After graduating from the University of Victoria in 1988 with a B.A. in Economics, Leanne pursued a business career in the information technology sector. She held management positions in marketing and communications, product development, business development and sales. After working 15 years in this sector, Leanne decided to combine her business skills with her passion for animals and pursue a new career path.
She joined UBC’s graduate program in Animal Welfare in 2004, completing her Master of Science degree in 2007. For her thesis, Leanne developed the PREP Framework to assist donors and foundations to better assess the effectiveness of animal welfare organizations in order to improve their philanthropic decision-making. PREP stands for Philosophy, Red Flags, Efficiency and People.
In 2008, Leanne joined the Vancouver Humane Society as their Director of Farm Animal Programs and is responsible for Chicken OUT! – an initiative that aims to phase out the use of battery cages to house egg laying hens by educating the public about the animal welfare issues associated with the use of cages. Chicken OUT! has successfully encouraged at least eighteen post-secondary schools in Canada and 14 BC municipalities (including the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Victoria and the Metro Vancouver Regional District) to oppose battery cages and to adopt cage-free egg purchasing policies for campus and city-run food facilities and events. As well, over 80 restaurants in Metro Vancouver and Victoria serve only cage-free eggs.
Leanne joined the Board of the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada in 2012.
Leanne also spearheaded an in-store egg label and signage campaign with a major Canadian grocer to implement labels that describe the behavioural and housing attributes from the various types of egg production.This includes shelf signage that states which cartons contain ‘eggs from caged hens’ – a first in North America. BC now boasts the highest percentage of cage-free eggs in Canada, with 15% of provincial production coming from cage-free farms, as compared to less than 5% in all other provinces.
In addition, Leanne is a member of the Vancouver Foundation’s Animal Welfare Expert Panel and serves as a mentor with UBC’s Tri-Mentoring Program for two Applied Biology students.