Animal Law Week | Leah Garces, “Corporate Strategies for Animal Welfare”


PRESENTER: All right, everybody. We’re going to get started. Thank you all for coming out. Leah Garces is the US Director
for Compassion in World Farming and on the Board of Directors of
Global Animal Partnership, one of only three third party
animal welfare auditing systems in the United States. Leah’s organization
focuses primarily on corporate partnerships,
in collaboration with food businesses and making
real and practical improvements for farm animals,
particularly poultry. With an expertise
in broiler welfare, Leah provides strategic
and technical advice to food businesses to advance
policies and practices that result in measurable
improvements for farm animals. Compassion in World Farming
has forged partnerships with many food corporations
that have committed to improve the welfare of their animals. Here is Leah now to speak
about this progress. LEAH GARCES: All
right, is this on? PRESENTER: Yep. LEAH GARCES: It’s on? Hello, can you hear me? No? AUDIENCE: We can. LEAH GARCES: Yes? Mic is on. Yeah. OK, good. All right. We’re good? Yeah? OK. Hi, everyone. I first of all want to thank
you all for being here. I know it’s been a long week,
and you’re all exhausted– I’ve just heard, apparently,
from being inundated with all of these things that
you could do for farmed animals and animals and circus
animals and lab animals, and all the animals that are
affected by human beings. So I’m grateful
that you’re still willing to be here and
think about another thing. I’m also super grateful to
Chris for bringing me here. I’m very, very honored
to have the opportunity to speak to you today. As mentioned, my name is Leah. I’m the Executive Director of
Compassion in World Farming. So a little background, we
were started in England in 1967 by a dairy farmer. We’re very unusual,
in that sense. So this dairy farmer, his
name was Peter Roberts, he was really upset with
how the industry was going. This was post-World War II,
and industrial agriculture had really taken off. And they told him, you either
get big or you get out. And he said, I don’t want
either one of those options. So he started with his
wife, Anna Roberts. They started like making
leaflets with their daughters in their kitchen. And that grew and grew. And one of the first big
things that was achieved was the Treaty of
Amsterdam, which is sort of the
cornerstone of EU law, which recognized farmed
animals as sentient beings. And this changed the landscape
in Europe of what was possible. And from that, lots of
legislation became possible. And Compassion in World
Farming was behind all of that. So we banned cages and crates
throughout the countries of Europe, which at
the time was smaller. But then if anybody
wanted to get into Europe, they also had to ban
cages and crates. Then we hit a roadblock. The roadblock that we hit
was the EU getting bigger. It went now to
become 27 countries– even that’s going to be a
little bit less with Brexit. Never mind. However, legislation
became really hard to pass. We found that with the
new countries coming in and a bigger
conversation happening in some of those countries where
legislation was less developed, it became very difficult
to get anything new passed. We actually have
something coming up for the first time in a long
time, which is banning cages for rabbits, which is
coming up in the next couple weeks in Europe. And it’s the first
piece of legislation like that on
confinement that we’ve done in a long time in Europe. But around the time
that the EU started to expand, we decided we got
to pick another strategy, because things are moving
too slow and too many farm animals are suffering. So we started with
corporate engagement. And around the end of
the 90s, early 2000, we started to see
what would happen if we worked with companies. And we found we really
hit on something. So I want to talk about
our corporate strategy and where we’re at,
and why it’s working, and why we’re making more
progress than we’ve ever made before in the history
of farm animal protection, in the history of
animal protection. So here we are,
freaking out politically throughout the country, right? So even if you’re a Democrat
or you’re a Republican, we’re all stressed out. This is the political
climate that is making us having a lot
of anxiety as a country. So the American
Psychological Association, they do these surveys
and they said, this is the most stressed out
we’ve ever been as a nation, ever, no matter what side
of the spectrum you are on. And there’s a good reason to be. And there’s things that
are affecting animals. The Endangered Species
Act is endangered, and the USDA has removed
information about violators of Animal Welfare Act. That’s scary stuff. But here’s the question for you. The most number of animals
used in this country are farmed animals, so how
is all this affecting her? It’s not, right now. It’s not. And in fact, between
November and now, we have got commitments to
help more farmed animals than we ever have in history. We are at a place that is
very exciting because we have hit on a strategy,
