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Cheryl Leahy

General Counsel


Cheryl Leahy is general counsel of Compassion Over Killing (COK), a nonprofit animal protection organization based in Washington, DC.

Since 2006, Cheryl has helmed COK’s Legal Advocacy Program, which targets large-scale abuse of farmed animals through undercover investigations, proactive litigation, policy, and other innovative legal campaigns. 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 of meat, milk, and eggs often found in grocery stores.

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; 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 at UCLA Law, and is currently the Project Coordinator for the university’s new Animal Law and Policy Small Grants Program and works with 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 currently works in COK’s Los Angeles office.


Shorter bio:

Cheryl Leahy is general counsel of Compassion Over Killing, a nonprofit animal protection organization based in Washington, DC. She is responsible for development and oversight of investigations, litigation, and policy concerning farmed animals.