At the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS), our mission is to educate the next generation of animal law advocates and advance animal protection through the law. CALS offers two advanced degrees in animal law: the LLM for lawyers, or the MSL, for non-lawyers who hold a Bachelor’s Degree. One of the specific areas that students can receive specialized training in our advanced degree program is industrial animal agriculture and how the current food production system harms farmed animals.
In a recent webinar, Professor Joyce Tischler, Dr. Rajesh K. Reddy, Director of the Animal Law Program; and Megan Senatori, Associate Director of the Center for Animal Law Studies; convened to discuss this pertinent issue. Professor Tischler outlined the problem and the need to advocate for farmed animals. Professor Senatori then covered some of the farmed animal protection work being done by our alumni-in-action. Finally, Dr. Reddy fielded your questions about our advanced degree program in a Q&A session.
Farmed Animals in Crisis
In the United States, 10 billion land animals per year are slaughtered for food. Around the world, 80 billion land animals are slaughtered for food annually. Those staggering numbers do not include aquatic farmed animals, who are not counted as individuals, but rather are measured in “tons”. These numbers are only increasing. Animals raised in industrial animal agriculture (sometimes called “factory farms”) are deprived of their basic needs, as described by Professor Tischler in this webinar and as examined in-depth in her full semester course, Industrial Animal Agriculture Law.
Standards for Farmed Animal Welfare in the Industrial Food Production System
Professor Joyce Tischler is an expert on farmed animal protection and teaches our Industrial Animal Agriculture Law course, both in-person and online. In 1979, Professor Tischler founded and built the nation’s first national animal law nonprofit, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). She served as its Executive Director and General Counsel over many years. In 2019, she retired from ALDF and joined CALS, where she is proud to serve as a Professor of Practice in Animal Law at Lewis & Clark Law School. She is still actively pursuing her passion for animal protection by sharing her expertise with our students and training future leaders.
In the Industrial Animal Agriculture Law course, students take a deep dive into the world of industrialized animal agriculture, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs.) The CAFO system causes intense, long-term suffering for farmed animals, pollutes the environment, harms residents and communities where these facilities are built, harms the workers employed by them, contributes to climate change, and creates food safety and public health issues. All of these negative impacts of “factory farms” are addressed in the course. Students learn the current ways that animals are housed, transported, and slaughtered, and how we can challenge that system to create a better life for farmed animals.
Animals raised in the CAFO system are housed in crowded, unnatural, and cruel living conditions for the sake of productivity and profit. They never feel the sun or grass beneath their feet and are denied everything that is natural to how they would normally socialize, forage and live. And that’s only the beginning. They are subjected to mutilations without pain killers and receive little to no veterinary care. Transport and slaughter are under-regulated and inhumane. Students are often surprised to learn that the European Union’s laws regarding farmed animals are decades ahead of the laws in the United States.
CAFOs harm both the animals and the people living in nearby communities. They pollute the air and water, contribute to soil degradation, and through the overuse of antibiotics, they pose a public health threat. The intersectional issues that arise from industrial animal agriculture demonstrate that the CAFO system causes many harms. Professor Tischler’s course covers options for ameliorating these significant concerns through legal action, even as the industry enacts strong barriers intended to silence advocates.
Alumni Advocating for Farmed Animals
Megan Senatori, CALS’ Associate Director who also teaches in the online program, shared examples of the work our LLM alumni are doing to advance legal protections for farmed animals after graduation. For example:
- Bianka Atlas (‘20, LLM, New Zealand) helped lead a campaign with SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) in New Zealand to end live export, a horrific practice in which animals are crowded onto ships and cruelly transported by sea for days to weeks at a time.
- Alice Di Concetto (‘16, LLM, France) founded the European Institute for Animal Law and Policy. The work she has done to help farmed animals includes working with the Coller Foundation to create a new database of laws and policies around the world relating to farmed animals and, since the webinar was recorded, she produced an in-depth report on the culling of male chicks in the egg-laying industry.
- Yvonne Gurira (‘22, LLM, Zimbabwe) who was selected as our Outstanding Animal Law LLM Award recipient, founded Animal Advocates International, through which she is doing innovative work to reduce the use of battery cages for hens and teaching Zimbabweans about the problems with industrialized animal farming.
The MSL program was launched recently, and we are honored and excited to see all that our future MSL alumni will accomplish for animals following graduation.
Ready to Make a Difference?
At the conclusion of the presentation, Dr. Reddy, Director of our Animal Law Program, responded to an array of questions relating to the program, application requirements, tuition and scholarships (all applicants are automatically considered for scholarship support!). If you want to ask your own questions, please join us for a future webinar as we always leave room to answer them.
In addition to the LLM program, in the Fall of 2022, CALS launched its MSL program, a program designed for advocates who have not attended law school. If you want to engage in advocacy through roles in which you need substantial legislative knowledge, you don’t necessarily need a law degree.
Learn how to successfully advocate for farmed animals by applying to the online LLM or MSL programs at the Center for Animal Law Studies.