we have hit on a way to make progress that is new,
it’s innovative, and it’s fast. And it doesn’t matter
what’s going on politically. We’re plowing ahead. So I want to talk about that. And the first
thing to understand is how does a
company work, right? A company– the first thing
to understand is a company is under a lot of pressure. They work quarter to quarter. Their goals are
quarter to quarter. Whereas in an election,
the person representing you is working election
to election, the CEOs are working quarter to quarter. They’re under pressure from
consumers who are saying, I can go anywhere I want to
eat my burger or my chicken. I don’t have to just go to you. You can’t say like, to
your representative, I don’t like you, I’m going to
go to my other representative. There’s not that
pressure, right? They’re also under pressure
from competitors, in that sense. So you can go to
McDonald’s and say, if you don’t do what I want,
I’m going to Burger King. And if suddenly a bunch of
people go to Burger King because of how they’re treating
animals, that has a big impact. And finally, they’re
under pressure from their shareholders and
investors for the same reason. And we have packaged animal
welfare as two things. Animal welfare can either be a
ginormous risk to your company or a ginormous advantage. Which one do you want it to be? So let’s take this, right? What is the risk for
a company in this? Does anybody want to
offer what they think a risk might be for a company? AUDIENCE: Bad PR. LEAH GARCES: Bad PR. Really bad PR. If you have an undercover
investigation that comes out and it shows that
you’re treating animals like this, who’s going to want
to eat eggs from this, right? And recently we had a company
who we were talking with them, and we heard them
say, OK, at first we started thinking about
how much is it going to cost us to go to cage free. But then we flipped
that coin and we said, how much is it going to
cost us to not do that? And we have hit a
pivoting point here where it costs companies more to
not do better for farm animals than to continue with
treating them badly. And that’s because of consumer
awareness, consumer pressure. No one wants to accept
animals in cages. Nobody wants food from
animals that have been treated cruelly, just nobody. Unless you’re a sociopath,
there’s just nobody. And we started to take this
show on the road, this idea. And what do you notice
about the dates here? Do you see the dates on there? They’re all within a month
of each other, right? The first one that came
out was Aramark in March. And we didn’t know
this going in. This is kind of
retrospectively looking back. But going in, we had
our feelers out– this is the entire movement, from
HSUS to the Humane League to Mercy for Animals to
every group out there, Animal Equality, all of
us working, thinking. All of us had our feelers
out to these companies, trying to get them to
switch to cage free. And then Aramark goes cage
free, and within a month their two competitors
go cage free. And these three
companies constitute 90% of the entire
food service industry. So within these three, we
had the whole food service industry agree to go cage free. So we took that on the road,
and we started going again, got our feelers out
and were asking which companies will agree to this. We’re thinking about
all the pressures. There’s campaigns running. There’s pressure
from the outside. We’re going to their investors. We’re talking to
them on the inside. And then we have our big
first breakthrough, really big breakthrough. And it was a surprise
to us all, but you know, the most important thing
was this one message, which was consumers will
never accept cages for hens. We’re not going to give up. We’re not going to stop. So it’s not a matter
of if, but when. And we had this happen. This was the biggest
shift in the cage free campaigning that happened. Because once we got
this happen, once we got McDonald’s to go cage free– and you know, they
agreed to this. They said, this is the future. They already had– their
European McDonald’s had already agreed to go cage free. They had other countries. In fact, in the UK they’re
free range on their eggs. So it made sense. Then we were able to take
this to every restaurant in the country and say,
if McDonald’s is doing it on their dollar saver
menu, why aren’t you? And then consumers started
to ask that question. And then that question
became how much is it going to cost you not
to do this, to fall behind, to look– and this becomes
more of a risk, then, not just a risk from the bad PR in
terms of what it looks like, but if you’re not
following market trends, and your investors are going
to start getting concerned. You’re not on top of this. You’re not where
the market is at. You’re not with
consumers anymore. So what are you
doing in business? And we had virtually
the entire restaurant sector fall within
a six month period and agree with us, as well. And everyone kept saying, OK,
it’s fine for food service, it’s fine for restaurants,
but grocery stores are never going to go. Because we like choice, right? We go to the supermarket
