L-R: Taimie Bryant, Michael Roberts and Cheryl Leahy '96
UCLA School of Law is launching new initiatives to promote
cutting-edge research in food law and animal law and to build bridges between
the two fields.
The school’s Resnick
Program on Food Law and Policy will create the Initiative on Animals in Our
Food System, which will host a series of roundtables and symposia to examine
issues at the intersection of animal law and food law. The programs will begin
in the fall of 2017 and gather experts from a variety of disciplines to
identify paths forward in public health, food safety, humane treatment of
animals and protection for food workers.
The gatherings will explore issues including standards for
care of farm animals; worker safety in food production and distribution; the
effectiveness of private agreements between suppliers and advocacy
organizations to promote sustainable and humane practices; and related issues
in the fields of agriculture, economics, moral psychology, law and public
policy. These roundtables will generate ideas for further research, including
opportunities to engage UCLA Law students in research and clinical education.
The first three years of the
program have been funded with a $225,000 grant from the Animal Welfare Trust, a private foundation
whose founder and president is Bradley L. Goldberg.
Michael Roberts, executive director of the Resnick Program,
said, "This novel series of events will generate new ideas in both animal
welfare and food law, and new approaches will emerge to address challenges
faced by advocates, industry and regulators."
Separately, UCLA Law has launched an Animal
Law and Policy Small Grants Program, providing support to law and non-law researchers
pursuing empirical studies in fields relevant to animal law reform. The grant program
is the only one of its kind affiliated with a U.S. university.
Led by UCLA Law Professor Taimie Bryant, the program is
designed to encourage new empirical research in fields including economics,
sociology, medicine, nutritional science, cognitive science, law, public health
and other fields.
"Advanced work in a number of disciplines can enable animal
law and policy academics to develop increasingly sophisticated methods for evaluating
and pursuing animal law reforms," said Bryant. "We know graduate student
researchers and others are doing excellent research in related areas, and we
want to encourage that activity."
round of grant applications must be submitted by October 15. The grants are
supported by a gift from animal rights advocate and television personality Bob
Cheryl Leahy, a 2006 graduate of UCLA Law and general
counsel of animal advocacy group Compassion Over Killing, will coordinate both
programs. In 2012 Leahy taught the course Animals and Agriculture in the Law at UCLA Law, one of the earliest academic endeavors on the topic at any
U.S. law school.
"Food law and animal law are increasingly vital topics,
nationally and internationally," said UCLA Law Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin. "These
two new UCLA Law initiatives will encourage collaboration across disciplines
and usher in new ways of approaching the most pressing challenges."