June 28 - July 1 ♦ Los Angeles, CA
Sheraton Gateway Hotel


Since the year 2000, the Animal Rights National Conference has presented three awards:

  • U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame
  • Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award
  • Lisa Shapiro Young Animal Activist Award


The U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of animal rights in the United States for at least ten years. Candidates are elected by the speakers at the annual Animal Rights National Conference. Each year, the winner or winners are officially inducted during the Awards Banquet.

Below is a list of current members along with their abbreviated biographies.



2000 Amory Cleveland 

Cleveland Amory was a social historian, novelist, television critic and animal rights advocate. In 1967, he founded The Fund for Animals, an organization committed to fighting the exploitation of wildlife and abuse of domestic animals, and he served without pay as its president until his death in 1998. Due to his career in publishing, radio, and TV, Amory was able to recruit celebrities including Doris Day, Angie Dickinson, and Mary Tyler Moore for his campaigns against fur clothing.

In 1974, he wrote Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife, which was widely attributed for launching the U.S. anti-hunting movement and sparked a CBS documentary on hunting, The Guns of Autumn. He often said, "If everyone thought about what it would be like to be in an animal's place, there might be more compassion in the world".

Cleveland Amory passed away on October 15, 1998, at the age of 81.

 2000 Lyman Howard

Howard Lyman is a former Montana cattle rancher, world-renowned public speaker, author, and animal advocate. He is the founder of Voice for a Viable Future and is the subject of two documentary films, Mad Cowboy and Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. Howard is best-known to the general public as the controversial guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" whose comments about mad cow disease caused an angry cattle rancher to sue him and Oprah, a suit that Oprah and Howard won.

He has tirelessly crusaded to change the way Americans think of their relationship to food and the environment. He was executive director of the International Beyond Beef Campaign, which organized over 2,400 teams to hand out in total over one million pieces of information to educate consumers about their food choices. He has spoken to thousands of groups and he co-authored along with Glen Merzer the book Mad Cowboy.

His ideals are summed up in his quote, “Living my life as I do now, as a total vegan, gives me great joy in knowing that no animal has to die for me to live." 

 2000 Newkirk Ingrid

Ingrid Newkirk is an animal rights activist, author, and co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She has spoken internationally on animal rights issues and is best known for the campaigns she organizes on behalf of PETA. Prior to founding PETA in 1981, Ingrid was known as a Maryland state law enforcement officer, the director of cruelty investigationslocal humane societies, and the chief of animal disease control for the Commission on Public Health in Washington, D.C.

Under Ingrid's leadership, legislation was passed to create the first-ever spay/neuter clinic in Washington, D.C. She coordinated the first arrest in U.S. history of a laboratory animal experimenter on cruelty charges, helped achieve the first anti-cruelty law in Taiwan, spearheaded the closure of a Department of Defense underground "wound laboratory," and she has initiated many other campaigns against animal abuse.

Ingrid is the author of 50 Awesome Ways Kids Can Help Animals, The Compassionate Cook, You Can Save the Animals, Free the Animals, Making Kind Choices, One Can Make a Difference, and The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights. She is committed to the idea that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. 

2000 Singer Peter


Peter Singer is an Australian ethicist who rose to prominence after the publication of Animal Liberation. He has been called both "the most influential living philosopher" and "the most dangerous man in the world." He is best known for his applied ethics, his stance on animal rights, and his belief that, in order to eliminate poverty, everyone who has more than they need should be giving to those in need.

Peter was educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. He has taught at the University of Oxford, La Trobe University and Monash Universityand serves as Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Peter Singer was the founding president of the International Association of Bioethics, founding co-editor of the journal Bioethics, co-founder of The Great Ape Project, and president of Animal Rights International.

His other books include Practical Ethics, The Expanding Circle, The Reproduction Revolution, Pushing Time Away, and Writings On An Ethical Life. 

 2000 Spira Henry

Henry Spira was a Belgian-American animal rights advocate, widely regarded as one of the most effective animal advocates of the 20th century. Working with Animal Rights International, a group he founded in 1974, Spira is particularly remembered for his successful campaign in 1976 against animal testing at the American Museum of Natural History, and for his full-page advertisement in 1980 in The New York Times that exposed Revlon's cruel experiments.