and why shouldn’t we have– fine, you want cage free eggs? We’ll offer it, but we’ll
also offer battery cage, and we’ll have our pasture
raised and free range, like people should have choice. And this article was put
out in December of 2015. And we said, I don’t think so. I don’t think anybody wants
cruelly produced eggs. And we started–
as a movement, we started a campaign that lasted
for months against Costco. And sure enough, Costco
agreed to go cage free. This then, again,
created that ability to go to all their
competitors and say, why aren’t you cage free? And one after the other,
they went cage free. Not all easily, I will tell you. And I want to show you what we
had to do to get Trader Joe’s to go cage free. PRESENTER: Click on explore. LEAH GARCES: OK, all right. So my colleague
Nina’s in the room. She’s shaking her head at me. She’s very mad now, but
she’s the star of this and the kind of
brains behind this. Is that too loud? [VIDEO PLAYBACK] [MUSIC – ADELE, “HELLO”] Yes, this is Compassion
in World Farming calling. Thank you. (SINGING) Hello. It’s me. I’m not singing, by the way. NINA: (SINGING) I was wondering
if after all these years you’d go cage free. Let’s go over your policy. There’s a Change.org petition. So far, you’re not responding. Trader Joe’s, can you hear me? I’m in California,
dreaming about hens who flap their wings. There are so many
companies with their plans in place to let the chickens
out and set them free. There’s such a
difference between eggs from caged and cage free hens. Hello from the other side. I must have clucked
1,000 times to tell you it’s time to let the hens fly. They’re still caged, and
I, I can’t figure out why. Cluck, cluck, from
the other side. At least I can say that
I’ve tried to tell you I’m hopeful you’ll open the
doors because those hens, they don’t want to be
locked in the cage anymore. [END PLAYBACK] LEAH GARCES: So that
was some fun we had. JAMES CORDEN: Hello? It’s me. LEAH GARCES: All right, we’ll
keep watching Adele’s spoof. It’s really an addictive
rabbit hole you can go down, I can tell you. OK. OK, so we had a lot
of fun with that. We had launched a petition and
we have somebody on our team who we call Detective Dreskin,
and she’s basically a stalker, like a professional. She’s really good– not a
stalker, she’s not really. I didn’t mean that. She is very good
at never giving up. And she’s very polite. She’s a mom, and she’s– just really cares about
getting farm animals– for companies to do the
right thing for farm animals. And she was calling and calling
Trader Joe’s, and they were not responding. We’d launched a
Change.org petition. We got over 100,000
signatures within 10 days. They were still not responding. So we basically did that
video over the weekend with like our kids and our
friends, and the local school farm. And we launched it on Wednesday. And by Friday 6 PM, we got the
call from Trader Joe’s, going, please, please, can
you stop that video? Because we sent
it to their staff. And it turned out their
staff were like, what? Like, why aren’t we–
and it was a time when the Adele video
was very popular and there were lots
of spoofs going on. So it worked. So not every company
agreed very easily. We kept going down the list. And this was the game changer
in the grocery store sector. When Wal-Mart agreed– and it
was definitely not easy to get them to agree, but they did. Then it became like the
McDonald’s situation, where we said, if
Wal-Mart’s doing it, why isn’t everybody doing it? It doesn’t mean that everybody
still agreed to that. And this was the
very last– it just happened in July, the very last
of the top 25 grocery retailers to go cage free. And it took another
kind of fierce effort of petition signatures,
and HSUS also did a great– some ads and stuff around that. It was again kind of a
movement-wide effort. And again, we delivered 110,000
petitions to their headquarters because the new CEO started,
so it was a great opportunity for us to do that. And very soon, by the
end of the summer– this past summer– we
had over 200 companies, essentially the entire market,
committing to go cage free by 2025– some of them sooner, 2020. But phenomenal. Never, globally, had we
seen this kind of progress, and it really woke everybody up. It really shook us, because we– you know, when you’re
trying different things, it was like we were
scientists experimenting. And we had tried lots of
stuff that had failed. And then we hit on the
experiment that worked. So we had to bottle
that and figure out what did we do that worked so well. And we started to see,
just to point out it’s not– even though these
commitments are in the future, it’s changing today. So already we see the flock
sizes of cage free going up. These are real changes
happening right now. So what is it that happened? So we hit food service. When be reflected
on what happened, it was food service as a whole. And when we got one
leader, the rest also felt the need to follow. And that makes sense
because if one of them is ahead in the market, they’re
going to get market advantages. Investors are going to question. I mean, it makes the
market shift together. And then we have
