Central & Western Asia, and Northern Africa at WMILAR. Formerly she was Visiting Scholar with the Vulnerability Initiative, Emory University School of Law and Asst. Professor of Peace Studies at Kennesaw State University (USA), where she taught courses on conflict studies and environmental studies.

Her PhD project, “The Justice–Reconciliation Nexus in Israel/Palestine: Mapping a Transitional Framework amid Settler Colonialism”, was concluded in 2017 at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University School of Law, Northern Ireland. Her prior studies (BA, BA, MSc, MA, with research in corporate accountability, human security, human rights, and conflict transformation) were completed in Romania, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Some of Rimona’s recent research on war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against nonhumans is published in the Journal of Peace Psychology, State Crime Journal, Journal of Environmental Law, Global Journal of Animal Law, and in edited books by Palgrave, Routledge, and Brill. Her research was presented at numerous conferences in Europe, the US, and the Middle East.

Over the past years she has been working on two books: one revisits through vulnerability theory her prior findings on the justice–reconciliation nexus in the (com)promised lands; the other examines how jurisprudence can address the ties between ecocide and speciesism. This project was awarded a peace research grant by the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) Foundation.

Her creative work (poems, photographs, drawings, paintings, collages, performances) appears in literature & arts magazines, festivals and exhibitions. Over the past seventeen years Rimona has also initiated, led, and volunteered in many civic projects on human and nonhuman rights, in different countries.

Iga Głażewska

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Regional Co-Director, Eastern Europe, Central and Western Asia, and Northern Africa

iga.glazewska@wmilar.com

Iga Głażewska MLaw (Wash) LLM (Pdx L&C) is an animal lawyer and animal rights advocate. She earned a master’s degree in law from the University of Warsaw. Her legal research and thesis have been focused on the possibility and validity of nonhuman animal legal personhood. She studied Animal Law at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, where she received the International Advocates Animal Law LLM Scholarship and earned an Animal Law LLM degree. A strong supporter of an interdisciplinary approach to animal protection, she completed studies in comparative psychology at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research in Animal and Human Behaviour. She serves as the Director for Poland at Humane Society International/Europe, where she is responsible for a wide range of programmes, including efforts to effectively implement anti-cruelty legislation, improve the welfare of farmed animals, encourage the shift towards a plant-based diet, promote human-wildlife coexistence, replace animal testing with animal-free approaches, and stop trophy hunting.

Aman Garg

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Regional Co-Director, Southern Asia

aman.garg@wmilar.com

Aman Garg BA-LLB (Blr NLSIU) earned his bachelor’s degree in law from the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, with research interests in constitutional law, animal law, environmental ethics, and Indian philosophy.

He served as the convenor of the Society for Non-Human Persons (SNHP), a student-led initiative engaged in assisting animal law litigation, raising awareness, organising moot court competitions, and conducting rescue work. Aman has contributed to multiple international and national research projects on animal rights, environmental regulations, climate change, and their intersections.

In his spare time, he works pro bono as a legal advisor and volunteers at numerous animal rescue organisations. He has led several afforestation projects in the Aravalli Mountain range, in and around Jaipur. An avid birder, you can always find him either encircled by community dogs or on a constant lookout for spots to plant trees.

Dulki Seethawaka

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Regional Co-Director, Southern Asia

dulki.seethawaka@wmilar.com

Dulki Seethawaka LLB (Lond) BA (N’ria) LLM (Cmb) MPhil (Cmb) completed her LL.B. from the University of London and B.A. in Interior Design from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, both with honours. She took oaths as an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 2015. Her special focus on animal protection within the legislative regime began when she was pursuing her LL.M. degree in 2016 from the University of Colombo, in which she investigated the necessity to replace the 115-year-old laws on animal protection in Sri Lanka. Her M.Phil. in Law thesis was also based on how captive and domesticated animals can be further protected within the legal framework in Sri Lanka compared to the Indian and British legislation.

Currently, Dulki is a Senior Executive Researcher at the Centre for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP) of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. She represents animal laws and policy related sectors in CELP publications, proposals and other projects. Dulki has contributed as an editor to a publication by the CELP, “A Compilation of Animal Welfare Provisions and Case Law” which is the first ever and the only compilation with all the relevant legislations and case law on animal welfare in Sri Lanka.

Dulki has participated in a number of workshops, summer-schools, conferences and webinars on animal laws and published writings on animal protection in renowned global, regional and national journals. Dulki has also written opinion columns on animal protection for “The Morning,” a national newspaper in Sri Lanka and contributed to printed and television media as a resource person. In her vicinity, Dulki engages in activities including feeding, providing medical care, fostering and adopting street dogs.

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