Spira went on to tackle other seemingly inflexible corporations, including Avon, Procter & Gamble, and the poultry and fast food industries. He also exposed the branding of cattle's faces with red hot ironsn and he helped end the practice of hoisting conscious cattle into the air by a leg to await slaughter. In late 1996 published Campaign Strategies For Activists, a collection of papers documenting how he got things done working alone where big groups couldn’t make headway, and cooperated with Peter Singer as Singer produced two biographies of him, the 1997 video Henry: One Man’s Way, and the book, Ethics Into Action.

He believed we were obligated to advocate for animals because, "Their suffering is intense, widespread, expanding, systematic and socially sanctioned. And the victims are unable to organize in defenses of their own interests." He passed away September 12, 1998 and has been memorialized with the annual Henry Spira Grassroots Activist Award to an unpaid animal advocate.


2001 Baur Gene


Gene Baur and Lorri Houston (formerly Gene and Lorri Bauston) are the founders Farm Sanctuary.

Gene Baur is an activist, best-selling author, and president of Farm Sanctuary, the first animal rescue organization dedicated to farmed animals. Gene has a masters degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University and has conducted hundreds of visits to farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses to document conditions. His photos and videos, exposing factory farming cruelty have been aired internationally, educating millions. Gene has been vegan since 1985 and is author of the national best-selling book Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals & Food.

Baur's investigative exposés and advocacy efforts on behalf of farm animals have earned international media coverage, including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. TIME called Baur, "the conscience of the food movement." He has played a key role in the passage of several animal-protection ordinances, including a 2002 Florida initiative banning gestation crates, a 2004 California law banning the production and sale of foie gras, and a 2008 California initiative to ban veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages. 

 2001 Houston Lorri

Lorri Houston is considered the "pioneer" of the farm animal sanctuary movement. In 1986, she opened the country's first shelter for farm animals as co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, at a time when rescuing and protecting farmed animals was unheard of. A lifelong animal advocate, Lorri began rescuing animals at the age of five, and became a vegetarian at age 16. While attending UW-Madison, she organized the campus's first major demonstration for animal rights in 1983, which drew over 3,000 participants.

Over the years, Lorri has directly saved thousands of animals from inhumane living conditions and has brought national attention to the plight of animals. Her efforts have been featured prominently in the news media (The New York Times, CBS This Morning, Wall Street Journal), documentaries and books. In 2005, Lorri founded the nonprofit organization Animal Acres, the Los Angeles Farm Animal Sanctuary and Compassionate Living Center, rescuing hundreds of animals and educating millions of people about farmed animals. 

 2001 Hershaft Alex

Alex Hershaft, Ph.D. is the founder of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and the annual Animal Rights National Conference. Dr. Hershaft describes himself as a "late bloomer", having acheived his animal rights accomplishments after surviving the Holocaust with his mother, moving to the U.S., earning a Ph.D. in chemistry and devoting nearly 30 years to science research and consulting.

He says that the horrors that he witnessed in Poland stayed with him as an adult, and eventually led him into a career as an animal rights activist. He made a decision in 1962 not to eat meat and became involved in the vegetarian movement in 1975 at the World Vegetarian Congress. The following year, he founded the Vegetarian Information Service, which in 1981 became Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM), an educational group focusing on the issues surrounding animal agriculture.

Dr. Hershaft has engaged in civil disobedience at sevral slaughterhouses and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Washington headquarters, launched World Farm Animals Day in 1983, the Great American Meatout in 1985, and Gentle Thanksgiving in 1990,  has organized more than 20 Animal Rights Conferences, and is also a member of the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. 

 2001 Mason Jim

Jim Mason is an author, lecturer, journalist, environmentalist, and attorney who specializes in human/animal concerns. Jim Mason's writings have appeared in a wide variety of publications. He was a contributor to the 1985 book In Defense of Animals, edited by Peter Singer. His magazine article, "A Plague of Gypsy Moths" was chosen for the book Cases for Composition, and his articles have appeared in the New York Times, New Scientist, Newsday, Country Journal, Orion Nature Quarterly, and other publications. His 1993 story in Audubon about the growing trade in exotic pets was nominated for the National Magazine Award for excellence in reporting and was chosen for the anthology, Preserving Wildlife: An International Perspective.

In addition to writing, Jim Mason speaks about animals, nature and the environment before conferences, symposia, churches, public schools and universities. He has appeared on NBC's Today, CBS' This Morning, NPR's All Things Considered, CNN, Midday Live, and other radio and television programs in major cities. Mason was the founding editor and co-founder of The Animals' Agenda, formerly the news magazine of the animal rights movement. Currently, he is secretary and managing director of Two Mauds Foundation, which gives grants to grassroots animal protection organizations.