these two come after. So then one by one,
they all agreed. And this spread not
outside of our borders, which is where we
really started to see the impact we could have. So although the UK and the
EU had banned battery cages, they still had enriched
cages, which are basically fancier cages, but still cages. And this had not been tackled. And through the progress we had
made here in the United States, they then began to question,
what in the world are we doing? The UK has fallen
behind the United States on animal welfare? How could that be? When I first moved back here– I lived in England
for 10 years– I used to say, oh, the
US is 20 years behind. I don’t say that anymore. I say we are leading. We are the ones
changing the scene and pushing what is possible. And we see that here. So the top UK supermarkets,
the 10 top UK supermarkets followed our lead. And now we see this
happening globally. We have global
commitments happening. So Compass, for example,
is a global company, and they made a global
commitment to go cage free. And so did Aramark– sorry, not Aramark– General Mills and some others. And then we see it
happening in Brazil. We have a bunch of companies
in Brazil and Mexico going cage free, as well. So the ripple effect
goes beyond our borders. And that’s very exciting,
to think about the impact. As a country, we lead
in the business sense. And as a country, therefore
we can lead on animal welfare through our businesses. But now there is the
giant huge elephant chicken in the room, which is
the broiler chicken, right? So laying hens, it’s– their
suffering is unbelievable. For the whole time they’re in
this cage, they can’t move. They can’t turn. They can’t flap their wings. They’re on wire. It’s horrific, horrific. So their individual
suffering is horrific, but their numbers
are far smaller. Broilers constitute
95% of all factory farmed animals in this country. So 9 billion are raised
and killed every year. That’s 23 million chickens
are killed each day, and 269 per second, year round. It’s just a concept that’s
hard to get your head around, the number of animals that
are moving through our system. So if we really want
to have an impact on the numbers of
animals and therefore the hours of suffering that
farmed animals are enduring, we have to hit this one. And when it comes
to farmed animals, the part we have to
really think about is what is their suffering? Their suffering is their bodies. They are born to suffer. They are bred to grow
so fast, so large, they can’t walk properly. They can’t breathe properly. Their whole purpose
is for their breast because that’s what
we like to eat. It’s our favorite
part of American meat, and so the whole
industry has focused on making the breast meat huge. But they didn’t think about
the unintended consequences of the rest of
that body not being able to service that breast. So their heart, their lungs,
their legs, their bones, the rest of it can’t keep up. But who cares, because
they only live for 47 days? So all we have to do is
keep them alive for 47 days. Still, millions– I mean, that’s
not acceptable, by the way. But also, they’re not
even living for 47 days. The industry thinks
it’s great that they have a 5% mortality rate. 5% of 9 billion
animals is a lot. And why can’t you keep all
of them alive for 47 days? That’s how bad it is. And even the ones that are
staying alive are suffering. They’re in chronic pain. They live in chronic
pain, and that’s not OK. They’re in terrible
circumstances. They are living on
their own feces, on litter on a
regular basis, which means they have breast blisters,
they have footpad blisters. They have all kinds of problems. They have dirty air, hard
to breathe, et cetera. I won’t gross you out. You already ate lunch. So luckily we have
tofu here today. But the main focus
of our work had to be, we have to breed a
better better breed of bird. That’s complex. We went to companies
before and said, can you just let them out of
their cages, cage or no cage? Binary ask. Now we’re saying, breed
a better breed of bird? And can you give
them natural light, more space, better litter,
and can you slaughter them more humanely, too? That’s complex. But what I have learned
in this business is you have to be comfortable
being uncomfortable, and you have to push for more
than you thought was possible. And we found out companies
were capable of doing way more than we ever thought they were. And I’m going to
go through that. So even though this
is not my best friend, as you can imagine, the
Animal Tag Alliance, even they were
saying growth targets are going to be the
next activist target. This is just
demonstrating in 1925 of a bird would take 112 days
to get to slaughter weight, and today they only take 47. That’s how much faster
they’re growing. It’s insane. And these are the
kinds of conditions they live in, totally
overcrowded, unable to breathe, panting, et cetera. OK, first big breakthrough. For years, we have been working
on something called the Global Animal Partnership, which is– I’m on the board. I’m the Chair of the Board. We’ve been working–
