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Ag-Gag and the Evolving Criminalization of Animal Welfare Activism: 2016 Update

(208 Ratings)

Produced on: November 10, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

The average consumer knows very little about the industrial farming system that produces their meat, dairy, and eggs—and that is by design. Undercover investigations on factory farms have offered a rare insight into what goes on in these facilities, and have led to slaughterhouse shutdowns, the discovery of food safety violations, criminal animal cruelty charges, and more. In the face of these paradigm-shifting exposés, which are conducted by only a handful of small non-profit organizations, some state legislatures have passed so-called “Ag-Gag laws,” which selectively criminalize these investigative efforts at agricultural facilities.  

In this program, animal protection lawyer Elizabeth (Liz) Hallinan provides an updated overview of the Ag-Gag landscape. Here, she describes the evolution of domestic legislation targeting animal welfare activism and "speech" critical of industrial agriculture and explores how animal welfare and constitutional protection groups are fighting the passage and implementation of these laws.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the history and impetus behind Ag-Gag
  2. Explore the effects of these laws on corporate accountability and consumer knowledge
  3. Recognize the constitutional and legal implications of these laws


As an animal welfare attorney and co-founder of the nonprofit The Greenfield Project, Liz focuses on improving legislative, regulatory, industry, and corporate policies that impact farm animals and sustainable agriculture.

After receiving a B.A. in Biology magna cum laude from Harvard University, a M.Sc. in Developmental Psychology from Queen’s University, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law, Liz completed a year-long litigation fellowship at the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and then went to work at Compassion Over Killing as their Director of Public Policy. Liz has a background in both animal law and environmental law and has worked at the environmental firm Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As a part of ALDF’s team, Liz garnered valuable litigation experience, including writing briefs, regulatory petitions, and policy papers. At COK, Liz focused on regulatory and policy initiatives in order to improve the treatment of farmed animals. She is also a frequent speaker at various events related to animals and food. 

Liz has also spent over five years as a laboratory manager and researcher studying psychology in a research setting, endowing her with a scientific approach that is uncommon and invaluable in the nonprofit sector. She has given lectures at scientific conferences, taught undergraduate classes, and run volunteer programs for elementary school children, giving her significant experience with educational outreach.


Jesse S.

Actually the best CLE I’ve seen since i passed the bar.

Sarah F.

Fantastic presentation.

Jill B.

Passionate lecturer who poses interesting questions

Kristina B.

Great presentation - thank you to the presenter for her work.

Geoffrey W.

A very important subject that more people need to be aware of.

Paul S.

Excellent presentation on a very interesting topic!

Bohdan K.

This was an eye-opening course for me.

Pamela W.

Excellent discussion of this important topic.

Pauline M.

Good presentation. Very interesting subject.

Ann P.

Great presentation on an important topic.

Maria P.

Excellent presentation, thank you.

Melanie C.

Thank you, Lawline, for including more of this interesting and burgeoning area of the law.

Valerie N.

Thank you for discussing this subject.

Anamaria C.

Very interesting. I would like to find other courses on animal law in reference to domestic animals as well. Thank you.

Sarah G.

very interesting material

Rhiannon B.

More of this topic! Great speaker

Lori P.

Very interested speaker and content.

Charles B. N.

The presenter was excellent.

Julie A. B.

Distinguished speaker delivers an impressive program. Ms. Hallinan’s advocacy is infectious.

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