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International Women’s Day, Animal Rights Style
In a movement often called a “boy’s club,” Animal Outlook is proud to be a women-led animal rights organization. Our president, Erica Meier, has been involved in animal protection since college and, in 2013, was honored with the prestigious Animal Rights Hall of Fame award. Our executive director, Cheryl Leahy, joined Animal Outlook in 2006 and 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 on targeting large-scale abuse of farmed animals through proactive litigation. And our board chair, Amy Trakinski, has worked on behalf of animals for more than 18 years, first with the animal law firm Egert and Trakinski where she litigated on behalf of national animal protection organizations, grassroots advocacy groups and individual clients. Now, she’s the managing director of VegInvest, a mission-driven angel capital fund investing in early stage businesses focused on providing alternatives to the use of animals.
Today, on International Women’s Day, we’d like to celebrate our deputy director of investigations, Erin Wing. A former undercover investigator, Erin recently came out of the field after her last investigation at a dairy factory farm in California.
Growing up underprivileged in a household filled with domestic violence helped her relate to the suffering farmed animals go through every day, and she became an undercover investigator when she was just 24. In two years, she worked undercover at four facilities, including the first-ever exposé of a salmon aquaculture facility in the U.S.
For those two years, Erin lived in the shadows. As a Hispanic/Black POC and the descendant of immigrants, she shared a similar background with many of the workers, blending in and keeping to herself, experiencing increasing feelings of isolation, loneliness and fear of being discovered. Despite witnessing heartbreaking cruelty, abuse and suffering every single day, she had to maintain her composure — and her cover — in order to obtain the necessary footage to expose what really goes on behind the closed doors of factory farms.
The truth is something the animal agriculture industry works very hard to keep hidden from the public, relying on misleading marketing, advertising and labeling. Thanks to brave investigators like Erin, the public can see the reality of factory farming and make informed decisions about what they choose to consume. Now, as our deputy director of investigations, Erin works closely with investigators who are still in the field, providing resources, support and much more.
Thanks to our generous donors, the Animal Outlook investigators Erin supports work every day to expose the truth about factory farming. Help make lasting change for animals and give today at animaloutlook.org/donate.
Please join us for VegWeek — April 19-25, 2021. Take the VegPledge today.