on a certification that would fix what was going
wrong with broilers. And even Whole Foods hadn’t
agreed to this yet, right? So we had a very
concerted effort. So GAP, Global
Animal Partnership, is made up of farmers and
purveyors and animal advocates, and we worked together
on a new standard. And Whole Foods agreed to it. And it meant they were
agreeing by 2024 to a slower breed of bird,
more space, better environments, and
the whole package that we thought wasn’t possible. And when they passed that in
December last year, I thought, this is great. This is the beginning. I saw what was going to happen. Suddenly, we had a
feasible road to go down. And then something else
surprising happened. We had been working
with Purdue for years, and we had put out an
investigation condemning them. We worked with a
whistleblower factory farmer who exposed that
their label claim was wrong. They had been sued
by COK and HSUS for misleading labeling
on humanely raised. And they did something
phenomenal, which is say, you’re right. We were wrong, and
we’re going to fix it. And they came out with an
animal care policy which started to address– not fully, and they
have a long road to go down, and time will tell what
it means for the birds– but they said things
like, we’re going to put natural light in houses. We’re going to test that. We’re going to test and look at
slower growing breeds of bird. We’re going to look at more
space and enrichment and play. They committed to–
believe it or not– they committed to
doubling in three years the play that birds have, you
know, play activity in birds, which meant that they had to
do something to make them want to play, from putting in
playground type things, like enrichment or lighting,
or things like that. These two things
signaled to us we were ready to reapply
the egg campaign. A major– they’re the
fourth largest chicken company in the country. And also, Whole
Foods was saying, we’re a commercial
entity, a grocery store, and we’re committing to this. It’s possible. Right. But it was pretty crazy
for us to think like, can we get the whole
market to agree to a Whole Foods standard? We’re like, yeah we can. We’re going to do that. And we went out, and
that’s what we did, and we’re doing right now. Right now, we’re
here in the process. And I think in about
six months we’re going to be there, and very
soon after that, all of them will fall down. There’s only one way
this is going to go. We already had– this
happened in November. So while we were all kind of
reeling around election results and feeling totally lost,
this was happening too. We didn’t get any
media about any of this because it was pretty
hard to get media. In the last few months,
it’s been pretty hard. This is 60 million
animals per year are affected by this agreement. Compass agreed to follow the
Global Animal Partnership standards, which meant 100%
by 2024 of their chickens throughout their entire
stores, throughout their– sorry, throughout–
they service, I think they’re here, as well. They’re one of your
food service providers. But they’re in hospitals
and cafeterias and colleges throughout the country. They agreed to this. And guess what happened? Within one hour,
one hour of them, was Aramark coming out, right? One hour. They actually put
out– and it was simply because their system, one system
was slower than the other. So they both put
out a press release that said, we are the first
food service industry. And we had each of
them writing to us, who’s going to tell them
they’re not the first? And we’re like, oh,
one of them, you can see that our is first, so– yeah. And within a month, we had
Centerplate, Delaware North. And you can see from
our beautiful little pie here that basically that’s the
whole food service industry. That’s 100 million animals in
about a six week period, right? That is phenomenal. There are 250
million laying hens in our entire country per year. This was these companies
doing 100 million. It’s fantastic, fantastic,
unbelievable progress in such a quick time. And we went on. So Panera was the
first national company to commit to the exact
same thing as Aramark and the rest of them,
following all the things that we had agreed. And we are now–
this week I think we had Quizno’s the week
before and Au Bon Pain. I don’t remember. There are so many coming in,
when exactly they’re coming in. But throughout the movement,
we’re working really hard now on this. And I say throughout the
movement, because it really is. We also learned something else. There are many
different groups that work in this country
on this issue, and we don’t agree
on our tactics. Some are more aggressive. My organization is more of
a collaborative one, where we work with companies,
handholding them, writing their policies. We negotiate basically
their policies with them. And then there’s
other organizations that are doing the more
aggressive campaigning from the outside. But companies were
telling us, like, can you please all
ask us the same thing? And we’re like, sure, we will. And I don’t know if they
really wanted us to do that, but we all got on the same page. And these are the main
