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Big-Ag Exceptionalism: Ending the Special Protection of the Agricultural Industry


This Article explores the harms the industrialized agricultural industry creates and the legal protections the industry enjoys in environmental law, animal cruelty law, labor law, anti-terrorism law, and through heightened protections in trespass and libel law. While other articles have explored the First Amendment implications of laws known as “ag-gag,” and other specific aspects of the harms created by factory farming, this Article serves as a comprehensive overview of the exceptional protection afforded to the industry across various areas of law. This Article joins the important discussion of the need to recognize the deficiencies in and revolutionize the industrialized production of animals in the United States. The first steps towards actualizing this revolution are removing the industry from its sphere of legal protection, using the law to hold the industry accountable for its harm, and encouraging a change in industry practices through a shift in law.