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Monday, August 31, 2020

LEAP Announces 2020–2021 Speaker Series on Theme of “One Health”

This year, to respect social distancing guidelines, the Law, Ethics & Animals Program speaker series will take place entirely by webinar, which means you will be able to attend wherever you are by registering with the links below. The series theme is “One Health: The Inseparable Fates of Animals, Humans, and the Planet.”

The term “One Health” was coined during an Ebola epidemic that killed both humans and 10,000 gorillas. A journalist asked Dr. William Karesh, of EcoHealth Alliance, whether the epidemic was a wildlife health problem or a human health problem. He responded, “That’s all artificial; there’s only one health.”

Take Lyme disease, Connecticut’s very own zoonosis, first documented down the road from Yale in 1975. From a One Health perspective, deforestation causes Lyme disease, not Borrelia bacteria or deer ticks. The fragmentation of New England woods is a boon for white-footed mice, which host the illness, and a scourge to their predators and to the opossums who used to manage the tick population through grooming. Habitat changes also brought West Nile Virus to the United States: after hundreds of years of migratory birds carrying the disease from Africa to the Americas, West Nile finally gained a foothold after (sub)urban crows and robins replaced the old rail and woodpecker populations, which were immune.

One Health is the idea that we all have a multispecies immune system — opossums, rails, and woodpeckers, and the plants that provided their habitat, keep us safe from illness just as the white blood cells zipping through our capillaries do. And this planet-wide immune system is in distress, from climate change to habitat destruction to the farms that are breeding drug-resistant illnesses. But immune systems are resilient: antibodies remember the infections they’ve faced before, so that they might never invade the body again. LEAP’s speaker series this year is dedicated to bringing together students and leading experts, advocates, and artists to address the questions of how we can make the planet’s immune system similarly resilient and robust in the wake of current crises, including zoonotic infectious diseases, systemic social and economic injustices, climate change, and unprecedented biodiversity loss.

Shrinking, Gasping, & Disappearing Fish: How Climate Change & Fishing Policy Impact Marine Ecosystems and the Bold Actions Needed to Protect Ocean Health
Wednesday, September 2, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
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Beneath the waves, marine ecosystems are suffering. Climate change is making the world’s oceans hotter, more acidic, and less oxygen rich at a time when fish already face warlike industrial overfishing around the globe. Human pressures are causing fisheries to disappear, driving marine animals towards the poles, shrinking the size of fish bodies, fueling cyclones and floods, and shifting currents. With three billion people relying on fish as a primary source of protein, this looming ecological collapse poses profound risk to humanity. In short, we are in hot water — but making radical changes now could have an enormous, healing impact. This panel will address the questions: How are industrial fishing and climate change impacting the world’s marine ecosystems? What international actions need to be taken to protect the ocean’s health and biodiversity in the face of a changing climate?


  • Daniel Pauly, Professor and Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us project at the University of British Columbia and leading international expert on the human impacts on global fisheries
  • Jennifer Jacquet, New York University professor who studies environmental science and collective action problems
  • Tabitha Grace Mallory, University of Washington professor, founder of the China-Ocean Institute, and expert in Chinese environmental & marine policy

Moderated by Chris Ewell ’22, a LEAP student fellow who has published work on fisheries observer programs.

Co-sponsored by the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, the Yale Animal Law Society, the Yale Environmental Law Association, the Yale Sustainable Food Program, and the Environmental Protection Clinic at the Yale Law School.

Rampant Covid-19 Infections & AWOL OSHA: Fighting Back Against the Exploitation of America’s Meatpacking Workers
Wednesday, September 9, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
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More than 80 percent of frontline meatpacking workers are Black and brown, more than half are immigrants, and nearly half live in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the power and the duty to protect these workers from unsafe work conditions, but during the COVID-19 pandemic and for decades prior, it has chosen not to. That decision is costing workers their lives. As experts accuse OSHA of negligence, worker advocacy groups are organizing in unprecedented ways to fight back against the government-sanctioned sacrifice of workers for profits. In July 2020, multiple worker groups filed a civil rights complaint against meat giants JBS and Tyson Foods with the U.S. Department of Agriculture arguing that the companies’ failure to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks is racial discrimination. This panel will focus on the disregard for the lives of meat-packing workers demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic and what can be done about it.