organizations in the country here. And actually,
Compassion Over Killing signed as well onto
this, so they’re missing. This was a slightly
older version. And we all agreed to
these same standards. So no matter who’s sitting
in front of a company, we’re all saying the same thing. So it’s not like they can
go to somebody else and say, will you give me credit
for doing half of this? Nobody’s going to say
that now because we all got on the same page on this. Now, as law students,
I’m sure you’re really concerned about
compliance, right? How is this going to play out? How are we going to keep
them to these commitments? These are just like
media blitz, right? Like, they just get
us out of their hair. Well, no. So we learned
something from eggs which we are going
to go back and fix, but we learn something
for broilers, which is this– so I’m almost done. These red highlighted parts
were essential new parts of the negotiations that we
were doing with companies. This is Chipotle’s agreement,
but everything, every company looks like this. There are three
parts, which is they are going to have
to– if they’re not using GAP– so GAP has a
third party auditing program. So if you’re certified
by GAP, there’s a third party coming in and
checking you’re doing what you said you were going to do. And that’s how you
get the certification, and FSIS approves that. Now, the second one
that we’re saying, you have to do 100% by a date. And the date is 2024, and
nobody can go beyond that. So 100% by the date. And the third was
annual reporting. Transparency and
reporting are critical. So each year, a
company has to report on where they’re at on
this 100% that they’re supposed to get to by 2024. Now, this is something
we’re coming out with in a couple of weeks,
so my team doesn’t even know I’m going to show this. But this is what we’re
planning to do for eggs. So we want to track
where companies are at. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be
launching a new website called Egg Track, and we will
be tracking companies along their commitment. This will automatically create
pressure to their investors, to the public, to say,
if you’re not disclosing that, that’s really bad. I don’t believe you. I don’t trust you. Or if you’re like 2% when
you should be 10% or 25%, that’s also really bad. I don’t believe you’re
going to get there. And I’m not happy. There’s a lot of
pressure that could be applied through this tool. But it’s also for companies
to pace themselves, to know, oh man, I didn’t
even think about that. I need to get there. I need to pace
myself in the market. This is where the market’s at. This is where I should be at. So the next time– so I’m going to skip this–
but the next time somebody has a freak out moment
with you, politically, and they’re really
having a crisis, and they’re having– the
world is a terrible place and everything’s
falling apart and I don’t understand my country,
please tell them this. We are winning. We are at a moment
where it is possible that every hen is going
to be let out of her cage. No, it’s not possible. It is going to happen. Every hen is going to
be let out of her cage very soon, globally,
because of the work we’re doing in this country. And every broiler
chicken is going to be living in
better conditions and not be given bad
genetics that lead to a life of suffering. That is going to happen. And who knows what we’re
capable of after that? Fish is the next
thing on the horizon. Who knows what
we’re going to do. And I’m very excited. So please, the
next time somebody has a political
freak out moment, tell them we’re winning. We rule. That’s it from me. [APPLAUSE] I’d love to take some questions. We have about 15 minutes. PRESENTER: Yeah, if we could
use the microphone for questions from the audience? AUDIENCE: Does anyone have any
questions from the audience? Because I have a question. LEAH GARCES: OK. AUDIENCE: And my
question is, just how do you start the
conversation with Whole Foods or Wal-Mart, or whatever. It seems like they
wouldn’t be super open to listening from you. LEAH GARCES: Well, I don’t
think that’s necessarily true. Actually, I think that
every company now– the hard work has been done. Animal welfare matters
in the market now. We had to work for decades to
even make that something that mattered to companies. So that hard work is done. And every company who
deals with animals has somebody in charge
of animal welfare now. Now, they may not
know how to do it. And it’s probably somebody who
has no training in it at all. And when you go to
them, our approach is to say, this is something
that matters to your consumers, to your investors. Your competitors are doing it. We’re here to help you. That’s our approach, Compassion
in World Farming’s approach. You need to get on this. It’s happening, and you’re
going to fall behind, and it’s a risk. That’s how we approach it. But other
organizations will say, we’re going to mess
you up, basically, or something like that. We’re going to have an
aggressive campaign, coming– but all those pressures matter. All these pressures
together jointly matter. AUDIENCE: Hi,
thank you for that. Just a question, I