 2001 Pacheco Alex

Alex Pacheco is an American animal rights activist, co-founder and former chairman of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and a member of the advisory board of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In 2009 he founded 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You, dedicated to ending animal overpopulation using sterility pills which can replace surgery and euthanasia.

During his 20 years as Chairman with PETA, he was in charge of investigators, lobbyists, lawyers and fundraising staff, successfully defeating and out-maneuvering a long list of adversarial Cabinet level federal agencies. Pacheco planned and executed landmark undercover investigative work inside a federally funded research facility, producing a civil and criminal case cited by film director Oliver Stone and others, as the case that launched the U.S. animal rights movement: The Silver Spring Monkeys.  

For 10 years, Pacheco was Vice President of the non-profit New England Anti-Vivisection Society, an animal protection lobbying related organization. He co-founded the world's largest non-profit animal adoption website, Adopt-A-Pet.com which now has over 100,000 homeless animals and over 1,000 humane societies participating.


 2002 Davis Karen


Karen Davis is the founder & President of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl and includes a sanctuary. She has a PhD in English from the University of Maryland-College Park where she taught for 12 years and pioneered a course on the role of animals in the Western philosophic and literary tradition.

At the University of Maryland Karen founded the Animal Rights Coalition in 1989, and she pioneered a course on the role of animals in the Western philosophic and literary tradition in the University of Maryland Honors Program. Since 1999, Karen and UPC have hosted ten annual conferences on farmed animal advocacy issues. UPC’s Forum on Direct Action for Animals, 1999, introduced U.S. activists to the strategy of open rescues, in which undercover investigators admit to rescuing animals and documenting the conditions of their abuse.

She has also authored many essays, articles, & books on veganism and animal rights, including Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry and The Holocaust and the Henmaid's Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities. 

 2002 McGreal Shirley

Shirley McGreal is the founder and Chairwoman of the International Primate Protection League (IPPL), where she maintains a primate sanctuary in South Carolina and has been fighting the primate trade since 1973. The group fights the highly organized illegal traffic in endangered primate species such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans.

 Dr. McGreal treads dangerous territory in her work and risks her life every time she goes undercover to nab smugglers. "My scariest experience was when I went undercover to Singapore. The dealers told me all about their smuggling techniques. If they had figured out that I was working to expose their activities, I might have never been seen again." With the information, she wrote a detailed news article called The Singapore Connection which was published worldwide by Reuters, and was instrumental in Thailand's eventual ban on commerce in gibbons.

IPPL also assists many primate sanctuaries in Africa, Asia, and South America. Dr. McGreal's work has been recognized with such international honors as the United Nations Environment Program Global 500 Award, the Marching Award for Animal Welfare, an award from the Interpol-Dutch Police League for her work on a criminal investigation and the Order of the British Empire. 

 2002 Watson Paul

Paul Watson is a Canadian environmental activist, who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a direct action group focused on marine conservation. He also promotes veganism, voluntary human population control, and a biocentric worldview.

Watson was founder of Greenpeace in 1972, of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1977, and of Greenpeace International in 1979, and a Field Correspondent for Defenders of Wildlife between 1976 and 1980. He was a field representative for the Fund for Animals between 1978 and 1981, and a representative for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals in 1979.

He was awarded Toronto City TV's Environmentalist of the Year Award for 1990, the Genesis Award in 1998, and the George H.W. Bush Daily Points of Light Award in 1999. He was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the environmental heroes of the 20th Century in the year 2000. Watson was elected to the National Board of the Sierra Club USA serving as a director from 2003-2006. He and Sea Shepherd have been featured heavily on Animal Planet's smash hit Whale Wars since 2008. 


 2003 Coronado Rod

Rodney Coronado is a Native American animal rights activist. He is a former member of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and a spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front. He was a crew member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a member of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal.

A former proponent of the use of direct action to end cruelty to animals and destruction of the environment, Coronado was jailed in 1995 in connection with an arson attack on research facilities at Michigan State University. The incident, which caused $125,000 worth of damage and destroyed 32 years of research data, was part of the ALF's "Operation Bite Back," a series of attacks on animal-testing and fur facilities in the U.S. during the 1990s.

