Schedule & Panelists


The Raising and Slaughtering of Farm Animals

This panel will discuss the lives of animals in farms and slaughterhouses. Speakers will analyze the conditions in which they live, laws that regulate their care taking, and the rise of factory farming. Moreover, many changes have been made to these facilities over the past several years in response to public outcry, and the panel will consider the impact of factors such as Temple Grandin's recommendations and California's "Prop 2."



Ag-Gag Laws, Undercover Investigations and Exposing Animal Cruelty

This panel will focus on AG-GAG laws. Criminalizing the taking of undercover video and whistle-blowing on farms, AG-GAG laws have drawn controversy due to First Amendment issues and the preferential treatment being given to the agricultural industry. Speakers will discuss methods of undercover investigation, why these laws have gained traction, and whether there are benefits to these laws.



Vegan Lunch with luncheon speaker Gary Francione


Food Labeling: What Labels Actually Mean for Consumers and Animals

This panel will analyze the words on food packages. Cage free, free range, natural, and organic are only some of the hazily-defined terms seen at many grocery stores, and this panel will provide insight into what these words actually mean for consumers and for animals. It will also look at who regulates their usage and sanctions against false advertising. Genetically modified organisms, their benefits, and their effect on human health will also be covered during this segment.



Prohibition vs. Regulation: Are Incremental Steps Enough?

This panel will consider the government's role in animals as food. The “Prohibition vs. Regulation” question refers to the argument of whether the only way to ensure the safety of animals is through a complete banning of their use as food, or if gradual, less intense, steps can be satisfactory. Topics will include certain banned foods such as foie gras and shark fin soup; the Farm Bill portion of the Animal Welfare Act; and the recent debate over horse slaughtering. Viewing this topic internationally, this panel will also analyze different food cultures, in particular nations that use dog and cat meat.


  • Mark Caro, Author, "The Foie Gras Wars: How a 5, 000-Year-Old Delicacy Inspired the World's Fiercest Food Fight"
  • Janine Starykowicz, Owner, Chicago Barn to Wire
  • Cherie Travis, Assistant General Counsel, Cook County's Sheriff's Office

4:30-5:30 Cocktail Reception