We're starting a new litigation nonprofit, Legal Impact for Chickens (LIC).
LIC aims to make factory farm cruelty a liability. LIC will bring strategic lawsuits for chickens and other farmed animals. We’ll develop and refine creative methods to civilly enforce existing cruelty laws in factory farms, and sue companies that break animal welfare commitments.
Companies don’t follow laws if they aren’t enforced. And prosecutors almost never enforce cruelty laws on factory farms, even when animal protection groups urge them to. As a result, while several state cruelty laws technically cover farms, factory farms ignore them. Investigations in such states show rampant, unlawful neglect and abuse. Similarly, the animal movement’s effort to pass confinement bans may be wasted if those new bans aren’t enforced. Strategic civil litigation offers a solution. Several little-known laws—like the fiduciary duty to act lawfully—let plaintiffs sue for violation of another law.
Similarly, even when companies voluntarily agree to make an animal welfare commitment, like going cage-free, the companies often break their promise. Civil litigation offers a potential solution for that, too, by suing companies over their broken promises.
LIC will pick cases pragmatically, based on likelihood of a win and precedent potential.
I am LIC's founder and executive director, and work on LIC full time. Our board members include Sarah David, General Counsel for The Good Food Institute; and Tyler Lobdell, a litigator at Food and Water Watch. LIC's 16-hour-per-week volunteer consultant is Kathleen Finlinson, a polymath with a philanthropy background. Once we raise money, I plan to hire more full-time litigators, and eventually other staff.
Funded by Vegan (July 2021)