In 2006, while imprisoned for felony conspiracy and awaiting trial on further charges, Coronado expressed a change in his personal philosophy inspired by fatherhood. In an open letter, he wrote, "Don't ask me how to burn down a building. Ask me how to grow watermelons or how to explain nature to a child," explaining that he wants to be remembered, not as a "man of destruction but [as] a human believer in peace and love for all." He was released on probation in 2008. 

 2003 Katz Elliot

Elliot Katz, DVM, is the founder and president emeritus of In Defense of Animals. Dr. Katz has been a leader in the animal rights movement for decades. He believes that animals have the right to live freely in their natural habitats and to exist without human use or exploitation.

In early 1983 Dr. Katz was contacted by an animal-advocacy organization seeking his help to rectify abusive conditions on UC Berkeley animal laboratories. What Dr. Katz discovered was worse than he could have imagined. Determined to improve conditions for the animals and the veterinarians at the university, Dr. Katz brought together a group of concerned citizens to bring legal action against the USDA and the university. The group, called Californians for Responsible Research, filed a law suit against the USDA, forcing the agency to issue a cease and desist order against UC Berkeley.

Californians for Responsible Research later became In Defense of Animals, which has since expanded its mission and grown to be one of the nation’s foremost animal advocacy organizations, dedicated to ending abuse of animals by defending their rights, welfare and habitats. 


2004 Friedrich Bruce

Bruce Friedrich is senior director for strategic initiatives at Farm Sanctuary. Bruce has worked as a public school teacher in inner city Baltimore, as vice president for policy at PETA, and at a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in D.C. While vice president for policy at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Bruce spearheaded some of PETA's most successful efforts, including writing and producing the video "Meet Your Meat" and forcing McDonald's to adopt ground-breaking animal welfare guidelines.

Friedrich serves on the advisory board of the Christian Vegetarian Association and is a founding member of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians. He has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and Court TV. Together with Matt Ball, he co-authored The Animal Activist's Handbook, about which Peter Singer states, "Rarely have so few pages contained so much intelligence and good advice. Get it, read it, and act on it. Now."

In his role with Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, Friedrich directs efforts to improve farmed animal welfare through legislation, litigation, and government policy, and expands their vegan advocacy with the Compassionate Communities Campaign and Someone, Not Something project.

 2004 Moretti Laura

Laura Moretti has been involved in animal protection for more than 30 years, most notably as the creator and editor of the international animal protection publication, The Animals Voice Magazine.

She began her work as an undercover agent for the New Jersey SPCA and moved on to hands-on horse rescue and lobbying for animal protective legislation in every state she’s ever lived in. She has worked for The Fund for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, The Animals' Agenda, In Defense of Animals, and Compassion for Animals Foundation, and serves as the underwriter of the award-winning animal defense website she founded, The Animals Voice.

She’s the author and editor of several books, and her personal motto is, “I know in my heart of hearts that I want to do ONE thing now and do it better than I’ve ever done it: make the voice of animals heard around the world.” 


 2005 Ball Matt

Matt Ball and Jack Norris are the co-founders of Vegan Outreach. 

Matt Ball is executive director of Vegan Outreach and the co-author, with Bruce Friedrich, of The Animal Activist's Handbook. Prior to forming Vegan Outreach, Ball obtained degrees from the University of Illinois and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

As he got involved in animal rights, Matt engaged in various activities, including holding fur protests, staging "Fasts for Farm Animals", and displaying pro-vegan banners on street sides. His and Jack Norris's focus turned to maximizing their time to save the most animals, and they funded the printing and distribution of 10,000 pro-vegetarian flyers entitled Vegetarianism.

Following this, they developed a booklet called And Justice For All focusing on the abuse of farmed animals. They officially adopted the name Vegan Outreach, and the campaign to hold banners was set aside in favor of the distribution of printed booklets. Vegan Outreach has since distributed over 20 million booklets, mostly to concert-goers and college students, and Ball has written extensively about his mistakes and misteps in order to empower future activists. 

 2005 Norris Jack

Jack Norris, RD, co-founded Vegan Outreach in 1993 and is currently its president. Vegan Outreach produces the booklets Why Vegan, Compassionate Choices, and Even If You Like Meat. Jack runs Vegan Outreach's Adopt A College program, which focuses on delivering brochures to college students.

