Our Mission


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.

 

Recent Projects


Challenging PA CAFO

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

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.

Biogas

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.

Illinois Pilot Project

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.

Carbon Markets

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

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.