It was March 1993. Jeff Kerr was sitting in the audience, waiting to hear a lecture at the University of Maryland. At the time, he was enjoying his career as the top lawyer at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And he had no idea his life was about to drastically change.
The scheduled lecturer was stuck in traffic, so he sent word to his assistant to improvise and provide the group with a presentation—anything she could come up with to talk about for an hour. The assistant, animal rights activist Kathy Hessler, was prepared. She presented “Does your food have a face?,” which exposed the abuse and exploitation of animals for food and entertainment. Kerr went home and ridded his kitchen of every animal product. Over the course of the next few months, he also phased out all his animal-product clothing. Since then, Kerr became a devout animal rights activist and vegan.
Q: What’s a typical day in the life of Jeff Kerr as PETA’s GC?
A: No two days are the same. It’s always business hours somewhere there is a PETA affiliate. It is a very demanding job, and I thrive on the diversity of it. We are most known for working to compile information for undercover investigations to create the complaints that go to law enforcement to encourage them to prosecute for animal cruelty. And we have had great success over the years doing just that. We have had some historic firsts, such as the first conviction for experiments on animals and the first-ever felony cruelty animal charges for abusing birds on factory farms.