He got his college leafleting start by embarking on tours of the Midwestern United States in 1995, distributing the Vegan Outreach brochure at nineteen universities. The first Why Vegan was printed in 1996 and distributed at 171 colleges during that year. Norris continued his traveling until funds ran out in 1997.

He became a Registered Dietitian in order to become educated on the science of nutrition and to figure out what could be done to minimize the number of failed vegetarians in the future. Jack blogs at JackNorrisRD.com and VeganHealth.org. He is the author of Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It?, Staying Healthy On Plant-Based Diets, and Vegan for Life. 

 2005 Wyler Gretchen

Gretchen Wyler used her stardom on broadway, in films and TV to bring animal issues into the mainstream. Wyler appeared in many popular plays, movies, and television shows, and started advocating for animals in the mid-1960s after a visit to a dilapidated shelter. She became the first woman to sit on the board of the ASPCA, and passionately fought to end pound in the 1980s.

She was the founder in 1986 and president of The Ark Trust, Inc., which presents the annual Genesis Awards, recognizing people in the news and entertainment media from the US and around the globe who have spotlighted animal issues. The annual event has become the nation's premier "consciousness-raiser" on animal issues.

 Throughout her animal-advocacy career, Wyler served as a board member of more than 13 animal organizations, While Wyler was an ardent activist for all animals, she especially advocated for elephants in captivity. Her landmark work for elephants at the L.A. Zoo helped launch the plight of captive elephants into the national spotlight, shaking up the zoo industry and stirring the public to question the ethics of keeping elephants in zoos. She died on Sunday, May 27, 2007, from complications of breast cancer at her home in Camarillo, California. 


 2006 Hindi Steve

Steve Hindi is the founder of SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), a national animal welfare organization concerned with halting and/or educating the public about pigeon shoots, rodeos, bullfighting, canned hunts, and more. SHARK has for decades been on the frontlines, investigating and disrupting large sport hunts and venues that exploit animals for entertainment and hold them captive. SHARK's victories include ending pigeon hunts, exposing millions to their animal abuse footage, and ending abusive practices of the animal entertainment industries.

Steve frequently discusses his history as a former avid and accomplished fisherman, whose life changed forever after witnessing two pigeon shoots. He recounts how his epiphany was decidedly not shared by his close friends and fishing buddies. Nonetheless he forged ahead, launching SHARK.

Hindi attacks the leadership of the National Rifle Association (NRA), calling top officials there “domestic terrorists.” and he personally disrupts pigeon shoots, rodeos, and canned hunts. He documents abuses, educates the public on the gruesome details of how these arenas of supposed "entertainment" and "sporting" operate, and criticizes politicians and legislators who are disinterested in proposing stronger laws or enforcing current ones. 

 2006 White Ben

Ben White was an arborist who became an animal rights activist after an encounter with a dolphin in the waters off Hawaii. White was a longtime defender of animals and the environment, working with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the 1980s, In Defense of Animals as well as Friends of Animals and Animal Welfare Institute during the 1990s.

White was known internationally for his idea of having activists don turtle costumes during the 1999 Seattle protests of the World Trade Organization. The WTO had overruled a U.S. law that required countries selling shrimp domestically to use turtle excluder devices. White called the peaceful protest "a stupid publicity stunt that worked", gaining national attention amidst the tumultuous demonstrations.

In addition to staging protests, Ben documented illegal whaling off the Soviet Union and the killing of harp seals in Newfoundland. Ben put life on the line to save  animals, for instance by plunging into a Japanese harbor without diving gear and cut open fishermen's nets, freeing dozens of dolphins from enslavement. Ben passed away July 30th, 2005 from abdominal cancer. 


 2007 Kjonaas Kevin

Kevin Kjonaas was the president of and a full-time volunteer with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (USA), where he became a defendant in the infamous SHAC-7 trial. Kevin’s activist experiences have ranged from college animal rights advocacy and factory farm investigations, to volunteering as an A.L.F. spokesperson and working on successful UK fur and vivisection campaigns. Kevin’s activism includes the SOAR primate research campaign, vegan college dining hall campaigns, fighting for the lives at Newchurch Guinea Pigs and Shamrock Monkey Farm, the ongoing Neiman Marcus fur campaign, and more.

After years of successful campaigning against Huntington Life Sciences, Kevin became one of the seven individuals indicted on federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism charges, and he served a six-year sentence for conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, which labels activists as terrorists if they intentionally cause disruption to the functioning of an animal enterprise. Kevin was released to a halfway house in 2011, after serving nearly five years of his six-year sentence. 

