Josh Balk is the Vice President of Farm Animal Protection.
It all started with a Saint Bernard named Hector, who, on his best days, was indifferent to his human family. But to a young Josh Balk, Hector was everything.
In high school, Balk watched a documentary about how animals were raised in food production. “I saw how scared these animals were and I just made this connection—I love my dog so much, yet ignore the plight of these animals. They really are so much like Hector, but they are the most abused animals on earth and there are billions of them.” This reality sparked a lifelong pursuit, one that has earned Balk a spot as a premier, global leader in farm animal protection for the past 20 years.
Balk is Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States. Most recently, he led successful ballot measures and legislative initiatives criminalizing factory farming practices, including California’s historic Proposition 12, which passed with 63% of the vote and became the world’s strongest law for farm animals.
Balk has also spearheaded negotiations with the world’s largest corporations, including Walmart, Kraft Heinz, ConAgra, Wendy’s, Kroger, Denny’s, Kellogg’s and Sysco, to enact policies that improve animal welfare in their supply chains.
Prior to arriving at the HSUS in 2005, Balk worked at Compassion Over Killing where he conducted undercover investigations in slaughterhouses and factory farms. He also worked with retailers to add vegetarian options to their menus and launched the organization’s first national anti-factory farming advertising campaign.
Balk’s work has been covered by USA Today, Associated Press, Fortune, CNN, Christian Science Monitor and dozens of other outlets. He has been featured in books such as Kathy Freston’s New York Times bestseller Veganist, Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, Caryn Ginsberg's Animal Impact, Ben Davidow's Uncaged, Nathan Runkle's Mercy for Animals, Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane's The Net and the Butterfly and Jennifer Skiff’s Rescuing Ladybugs.
Hector would be so proud.