2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Lewis Bollard

Lewis Bollard

Name of Host Organization: The Humane Society of the United States
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Consumer Rights
Sponsors: The Humane Society of the United States; Anonymous

The Project

Lewis advocated for the low-income victims of contaminated meat and eggs produced by factory farms and slaughterhouses by building coalitions, negotiating with fast food chains and federal regulatory agencies, and litigating as necessary.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year approximately 50 million Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses; 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. The primary source of foodborne illnesses is contaminated animal products. The victims are disproportionately the low-income consumers of cheap, factory-farmed food: public school children and fast food customers. Because these victims are also the least empowered in our legal and political system, few seek redress or reform of our broken meat production system. Reform requires a multi-pronged approach: building coalitions among animal protection, food safety, and social justice groups; sensible government regulations and enforcement; negotiations with producers and large-scale buyers; consumer education; and, when necessary, litigation.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During his Fellowship, Lewis:
• Built coalitions with five food safety, environmental, and animal protection groups to tackle food safety issues on factory farms and at slaughterhouses
• Submitted an administrative petition asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ban the slaughter of “downer” pigs, which are non-ambulatory because of illness or injury and are significantly more likely to carry foodborne pathogens
• Developed impact litigation with coalition partners
• Intervened as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by six states that would undermine California’s pioneering ban on the sale of eggs from hens kept in cruel and unsanitary conditions, which raises the likelihood of Salmonella contamination
• Filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests with the USDA and Food and Drug Administration to access information on cruelty and contamination issues related to animal farming and slaughterhouse operations

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