 2007 LaVeck James

James Laveck and Jenny Stein are the co-founders of Tribe of Heart and creators of the award-winning documentaries The Witness and Peaceable Kingdom. 

James LaVeck is a graduate of Cornell University and a published novelist.During his 20's, James spent six months traveling across India, counseled inmates in the county jail, tutored pregnant teens, and wrote a novel about the generational impact of family violence. The lessons he learned prepared him to produce documentary films on the subjects of conscience and compassion.

James interviews Tribe of Heart's documentary subjects using a unique interactive style invoking the kind of one-to-one sharing that leads to emotional and intellectual breakthroughs. Integrating art, education, and a celebration of the human spirit, the films of Jenny and James tell the stories of ordinary people who experience a profound change of heart go on to work for peaceful change in society.

James also lectures and publishes on the essential role of grassroots activism and independent media in maintaining a healthy democracy, and helps run the Humane Myth website, which exposes the lies behind supposedly "humane" animal products. 

 2007 Stein Jenny

Jenny Stein is a graduate of UCLA Independent Producers Program and of Cornell University, but she credits her childhood musical training and her alternative school education with influencing how and why she chooses to express herself through documentary filmmaking.

She directs, shoots, edits, and scores Tribe of Heart's films, striving to merge the up-front authenticity of documentary with the fluid emotional dynamics usually found in dramatic films. The films created by Jenny and James have appeared in 77 festivals around the world, and on PBS, LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and the United Kingdom's Community Channel.

Their work has inspired an extraordinary grassroots movement, and their second and most-popular film, Peaceable Kingdom, which offers a riveting portrait of human and animal lives caught up in an industrial machine, was described by Dr. Jane Goodall as "a masterpiece". 


 2008 Shapiro Paul

 Paul Shapiro is the vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Prior to working with HSUS, he founded Compassion Over Killing (COK) in 1995 and served as its campaigns director until 2005.

COK began as a high school club and made a name for itself staging provocative anti-fur protests. Shapiro received a bachelor's degree in peace studies from George Washington University and taught peace studies at a public high school in Washington, D.C. During this time, Compassion Over Killing became well-known for its investigative work exposing conditions for farm animals on factory farms, at livestock auctions, and at slaughter plants, and for working to make veganism more desirable to the public.

Since joining the Humane Society of the U.S., Shapiro has directed an effort to convince retailers, food service providers, and universities to end their use of eggs from battery cages, pork from gestation crates, and to expand their vegan options, and has helped pass ballot initiatives that will phase out factory farming practices. Paul has been interviewed in hundreds of print, broadcast, and online news sources as an authority on farm animal protection and animal advocacy. 


 2009 Runkle Nathan

Nathan Runkle is the founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals. After a local farmed animal abuse case involving a piglet slammed headfirst into a concrete floor during an agriculture project at a nearby high school, Nathan founded Mercy For Animals to give "food" animals a much-needed advocate in his local community.

Since founding Mercy For Animals over a decade ago, Nathan has overseen the organization's growth into a leading national force in the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and promotion of compassionate food choices and policies.

A nationally recognized speaker on animal advocacy, factory farming, and veganism, Nathan has presented at colleges, conferences, and more across the U.S. Nathan has been featured in hundreds of newspaper, television, and radio interviews, including on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, 20/20, CNN, and National Public Radio, and in USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. 


 2010 Weil Zoe

Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education, and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement, which works to create a humane, peaceful, healthy and just world for all people, animals, and the environment through education. Zoe received a Master's in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master's in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania.

Zoe is the author of Most Good, Least Harm: The Simple Principle for a Better World and a Meaningful Life, The Power and Promise of Humane Education, and Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, as well as books for young people, numerous articles on humane education and humane living, and has appeared frequently on radio and television. Zoe speaks regularly at universities, conferences, schools, and in communities across the United States and Canada and periodically overseas. She has also served as a consultant on humane education to people and organizations around the world, and serves on the board of directors of HEART. 


 2011 Adams Carol

Carol J. Adams is an American writer, feminist, and animal rights advocate. She is the author of several books, including The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat, focusing on the links between the oppression of women and that of non-human animals.

As an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, she was involved in bringing women's studies courses to the University's course catalog. She obtained her MDiv from Yale Divinity School. She was executive director of the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry, Inc., Dunkirk, New York from the late 1970s to 1987. Adams has published around 100 articles or entries in journals, books, magazines, and encyclopedias on vegetarianism, animal rights, domestic violence, and sexual abuse.

She is also the author of Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian's Survival Handbook, which provides communication skills for avoiding abuse while dining with meat-eating friends, family, and coworkers who may be hostile. 


 2012 Connelly Joseph

Joe Connelly and Colleen Holland are the co-founders of VegNews Magazine.

Joe Connelly is the Publisher of VegNews Magazine. Prior to VegNews, Joe owned and operated Play It Again Records, a music collectibles business, for 15 years. After founding the Syracuse Area Vegetarian Education Society in 1996, Joe realized that the country needed a national publication to unify the vegetarian movement.

Together with co-founder Colleen Holland, they launched VegNews Magazine in 2000, with only $3,000 in start-up funds. Now the premier vegan lifestyle magazine, VegNews serves up the latest in vegan news, food, travel, politics, and buzz. Named one of the “Best 50 Magazines” by the Chicago Tribune (#18) and the country’s “Best Lifestyle Magazine” in 2008, 2009, and 2010, VegNews is read by more than 225,000 people in 38 countries. Joe came to vegetarianism initially from a passion for environmental issues, but now is a firm supporter of animal rights.

 2012 Holland Colleen

Colleen Holland is the co-creator and Associate Publisher of VegNews. Colleen is a graduate of UCLA and New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute and uses her passions for cooking, publishing and business to improve the image of veganism. Realizing a national magazine woul create a great platform for mainstreaming veganism, she and Joseph launched their publication as a 28-page newspaper tabloid in 2000.

Now an award-winning, full-color glossy magazine, VegNews has been taken to new heights. But in addition to this flagship publication, Colleen uses her background in food, marketing, and brand-building to create a savvy, internationally renowned media company, complete with digital properties, a collection of popular e-newsletters, blogs, cookbooks, events, and global vacations.


2013 Meier Erica

Erica Meier is the Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing, a non-profit animal advocacy organization that focuses on exposing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting vegan eating. Vegan for 20 years, Erica has been working in the animal protection field since college. Erica spent four years as an animal control officer in Washington, DC where she rescued sick, stray, and homeless animals and enforced anti-cruelty laws.

After being an active volunteer at COK for five years, Erica began serving as their Executive Director in 2005. COK’s undercover investigations inside factory farms have been featured in various newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. Since taking the helm, she has continued achieving accomplishments for animals by ending the egg industry’s use of the misleading claim “Animal Care Certified” and successfully persuading BOCA, LiteLife, MorningStar, and Quorn to eliminate or significantly cut back on egg usage.

She works to expand restaurant offerings of vegan food in order to make animal-free eating more convenient and tasty.

Camp Jon14

Jon Camp has become the first person to hand out one million booklets promoting a vegan diet. He has done this by leafleting at 523 different schools on 1,799 different occasions. For the past 10 years, Jon has lived, on average, half the year on the road, traveling from college to college. But before you think that handing out a million booklets is all that Jon has done, know that he has also given over 100 talks to the public on going vegan and getting active for animals. He has inspired countless people to take up leafleting (which is now embraced as one of the most effective tactics in the animal advocacy movement) and has recruited a number of other top leafleters. In fact, in addition to the million booklets Jon has handed out, another full 650,000 booklets have been handed out at events he has leafleted, most of which he organized.

Jon has done numerous radio and school newspaper interviews and has appeared on Reddit and in other online venues promoting vegan activism. Jon is a role model to today's crop of young activists, embodying hard work, strategic thinking, and humility. A testament of the appreciation for Jon's work was seen at the recent party for his millionth booklet in which over 100 activists traveled from across the country to attend. It's no overstatement to say that Jon is one of the most influential and beloved activists the animal advocacy movement has seen.