  • Leah Douglas, Associate Editor and staff writer at the Food and Environment Reporting Network Her intensive reporting on COVID-19 includes an extensive map of outbreaks in the food system
  • Magaly Licolli, founder of Venceremos, a worker-based organization in Arkansas with a mission to ensure the human rights of poultry workers
  • Brent Newell, Food Project Senior Attorney at Public Justice - attorney representing workers in USDA complaint saying that meat giants Tyson and JBS are engaging in racial discrimination against their employees. 
  • Deborah Berkowitz, Worker Health and Safety Program director at the National Employment Law Project.
  • Moderated by Caroline Parker ’22

Co-sponsored by the Yale Animal Law Society, the Yale Environmental Law Association, the Yale Sustainable Food Program, and the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration.

The “Pickle in the Middle”The Competitive Issues Facing America’s Farmers 
Tuesday, September 22, 12:10 p.m. – 1:10 p.m.
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Please join the Thurman Arnold Project and the Law, Ethics & Animals Program for an online lunch talk featuring Peter Carstensen on the topics below. Professor Carstensen is a senior fellow at the American Antitrust Institute, former attorney at the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice, and professor of law emeritus at the University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Law.

Farmers face increasingly concentrated supply markets for seeds, fertilizer, equipment and many other inputs. At the same time, they face increased concentration in the markets into which they sell their crops, milk, livestock, and poultry. The result is higher costs and reduced income. For more than a century American law has sought to control such risks by antitrust and agriculture specific laws whose intent was to ensure competitive markets both for inputs and outputs. In addition, the law has long provided specific protections in farming contexts against excessive buyer power. This framework still exists, but it has failed so far to provide real protections for farmers. This presentation is to provide a critical overview of the competitive and legal issues facing farmers today.

Co-sponsored by the Thurman Arnold Project, the Law, Ethics & Animals Program, and the Yale Student Environmental Coalition.

The Deregulation of the American Food System: How it Happened & A Way Forward
Wednesday, October 14, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
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Join LEAP for an online lunch talk with Austin Frerick, deputy director of Yale's Thurman Arnold Project, an interdisciplinary center for antitrust enforcement and competition policy. Austin has previously published work on the state of competition America's food system — his article "To Revive Rural America, We Must Fix Our Broken Food System" has appeared in the American Conservative, Civil Eats, The Progressive Populist, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He is also a senior fellow at Data for Progress.

Co-sponsored by the Thurman Arnold Project, the Yale Animal Law Society, the Yale Environmental Law Association, and the Yale Sustainable Food Program.

What about Bugs? Why Insects Urgently Need Human Empathy & Action
Wednesday, October 21, 12:15 p.m. ­ 1:15 p.m.
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Studies in Puerto Rico and Germany have come to the same conclusion: the global insect population has contracted dramatically. Even insects that humans care for directly, like honeybees, have been suffering their own public health crises. The reduction in bug populations is a disaster in itself. But it also amounts to an excavation at the base of the food web that could unwind ecosystems around the world. Behind the question of what to do about the “insect apocalypse” lurks another challenge — how can entomologists and writers convince people to preserve such alien creatures? This panel will discuss the state of the world’s insects and how to write about it for a popular audience.


This event is presented as part of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program’s One Health speaker series.

Co-sponsored by the Yale Sustainable Food Program, the Yale Animal Law Society, and the Yale Environmental Law Association

Perilous Bounty: A Book Talk with Tom Philpott
Wednesday, October 28, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
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The agricultural landscape in the United States appears bleak: gluttonous agri-corporations extract fertility from the soil and labor from workers. Animals are treated as machines for converting feed to meat, and monoculture dominates farmlands. Concentration of power among a handful of companies has driven much of this decay, but some farmers and activists have maintained alternative food regimes, fighting for environmental justice and food sovereignty. This panel will feature investigative journalist Tom Philpott discussing his new book, Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We can Prevent It.

From book cover: “In Perilous Bounty, veteran journalist and former farmer Tom Philpott explores and exposes the small handful of seed and pesticide corporations, investment funds, and magnates who benefit from the trends that imperil us, with on-the-ground dispatches featuring the scientists documenting the damage and the farmers and activists who are valiantly and inventively pushing back.”

This event is presented as part of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program’s One Health speaker series.

Co-sponsored by the Environmental Protection Clinic at the Yale Law School, the Yale Sustainable Food Program, the Yale Animal Law Society, and the Yale Environmental Law Association.