guess, about prices. Do they expect prices to go
up for eggs and animal related products? And if so, how would it
affect, I guess, poor people, and would there be– I guess, on the one hand,
maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe people will
think, oh, animal related products
are more expensive. So we can eat more vegetables. But on the other hand,
there might be pushback. LEAH GARCES: Yeah. We of course always
get that question. Now, the first thing
we say to companies is how much is it going to
cost you not to do this? You’re going to lose
your market share. You’re going to lose
your edge in the market. This is what people want. And I think it’s
really wrong for us to assume that people
with low income don’t want food that
comes from a place that animals aren’t abused. It’s not right. It’s not a privilege
to get products where animals aren’t abused. That’s not a privilege. It shouldn’t be just only
privileged people get to have not abused animal food. That should be for everybody. And we pitch that
quite often, saying, this is your job to
make it affordable. You need to make sure when
you’re wheeling and dealing– and that could be
Wal-Mart or McDonald’s. They have the power because
they have the market share to negotiate that. And as volume– so
as volume increases on the demand for a
product, like cage free, the price goes down. As that becomes the norm,
the price goes down. There will be a cost increase. But also, my answer
to that is sure, free labor was a lot
cheaper than paid labor, but we switched. We had to. It’s not ethical to
produce animals like this, and we have to move in
the right direction. AUDIENCE: Sorry, just to
follow up, but I guess also, is it possible that they might
say well, it costs us more [? with the animals, ?]
and we might lower wages or [INAUDIBLE]
to cut the costs somewhere? LEAH GARCES: No, we’ve
never had that happen. What we have had the
discussions around is reduction of meat products, meat,
dairy, and eggs, which I think is a really– so our pitch is do
better and less. So replace– so we think that
an animal that has a life worth living is more likely
to be something that’s more nutritious. And we’ve just done a study, for
example, how chicken products today are much higher in fat. They have something called
white striping, which you can see in the supermarket. I don’t know if you’ve
ever seen that– that’s striping on the chicken breast. so I think there’s something
to be said about that. I think that when we talk to
restaurants and everywhere, the millennial diet,
the demand is changing, and it means a lot less meat. So it’s about shifting
with that, too. I think our ask to make
things, to make products, to make animals live
in a better life will mean yes, we
need to consume less. We definitely need
to consume less. But that’s more
sustainable, it’s healthier, and it’s the direction
of the market, anyway. AUDIENCE: Does anyone
else any questions? OK. AUDIENCE: Just on
the price thing, during the Yes on 3 campaign
here in Massachusetts, there was a woman who
testified at the hearing at the State House. And she was poor and was on the
food stamps in the WIC program. And the WIC program
required her to buy the cheapest product available. And there’s ones
that are marked WIC that are approved for purchase. And it did that based
on the cheapest. And so she didn’t want
to buy– she wanted to buy the more humane
product, but she was prevented from doing so
just because she was poor because they were
both available. Whereas if there was only
cage free eggs available, she’d be able to purchase
according to her conscience. So that was something
I hadn’t heard before. LEAH GARCES: Thank you. Dan, did you have an– AUDIENCE: I actually had
the same question as her. I guess, when you do discuss
prices with these companies, do you have your own economist
who has his own projections, or anything like that? Or there’s– LEAH GARCES: Yeah. So we have worked with
an agriculture economist, and has looked at–
and actually has looked at the prediction
of what that can be. But it’s very hard to
make that prediction because market forces will
change the price over time. So where we saw cage free eggs
at first them saying it’ll be $0.25 more, they now predict
will be like $0.10 more, because as volume goes
up, price goes down. So you know, I think we
try to not pin that down. We’ve broken down
the ask for broilers, and so we know which
parts are the most expensive and the least. So like going over to
controlled atmosphere stunning, which is what all
companies are signing up to, it’s nothing. It costs nothing over time. And enrichment costs nothing. The thing that
costs is giving them more space and the different
breed because they’re going to live longer. So we know which
parts cost more. We know which parts are
going to be resistant to. But pinning it down– I don’t think it’s a
good avenue to go down because the shift in the
market is going to affect that. And at the end of
the day, if you don’t have a consumer
that wants to buy it, who cares what the price is? People don’t want to
buy battery caged eggs. AUDIENCE: No, that
