About Josh Balk
Josh Balk is the Vice President of Animal Welfare at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). He has led efforts to enact animal welfare policies with many of the world’s largest companies, including Walmart, Wendy’s, Kroger, Denny’s and dozens more. These policies have helped shift the food industry’s reliance on veal crates, gestation crates, battery cages and cruel methods of raising chickens in the meat industry. He's also been a leader in creating and supporting start-up animal-friendly companies, including co-founding JUST, and guiding investment firms and high net worth individuals to invest in this space. Balk also led discussions with the largest food service companies in creating the world’s first partnerships on shifting their focus to plant-based foods. On legislative priorities, he was a leader on successful campaigns passing laws for farm animals, including in California, Massachusetts, and Maine.
Prior to coming to The HSUS, Balk worked at Compassion Over Killing (COK) where he conducted investigations into factory farms and slaughterhouses, and launched one of our nation’s first advertising campaigns on farm animals. Balk’s work has been covered by the Associated Press, Fortune, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and dozens of other outlets. He was inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2015
Why You Should Listen
Josh is currently campaigning to get Prop 12 passed in California, a historic piece of animal welfare legislation. Not only would this measure do away with harmful farming practices, but it would also prohibit the sale of products from operators that still use them throughout California. Seeing as the state is considered the world’s 5th largest economy, Josh sees this as one of the most transformative laws for farmed animals to date.
While Josh’s clear focus is on animal advocacy, he is also involved in the plant-based food space. He is a co-founder of JUST, formerly Hampton Creek, along with Josh Tetrick, and also works within his role at HSUS to help institutions incorporate more plant-based options and ingredients into their menus.
In this engaging conversation, I get Josh’s rather frank take on the future of factory farming and why he believes plant-based foods play an important role in changing the food system but are not the end-all solution. He also outlines simple things everyone can do to help improve the lives of farmed animals – even if they can’t vote on Prop 12 – and explains why he has hope for the movement.