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Legendary television host Bob Barker has donated $1 million to the University of Virginia to establish an animal law program.

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Barker for his generous gift, which will enable us to expand our curricular and extracurricular offerings in this important and rapidly developing area of the law,” said UVA School of Law Dean Paul Mahoney. “There is definitely interest in animal law at the law school. I think whenever you have a high profile legal case, it influences student interests, and certainly the Michael Vick case has raised awareness of animal law issues.”

The money will help create a course in animal law – expected to start in the 2009-2010 school year – and fund guest speakers and a writing competition. The program will be headed by law professor Mimi Riley.

In the past, Barker has also made gifts for animal law programs at other law schools, including those at Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Duke, Northwestern and Stanford universities and at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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