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About the Contest

The Humane State Essay Contest: All essays submitted are currently under review by our panel of judges from the Animal Welfare Federation and Lesniak Institute Board of Trustees.  Winners will be announced on December 15th.

The Humane State Design Contest: The design contest has officially ended. Humane State License Plates will be for sale at all NJ DMVs in the beginning of 2019. Sign up for our email list below to be alerted when plates are available for purchase.


In partnership with The Animal Welfare Fund of New Jersey and the NJCAR Foundation, the Lesniak Institute’s essay contest encourages participation by New Jersey students in elementary, middle and high school. The goal of this contest is to inspire students to use their  writing skills to promote the need to protect animals from cruelty and to save animals from extinction.

Essay Contest

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the Humane State essay contest. As of November 22nd the contest came to an end, please check back on December 15th for the announcement of the winners.

Design Contest

The Humane State License Plate Design Contest is officially over. We received 146 designs from 21 New Jersey k-12 schools. Thank you to all of those who have been a part of this contest.

First Place

Kelly Q.
High Technology High School
Age 15

Second Place

Cristiana D.
William F. Holloran School
Age 14

Third Place

Katarina K.
Cumberland Regional High School
Age 14

Why New Jersey?

New Jersey enacted the first and the strongest in the nation ban on ivory and rhino horn transactions

New Jersey is one of only two states (Washington) to enact a ban on imports and transportation of “trophies” of endangered species

New Jersey made dog fighting a RICO offense to enable everyone participating in a dog fight to be charged with a crime

New Jersey banned transportation of horses to slaughter houses

Next: New Jersey will pass legislation vetoed last session by Governor Christie banning Puppy Mills, Gestation Crates, and Nosey’s Law banning wild animals in circuses and fairs and legislation not reaching the Governor’s desk, Pedal’s Law eliminating bear hunts in New Jersey