It's a great time to be an animal in America.

At least, that was the underlying theme of an animal-law conference last weekend at Lewis & Clark Law School, home to the Center for Animal Law Studies.

About 225 students, lawyers and animal activists attended the annual conference, held at Lewis & Clark for 16 years, to hear updates on everything from "Should the Animal Law Movement Be Vegan?" to "Lessons Learned from the Vick Dogs," as in Michael Vick, the NFL quarterback now serving 23 months for dogfighting.

The mood was largely upbeat, with speakers saying 2008 was a banner year locally and nationally for animal rights. And legal eagles find Oregon as alluring as catnip.

"Oregon really is a great place for pets," says Stephan Otto, an attorney with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. "In addition to…animal-friendly legislation, we have everything from dog oncologists to pet hypnotherapists."

Here are the five most interesting things WW learned: