2015 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Valerie Baron

Valerie Baron

Name of Host Organization: Natural Resources Defense Council
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Animal Law
Sponsors: Animal Welfare Trust

The Project

Valerie will use innovative litigation and advocacy strategies to improve animal health and welfare and environmental protection at the nation’s factory farms.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Billions of animals across the United States live their entire lives in factory farms—large industrial operations that confine animals in dismal settings. In recent decades, three changes in the industry have enabled this system to thrive at the expense of animal health, welfare, and the environment: (1) the rise of large meat corporations, that use contracts to control the supply chain; (2) the overuse of antibiotics to compensate for overcrowding and filthy conditions; and (3) the often disproportionate marketing and serving of meat and poultry rather than plant-based foods by many large food service institutions. Valerie’s project will address these three linchpins of the factory farm system to improve animal welfare.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Valerie is the right person for the project because:
• She has substantive experience working on factory farms and other animal welfare and environmental protection litigation
• She developed the legal and technical skills necessary to work successfully in environmental protection and animal protection advocacy as a result of her interdisciplinary training in graduate school and law school
• As a dedicated advocate, she is committed to using her background in politics and policy to build and leverage diverse coalitions
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship: 
In the first six months, Valerie will:
• Work with legal experts inside and outside the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop innovative litigation theories to increase animal health, welfare, and environmental protection
• Initiate dialogue with food service industry or institutional food providers to move towards menus with more plant-based options
• Develop materials and identify partners for public education campaigns

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