Law & Policy

photo of Elsie Herring, activist, outside her home

A New Hub for Suing Factory Farms Launches

Fighting industrial meat and dairy conglomerates requires cooperation and a belief in the possibility of food justice.

an unidentified supporter hugging defendant Wayne Hsiung, open rescue trial Sonoma

The Latest Open Rescue Trial Is Now Underway. Here’s the Latest.

Defendants face jail time for removing 70 birds from factory farms and providing them with medical care.

image of woman studying bottle of almond milk, Tofurky files lawsuit to plant-based label law in Texas

Tofurky Sues Texas Over Latest Plant-Based Labeling Law

The Texas law could force plant-based companies to spend millions in redesign expenses and still end up afoul of the vague requirements.

image of pig in factory farm peaking out from between bars, EATS Act

200+ Members of Congress Now Oppose the EATS Act

Three charts document the lawmakers taking a position on the controversial EATS Act, and the votes still up for grabs.

Curtis Brown, Behaviour and Enrichment Manager at Soi Dog check on a group of blind dogs in their kennel.

The Dog Meat Trade Is Still Legal in Some Countries – Here’s What You Need To Know

Here’s what you need to know about the dog meat industry, and the western hypocrisies about eating animals it reveals.

image of machinery harvesting corn on field, what are farm subsidies

What Farm Subsidies Are and Why They Matter, Explained

Farm subsidies make meat and dairy much cheaper – but fruits and vegetables? Not so much. Here’s why.

pig confined on farm, EATS Act threatens state laws

8 Key Laws Under Threat From the EATS Act

The new bill represents the single biggest challenge to animal welfare laws, but food safety and honey bee protections are also at risk.

image of pig, prop 12

When Does Prop 12 Go Into Effect — and Will It Be Properly Enforced?

California’s Prop 12 faced industry opposition because it has huge implications for animal welfare. Now that it’s been upheld by the Supreme Court, here’s what’s next.

image of pig on factory farm, what is the animal welfare act

The Animal Welfare Act Actually Doesn’t Protect Most Animals

Why are so many animals left out of the Animal Welfare Act? We explain the history of the law, and its shortcomings.

image of two defendants Animal advocates Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer, what is the difference between animal welfare and animal rights

What Is the Difference Between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare?

Animal welfare advocates and animal rights groups are sometimes at odds. In this explainer, we dig into where the two approaches diverge.

image of man hosing down dairy operation, right to farm laws

What Are Right to Farm Laws?

Right to farm laws are increasingly used to protect industrial meat operations from answering for their air and water pollution.

Farm bill explainer. Image shows man in tractor on farm.

The Farm Bill Is Crucial. Here’s Why.

The farm bill is a collection of laws that governs our food system, including subsidies and federal nutrition benefits known as SNAP.

LA Teen Sues School District and USDA over Milk Mandate

LA Teen Sues School District — And the USDA — To Promote Nondairy Milk

A growing number of students are fighting back against the government’s milk mandate.

How Cattle Ranchers in the West Cut Off Indigenous Water Rights

How Cattle Ranchers in the West Cut Off Indigenous Water Rights

Big Ag has demanded billions of federal dollars to reduce its water usage.

Supreme Court Upholds Prop 12

Supreme Court Upholds Prop 12

In a 5-4 majority opinion, the Court upheld the rights of California voters to require pork sold in the state meet animal welfare requirements. 

Honorable Murray Sinclair

Honorable Murray Sinclair On Indigenous Obligation to Beings of Creation

The Honorable Murray Sinclair worked to pass The Jane Goodall Act, which would turn Indigenous teachings on animals and wildlife into law.

meat companies turn to prison labor

Factory Farms Are Sourcing Their Cheap Labor From Prisons

A new research project illuminates the connection between prisons and meat processors, and how both benefit from incarcerated labor.

what is animal welfare

What Is Animal Welfare?

Public opinion polls find strong levels of support for animal welfare laws aimed at improving the treatment of farm animals.

UK government mulls law to engineer animals

Can Precision Breeding Be Good for Animal Welfare? It’s Complicated.

Campaigners say the U.K.’s Genetic Technology Bill doesn’t do enough to protect farm animals.

future of animal activism

Two Recent Court Cases Shift the Future of the Animal Rights Movement

The Smithfield and Excelsior trials ended with very different decisions that could impact the future of the movement.

ag-gag laws

Ag-Gag Laws: What Are They and Which States Still Have Them?

So called “ag-gag” laws criminalize elements of undercover investigations like taking photographs and recording video in factory farms.

labor rights

Join Sentient Media’s New Course: Labor Rights Within Animal Protection

This course explores the contemporary labor landscape and workers’ rights in the animal protection movement.

gestation pig

California’s Proposition 12: Animal Protection Groups Fear Supreme Court Reversal

Earlier this week, animal protection groups filed briefs in support of Proposition 12, California’s landmark animal protection law.

pigs in CAFO

Iowa Residents Have Lost an Important Right to Sue Factory Farms

Iowa residents once had a right to sue polluting factory farm neighbors, Now the Iowa Supreme Court has taken that right away.

Lucy the Elephant

Animal Exploitation Industries Thwart Legal Progress — Here’s How

Happy the Elephant’s case shows how animal exploitation industries obstruct legal progress.

supermarket produce

Food Deserts: What Are They? Their Causes, Effects and Possible Solutions

The term “food desert” describes an area where it is hard for people to access fresh, healthy and affordable produce.


