Life in animal law, wildlife law and policy, how to cope with emotions and stress, and animal sentience, intelligence and consciousness

Animals & Us - Voices of a New Paradigm

01-03-2023 • 52 mins

Scott Beckstead is the director of campaigns for Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action. He worked as an attorney in private practice for 17 years on the central Oregon coast before going to work full-time in the animal protection sector. During his time on the coast he also served as the mayor of Waldport, Oregon from 2002 to 2007.

He became known for his special expertise in the field of animal law, and has taught that subject at the University of Oregon and Willamette University law schools. In 2000, he co-authored Animal Law, the first casebook on the subject, and continues to teach animal law, wildlife law and policy.

From 2008 to 2020, Scott served in a multitude of roles for the Humane Society of the United States, including Oregon state director, equine protection specialist, and Rural Outreach director; he also helped lead a successful ballot measure campaign in 2016 to ban the trade in endangered wildlife in Oregon.

Because of his close familiarity with horses, livestock, and farm animals, Scott provides training to law enforcement agencies on how to handle and work with those animals, and how to investigate equine and livestock cruelty and neglect. He lives in Sutherlin, Oregon with his family, which includes four adult kids and two grandkids, as well as three dogs.

Here are some topics we discussed:

  • What led Scott to become a lawyer specializing in animal law after growing up as a rancher.
  • How he copes with the sadness and disappointment he encounters every day in his legal work, dealing with animal abuse.
  • His passion and focus on important wild horse issues.
  • Scott's silly dogs and how they appear on their own social media sites.
  • Why he loves cows.
  • Scott's views about animal sentience, intelligence, and consciousness.
  • What people can do to help animals avoid suffering and neglect.


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