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Litigation & Liberation

Jun 23, 2023

Matthew Liebman

Volume 49 (2022) - Issue 3

Although litigation alone cannot fully realize social movements’ goals, critics have undervalued litigation’s capacity to materially benefit exploited populations. The Cricket Hollow Zoo campaign demonstrates how litigation can have important benefits for movements and the communities they serve, both juridically (through court orders that change material conditions for exploited individuals) and extra-juridically (through public outreach that facilitates broader changes in social norms). I use the litigation campaign against the Cricket Hollow Zoo to explore questions about litigation and social movements, extending the existing literature to the underexplored context of animal protection and drawing lessons that can inform other social movements’ uses of litigation towards liberatory ends.