Legal Animal: PETA’s Chief Lawyer Nabs Corporate Counsel Award

From the 'Monkey Selfie' Case, Now Settled, to the Ringling Bros. Circus, Now Shuttered, Jeff Kerr Has Helped Animals Around the World

For Immediate Release:
September 18, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Washington – Just days after settling the high-profile “monkey selfie” case, PETA Foundation General Counsel Jeff Kerr will receive a 2017 Trending 40 Corporate Counsel Award from DCA Live. The awards—which will be presented at a reception in Crystal City, Virginia, on Tuesday evening—recognize the in-house lawyers in Washington-area corporations and nonprofits who have made significant contributions to their organizations’ successes.

“Jeff Kerr has contributed mightily to PETA’s envelope-pushing and precedent-setting cases for animals, thanks to his smarts and dedication,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “From having unconstitutional ‘ag-gag’ laws struck down to raising the possibility that orcas should be considered ‘persons’ and more, Jeff’s legal guidance has opened debate on significant issues and led to some of PETA’s biggest triumphs over the last 25 years.”

In the last year alone, the state of California prohibited captive-orca breeding after Kerr’s team persuaded the California Coastal Commission not to approve SeaWorld’s planned orca tank expansion outright and supported making it contingent on ending orca breeding. Ringling Bros. circus closed down after years of PETA complaints over its abuse of elephants, and Kerr’s team secured the release of 60 bears and eight chimpanzees from backyard collections and roadside zoos. Corporate Counsel magazine named it the Best Legal Team of 2017.

Kerr, a Virginia native and graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and George Mason University, built the PETA Foundation’s Legal and Corporate Affairs Department after he first joined the organization—whose motto reads, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—in 1993. Since then, the organization has set more legal precedents for animals than any other, including the first defeat of an “ag-gag” law, the first convictions for “crush” videos, the first convictions of meat-industry workers for abuse, and the largest seizure of animals in U.S. history from a reptile and exotic-animal dealer.

Interviews with Kerr are available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind