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CAFE Law & Policy Lab
- Law, Ethics & Animals Program
- CAFE Law & Policy Lab
The mission of LEAP’s Climate, Animal, Food, and Environmental Law & Policy Lab (“CAFE Lab”) is to develop novel strategies to compel industrial food producers to pay the currently uncounted, externalized costs of industrial agriculture for people, animals, and the environment. Students enrolled in the Lab gain firsthand experience working with faculty, outside experts, and non-governmental organizations to develop innovative law and policy initiatives that seek to address patterns of exploitations that affect multiple social causes, including animal welfare, worker and immigrant rights, environmental protection, consumer safety, rural communities, fair and competitive markets, and public health.
Read more about the Lab and find out how to get involved.
Challenging Pennsylvania’s CAFO Immunity Law
By Simon Engler, Tim Ibbotson-Sindelar, Angus McLean, and Lexi Smith
CAFO immunity laws, or “right-to-farm laws,” are statutes that prevent plaintiffs from seeking redress in court for some of the health and environmental harms caused by industrial animal agriculture. This paper proposes a novel litigation strategy to overturn or curtail Pennsylvania’s CAFO immunity law.
Farm Fairness Act: Regulating Liberty, Transparency, and Fairness for Poultry Farmers
By Jeamme Chia, Zoe Novic, Kathryn Pogin, and Aaron Troncoso
While attempts to improve contractual fairness stalled federally, the 2010 GIPSA rule provided a number of substantive protections to poultry growers that could be provided by state legislatures. This report identifies four key areas of reform potentially replicable through state law, and proposes that these reforms be introduced in the state of Virginia.
Let’s Talk About Biogas … Even If We Think It Stinks
By Alexander Weiss, Caroline Parker, Hope Bidga-Peyton, Kara Hoving, and Matthew Burnett
State support for anaerobic digester technology is growing rapidly. This technology, which is rarely profitable without government support, promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from intensive livestock agriculture, and reduce some associated public health and environmental damages -- but it could also exacerbate harms. This report describes the tools that policymakers can use to mitigate the negative impacts of anaerobic digester legislation to ensure that benefits of the technology are not offset by an expansion of intensive livestock production.
The Illinois Pilot Project: A New Model for State-Level Food Procurement Legislation
By Tony Cisneros, Brooke Dekolf, Chris Ewell, Hannah Gross, and Kristen Wraithwall
State-level food procurement policies are a powerful and often overlooked tool for advancing public interests. This report describes how Illinois state could improve their food procurement policies to more effectively prioritize and purchase ethical, equitable and environmentally sustainable food options.
Farm Animals to Plant: Financing Farm Transitions Through Carbon Markets
By Liam Gunn, Christina Ospina, Colin Peterson, and Manny Rutinel
In recent years, carbon markets have emerged as a promising strategy to help governments and businesses limit greenhouse gas emissions and incentivize better practices. In conjunction with the carbon market, carbon offset programs enable companies to diminish their net contribution to greenhouse gases. This paper proposes leveraging carbon offset protocols to finance sustainable farming transitions.
Safe Slaughter: A Multi-Phase Strategy to Improve Worker Safety in Meatpacking Plants Through Information, Certification & Regulation
By Caroline Grueskin, Rory Jacobsen, Tony Mazza, and Rebecca McLean
Decades of industry consolidation, de-unionization, and exploitation of immigrant workers has resulted in unsafe work conditions for the half a million people employed in U.S. meat and poultry processing plants. This report proposes that increased public awareness, a worker-safety certification for meat productions, and state-level regulatory reform could together improve worker safety.
By Henry Elliman, Yihui Chen, Katherine Kornman, and Mallika Talwar
Certain foods are major drivers of global greenhouse gas emissions, and with billions of dollars spent on food annually, the federal government prominently shapes the food industry. This report outlines an executive order that directs government agencies to use their purchasing power to promote regenerative agriculture and climate-friendly food.
Building a Better Food System to Advance Justice and Sustainability: Subsidies, Land Grant Universities, and Farmer-Scientist Matching Programs
By Jenn Burka, Emily Judson, Humna Sharif, and Cristiana Wurzer
The United States's land-grant university system provides a powerful way to advance research in sustainable agriculture. This paper details how states can use subsidies to enact structural changes to the food system through research funding to these institutions.
The Connecticut Farm-to-School Cooperative
By Ryan Clemens, Amanda Martinez, and Walker Cammack
In recent years, Connecticut has built momentum and support for real action in the farm-to-school movement. This report outlines a four-phase game plan to consolidate the buying power of public schools, allow small farmers to flourish, and to promote a healthier and more ethical approach to feeding school children.
Food Is Medicine: Advancing Produce Prescriptions at the State Level
By Corey Baron, Elaine M. Louden, and Evelyn Pan
Produce prescriptions help patients with diet-related illnesses buy fruits and vegetables. These sorts of programs measurably improve health outcomes but are chronically underfunded. This paper proposes expanding access to produce prescriptions by modifying state-level public health insurance plans.