Meat the Law

January 18, 2021 3:30 PM to January 18, 2021 5:00 PM
ECT – European Central Time

About the series

Meat the Law is a series of events focused around sustainability in the meat industry. Important challenges in this industry remain: livestock is the single biggest contributor to global food emissions. At the same time, disruptive technologies have sought to further sustainability in the field. For example, various mock meats that have gained traction as good investments for the inevitable sustainability-focused future – Beyond Meat stock surged 119% in the last year. The series is intended to enable engagement with diverse viewpoints from within and outside the domain of private law as a holistic approach to understanding the solutions and problems of the 21st century challenges: befitting for the overarching goal of the Amsterdam Centre for Transformative private law.


The kick-off event in the Meat the Law series consists of a lecture delivered by Prof. Randall S Abate, Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy at Monmouth University. ACT member and professor in private law and fundamental rights Chantal Mak will act as a respondent. Ordinarily, sustainability raises questions over climate change and fossil fuel industries. Prof. Abate’s presentation aims to show how industrial animal agriculture and climate change are ‘common enemies’ for a sustainable future. The abstract of his paper and his bio follow.


Anthropocene Accountability Litigation: Confronting Common Enemies to Promote a Just Transition

This article offers a new perspective in the quest for climate justice. Myriad accountability lawsuits in the U.S. have been filed against the fossil fuel and industrial animal agriculture industries in the past few years, but these efforts have proceeded without coordination between the environmental and animal law fields. There has been no scholarly inquiry that unites the efforts to seek relief from these “common enemies” for exacerbating the climate change crisis while profiting from their operations. The article first reviews the nature and scope of the climate change impacts from the fossil fuel and industrial animal agriculture industries and examines how federal regulatory gaps and subsidies enable and exacerbate the climate change impacts from these two industries. It then reviews legal theories in common law accountability litigation against the fossil fuel and industrial animal agriculture industries that seek to compel these industries to pay damages for the harms they are causing to public health and welfare, the environment, and animals. The article proposes that accountability litigation against the fossil fuel and industrial animal agriculture industries can facilitate a transition away from reliance on fossil fuels and factory farms to more sustainable alternatives. Positive outcomes from several related contexts including tobacco litigation, the phaseout of harmful substances in environmental regulation, and the COVID-19 crisis support the opportunity and urgent need for this “just transition.”

Organized by: University of Amsterdam
Contact Name: Randall Abate
Contact Email:

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