 2015 Balk Josh Josh Balk is the director of food policy for The Humane Society of the U.S., co-founder of Hampton Creek (developer of Beyond Eggs and other vegan products), and a former undercover investigator for Compassion Over Killing (COK). Beyond Hampton Creek, he gained venture capital for other plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies, as well as for in-vitro meat. Josh also got the three largest food service companies, Aramark, Sodexo, and Compass Group, to launch national programs to reduce meat consumption among their clients. He got Wendy's to add a black bean burger to its menu. Previously, with COK, Josh's undercover work at a Perdue slaughterhouse exposed the industry's atrocious killing methods. He also ran the organization's national television ad campaign exposing hundreds of thousands of college and high school students to the horrors of factory farming. He persuaded dozens of restaurants to add more vegan foods to their menus. 


tom reganed Tom Regan, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at North Carolina State University, has championed animal rights for more than forty years. Among his books are The Case for Animal Rights (1983), an influential argument for animal rights, and Animal Rights and Human Obligations (1976). In the early 1980s,Tom founded the Culture & Animals Foundation, which has given grants to scholars, artists, and activists. His annual Compassionate Living Festival brought academics and activists to share information, knowledge, and encouragement. He was instrumental in launching Human–Animal Studies, which explore animal issues through natural and social sciences. He took part in a sit-in at the National Institutes of Health in 1985 and led the March for the Animals in 1990.


Joy Melanie10 Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M., is a Harvard-educated psychologist, professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, celebrated speaker, and author of the award-winning book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. Dr. Joy is the eighth recipient of the Institute of Jainology’s Ahimsa Award, which was previously awarded to Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama and was presented to her in the British House of Commons. Dr. Joy has given her acclaimed carnism presentation in 17 countries, and her work has been featured by numerous media outlets worldwide. She is also author of Strategic Action for Animals, and is the founder and president of the Carnism Awareness and Action Network.


Ornelas lauren 2018 lauren Ornelas is the founder and executive director of Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.), a vegan food justice nonprofit that promotes veganism, fights for farm workers, works on lack of access to healthy foods in communities of color, and encourages people not to buy chocolate sourced from the worst forms of child labor. She has been active in the animal rights movement since 1987, having started the first high school animal rights group in San Antonio, Texas, and then Action for Animals, a group she launched in college and that is still active in Austin. In 1999, lauren was asked by Viva!UK to start and run Viva!USA in 1999. As the leader of Viva!USA, lauren investigated factory farms and ran consumer campaigns, working with activists nationwide. In cooperation with other activists, lauren persuaded Trader Joe’s to stop selling duck meat, convinced Pier 1 Imports to stop using feathers, and was the spark that got the CEO of Whole Foods Market to become a vegan. She also helped halt the construction of an industrial dairy operation in California. Watch lauren’s TEDx talk on The Power of Our Food Choices. Learn more about F.E.P.’s work at www.foodispower.org and www.veganmexicanfood.com.


Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award

The Henry Spira Grassroots Activist Award is presented each year by the Animal Rights National Conference to a grassroots animal activist in attendance who has made a lengthy and outstanding contribution to animal liberation at the grassroots level, while not employed by an animal organization. 

The Award honors the memory of the father of animal grassroots activism, Henry Spira, who passed away in 1998.

Past winners of the Award have been: Coby and Hans Siegenthaler, Paul Shapiro and Miyun Park, Janet Enoch, Marr Nealon, Chas Chiodo, Camille Hankins, Brenda Shoss, Saurabh Dalal, Joe Espinosa, Matt Kelly, lauren Ornelas, David Bemel, Anthony Marr, Kate Danaher, Bryan Pease & Kath Rogers, Brad Larsen and Nick Cooney, Unny Nambudiripad and Holly Sternberg, Armaiti May and Judy Carman, Lisa Shapiro, Bob Ingersoll, Gerardo Tristan, Ellen Ericksen and Brenda Sanders


Lisa Shapiro Young Animal Activist Award

The Young Animal Activist Award is presented each year by the Animal Rights National Conference to a young person who has made an outstanding contribution to animal liberation before his/her 18th birthday. 

The award honors the memory of animal rights activist Lisa Shapiro, who passed away in 2015.

Past winners have been: Kathryn Blomgren, Mike Markarian, David Berman, Katy Reagan, Marc Freligh, Danny Seo, Ella Magers, Paul Shapiro, Chu Hui Cha, Patrick Kwan, Nathan Runkle, Erin Creegan, Janine Ireland, Melissa Cavagnaro, Aryenish Birdie, Rick Corbett, Meili Swanson, Jack Nunn, Niki Gianni, Juliet West, Martin Welych Flanagan, Thomas Ponce, Andrew Puccetti, Abigail Marie Serfilippi, Lila Copeland, Zoe Rosenberg and Genesis Butler.