definitely make sense. I have friends who
will want to buy more humanely
raised meat or eggs, but don’t because
it’s more expensive. But I’ve also heard that it’s
more expensive not because it actually costs more to
produce, but actually because the companies
that are producing it are taking advantage of
people who want more humanely raised animal products. LEAH GARCES: Yes, I definitely– I know there is a
markup, and in the UK there was a big expose about it. And we haven’t– it would be
interesting to look out here about the markup that
happens on free range, pasture raise, et cetera, eggs. And there was a big expose
on supermarkets in the UK about them marking up those
products to make a premium. So definitely, there
something there. AUDIENCE: That
definitely makes sense. I got it. AUDIENCE: Anyone
else have a question? AUDIENCE: Hi. LEAH GARCES: Hi. AUDIENCE: Thank
you for being here. That was a great presentation. So obviously, factory
farming is a very big issue in this country. So I’m curious as to– obviously with the amount of
production that’s happening, and how this switch
is going to be going from more humane and
like, putting factory farms out of business, hopefully. Where is it that a lot of these
producers or companies that are going to be providing
these humane practices– like, are they going to be next to
where the factory farms are? Is it a completely different
part of the country, or– and my other question
has to do with how did the date, like the
2020, 2025 come up, as far as when they’re
going to make the change? LEAH GARCES: Yeah, so I’ll
start with the last one. The 2025 is easy. When we were working with
Global Animal Partnership, we called the breeding
companies, the main breeding companies and asked them
what kind of time frame would they need to
build up the parent stock, to switch over the
breeds, to get up to volume. And they said five
to eight years. And so we pitched it at eight
to make sure it was feasible. I regret that. I wish we had gone for five. I feel like it could have been. And so, you know, we’re
learning all the time about– it’s like, just data
we’re gathering. So maybe the next
thing we’ll go for, we’ll push for any
or even harder date. What are those farmers doing? We’re working with
two farm companies right now, so Shenandoah Valley
Organic and Crystal Lake. And one is a pasture raised
system and the other one is organic. They’re both GAP rated. So this one’s got
three, one’s got four. And they have a waiting
list of 50 farmers who want to switch from
factory farming over to working with them. And we have film–
we have a great film, which maybe I’ll send some
stuff to Chris afterwards– of working with Evanna Lynch. I don’t know if you
know who she is, but she was Luna
Lovegood in Harry Potter. So we went out to Arkansas,
and we converted an old chicken house where the guy
had been raising for a main chicken
company and decided he wanted to do it different. We like sawed a hole in the side
of the door and kicked it open. And it was really fun. And she like, tried
to make perches, but that’s not her
talent, we’ll say. She almost like drilled
her hand at some point. So that’s one
option, where we’re trying to connect farmers
that want to get out to farms going forward. There’s something we need to
do about that aspect, though. And I mean, people who know me
know that I’m, like, obsessed with this thought of– and I say this because I was
in North Carolina recently. And I was driving
with my family. And my kids were
like, what’s that? And I was like, oh, that’s
where they used to dry tobacco. And they’re like,
what’s tobacco? I’m like, oh people
used to smoke– because they never
see anybody smoking. And people used to smoke. And they used to dry tobacco. And that was the barns for– And it was so cool. We’re like driving
through it saying, this is something that was
bad and is of the past, and there’s the remnants of it. And in my head, one
day we’ll drive down the countryside and my grandkids
will ask, what’s that, grandma? And I’ll be like, oh,
that’s the chicken houses and that kind of thing. And we have to figure
out, those people in those parts of the
country, when they want– and many, many, many of them
do not want to do this anymore. They’re trapped in debt. They’re basically
indentured servants. And as lawyers, I
would really, really encourage you to look into
contracts around factory farms, and trying to stop new
factory farms from coming up, and figuring out alternatives
that those people can do. And it’s a problem we
need to solve for sure. AUDIENCE: I just
want to say thank you so much for coming out. A bunch of students are
going to have class at 1:00, so I think we’ll wrap up now. Just can everyone please
give a round of applause? Thank you so much. LEAH GARCES: Thank you! [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: And will you be
around for a couple of minutes if people want to
come up and talk? LEAH GARCES: Yeah. I’d be happy to chat
and eat my food, now that I don’t have to
worry about spilling it on myself and all that.

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