Happy the Elephant’s Case Offers Hope for Animal Rights

While Happy remains behind bars, the elephant’s legal team says the case represents a paradigm shift in the way humans grant legal rights to animals.

scott weathers

Meet Scott Weathers: Plant-Based Politician and Public Health Advocate

Weathers is running for State Representative in the city of Stowe, Vermont, where he says “the status quo isn’t working” anymore.

chicken farm

Advocates Promise Solutions to Australia’s ‘Outdated’ Animal Laws

Newcomer to the animal protection scene Australian Alliance for Animals sets out to fix the country’s “broken” animal welfare regulatory systems.

black farmer

A New Bill Aims to Counteract a Decades-Long Trend: The Decline of the Black Farmer

“This bill could help usher in a new generation of African American farmers,” a Black producer said. “But, if it fails, it’s gonna continue to dwindle.”

After Three-Year Legal Battle, Justice Is Served at Pennsylvania Mega-Dairy

The Nestlé supplier faces criminal animal cruelty charges, financial penalties, and possible jail time for the farm’s owners following a 2018 investigation by Animal Outlook.


The Best and Worst Countries for Animal Rights

We cover the exploitation of animals wherever it persists. Here’s a shortlist of some of the best and worst places for animals rights.

European Union to Ban the Routine Use of Antibiotics on Farmed Animals

An EU ban on the routine use of antibiotics that could change the face of intensive farming comes into force this month. Will producers comply?

tule elk in front of a fenceline

‘The Situation Is Dire’: California’s Tule Elk Face Biggest Threat Yet

Tensions continue to rise between ranchers and activists at Point Reyes National Seashore after 72 more elk died this summer.

hens looking out through the slit of their plastic crate

In Europe, Authorities Struggle to Enforce Animal Protection Laws

A former UK police detective says abuse is tied to violent crimes like child abuse and sexual assault. Still, law enforcement agencies rarely prioritize animal protection.

We Asked Gov. Newsom to Stop Expanding Factory Farms. He Didn’t Listen.

Activists arrived outside the home of California Governor Gavin Newsom with a simple ask: halt the expansion of factory farms. His response may surprise you.

monkey in the trees

Animals Could Play a Pivotal Role in Climate Talks—if We Let Them

Climate change impacts every species on the planet. Why are humans the only ones drafting a response?

Farmed Animals Lack Legal Protections. What Needs to Change?

The legal system hasn’t simply failed farmed animals—it has actively and methodically facilitated their exploitation. Here’s what needs to change.

Haile Thomas taking a selfie with a rescued sheep at Farm Sanctuary.

Advocates Fight Back Against Rise of Animal Cruelty on Facebook and YouTube

As Facebook falls under the national spotlight, Jennifer Mishler takes a closer look at the rise of animal cruelty on the platform and what advocates can do to stop it.

Animals Have Some Legal Protections. Here’s Where They Fall Short.

Animal protection refers to the set of laws, belief systems, and activist networks dedicated to protecting animals from needless suffering.

Cheryl Leahy sitting in front of plant

Sentient Media Podcast: Cheryl Leahy Exposes the Truth About Pet Food, “Crush Videos,” and the Powerlessness of the Law

We sat down with Cheryl Leahy, Executive Director of Animal Outlook, to talk about the pet food industry, “crush videos,” and a new investigation.

An open rescue with Animal Equality.

Short Film Highlights the Dangers of Ag-Gag Laws

The film urges action on ag-gag laws, which seek to “gag” would-be whistleblowers by punishing them for recording footage of what goes on inside factory farms.

Countries Take Steps to Ban Fur Farming After COVID-19 Outbreaks

Massive outbreaks of COVID-19 led to the permanent closure of fur farms in the Netherlands, Poland, and France, but the U.S. has yet to take action.

New Slaughterhouse Investigation Reveals Critical Lapse in Federal Law

Fish are one of the few farmed animals not protected by the Humane Slaughter Act. Producers are aware of this loophole and regularly exploit it, investigators say.

Investigators and filmmakers enter a turkey farm to document the animals and the conditions.

Jo-Anne McArthur Speaks Out Against Canada’s New Ag-Gag Laws

Award-winning photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur discusses Canada’s latest ag-gag law and how the industry’s ongoing attack on journalists and activists is impacting her work.

map inequality food

Food Redlining: How Two Bay Area Communities Are Fighting Back Against a Legacy of Racist Policy

Supermarkets often will not open stores in low-income neighborhoods, further limiting access to nutritious foods for their residents. Two California communities are taking a stand.

Group of elk in a field

Endangered Elk Starve While the National Park Service Stands By

Nearly 300 endangered tule elk isolated on the Pt. Reyes National Seashore are in a fight for their lives—with no help from the National Park Service, the organization tasked with their protection.

Close up of a calf sequestered in a stall at a dairy farm in Chile.

Why USDA Should Adopt Stronger Legal Protections for Farmed Animals

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA will begin a new process to address farmed animal welfare standards. It’s long overdue.

Melbourne Pig Save activists in front of a truck

Manitoba Becomes Fourth Province in Canada to Pass Ag-Gag Laws

Ag-gag laws got their name from the intended effect of gagging activists from exposing the truth about the animal agriculture industry. They are widely considered to be violations of free speech.

Toronto Cow Save vigil. Canada, 2015.

The UK Animal Sentience Bill Is Good, But Animals Deserve Better

The new animal sentience bill could make progress for animals on several fronts. But the bill is vague in key respects, protecting some animals while leaving out others.