The lawyer Richmond’s Regional Animal Protection Society is in the running to be named one of Canadian Lawyer magazine’s top 25 most influential lawyers of 2019.
Rebeka Breder was nominated for her work fighting for animal rights in Canada. Recently, she’s taken up a groundbreaking case for the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition suing the federal government over how it transports horses to slaughter.
On top of taking cases for non-profits like RAPS, she also organizes conferences and gives lectures on animal law. She co-founded an animal law course at the University of British Columbia and founded the first animal law section of the Canadian Bar Association.
“I’ve always been, literally since I was a little girl growing up in Montreal, involved in animal rights movement,” Breder told the Richmond News. “I believe animals deserve protection and rights.”
In 2001, she went into law with the goal of becoming a lawyer to help animals.
Now, in her private practice, she represents dog owners whose pets have been labelled aggressive by the city; deals with pet custody issues after couples split up; works on disputes with strata councils or issues with veterinarians and acts as counsel for the BC SPCA.
She worked with RAPS to open their new animal hospital, and believes their work is important.
“I chose to work with RAPS because I really believe in their mission and their vision, which is to help as many animals as they can in the community.”
Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of RAPS, hopes Breder's mention will bring more recognition to the growing field of animal law.
“She’s doing something that’s pretty unique,” he said.
“We’re not aware of anyone local that has her depth of experience. She’s advocating for a population that can’t advocate for itself. That’s huge.”
Lawyer-MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jagmeet Singh were also nominated to be among this year’s most influential lawyers.
Several other B.C. lawyers are also in the running, including Michael Feder for his work helping people with disabilities; Paul Doroshenko for his political and legal advocacy over problems with roadside alcohol detecting devices; Victoria Shroff for her work with animal law; Kay Scorer for her work on immigration and LGBTQ+ issues; Joe Arvay for his work on landmark cases surrounding safe injection sites, assisted suicide and the Trans Mountain pipeline; criminal lawyer Kyla Lee; Robyn Task with the BC Teacher’s Federation and Scott T. Johnston for his work with business law.
The top 25 lawyers are chosen via online voting. You can vote for your picks on Canadian Lawyer’s website until May 14, 2019. Breder is nominated in the Changemakers category.