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Cheryl Leahy is Executive Director of Animal Outlook (formerly Compassion Over Killing), a national nonprofit animal protection organization.
From 2006-2019, Cheryl helmed the Legal Advocacy Program at Animal Outlook as its General Counsel, targeting large-scale abuse of farmed animals through undercover investigations, proactive litigation, policy, and other innovative legal campaigns. From 2019-2020 she served as Animal Outlook’s Executive Vice President, and in 2020 became its Executive Director, where she works on the strategic direction of the organization as a whole, especially focusing on the use of undercover investigations as a mechanism for high-impact advocacy and culture change, and on targeting systemic abuse of farmed animals through proactive litigation. Her work, which has helped shape the development of animal law in the US, includes challenging cruel, yet standard, practices forced upon farmed animals as well as the misleading marketing and unfair business practices by corporations that produce meat, milk, and eggs often found in grocery stores. She builds and oversees Animal Outlook’s campaigns to reform the practices and offerings of major food corporations to reduce animal suffering and bring more vegan options into the food supply, and the growth of the vegan movement in mainstream culture.
Her campaigns have included the initial research and case development of what became a class action lawsuit against the dairy industry for price fixing, settled for the consumer class for $52 million; whistleblower litigation, federal intervention, and a settlement resulting from Animal Outlook’s investigation of the largest lamb slaughterhouse in the U.S.; and an investigation of Tyson Foods that resulted in hard-hitting evidence driving the first-ever charges and convictions for broiler breeder chicken cruelty.
She developed and taught one of the nation’s first courses on animals in agriculture and the law at UCLA Law and served as the Project Coordinator for the university’s launch of its Animal Law and Policy Small Grants program and worked on its new Initiative on Animals in Our Food System at the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy.
Cheryl and her work have been featured in media headlines from NPR, the Washington Post, and many other major outlets. She is a regular speaker at law schools and conferences.
Cheryl received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Chicago in Environmental Studies. She is a member of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and California bars and is based in Los Angeles.
Cheryl Leahy is Executive Director of Animal Outlook (formerly Compassion Over Killing), a national nonprofit animal protection organization. She is responsible for development and oversight of investigations, litigation and policy, and effecting mainstream corporate and cultural change to shift away from animal products and reduce the suffering of farmed animals.