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

Speaker Bios



Carol J. Adams is an activist, independent scholar, and author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, now in a Bloomsbury Revelations edition celebrating its 25th anniversary. She is the co-editor of several anthologies, most recently Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth (with Lori Gruen). The Carol J. Adams Reader: Writings and Conversations 1995-2015 appeared in 2016. She frequently shows The Sexual Politics of Meat on college campuses. Her most recent book is Even Vegans Die with Patti Breitman and Ginny Messina. Read more about Carol here.


Toni Adleberg has been a researcher at Animal Charity Evaluators since May 2016. In this role, she investigates animal advocacy interventions and organizations in order to help volunteers and donors maximize their impact. Toni has a master’s degree in philosophy and cognitive science and currently resides in Florida.


Samantha Annilyn is the founder of Audrey Unchained, a lifestyle company dedicated to creating a better world for animals, people and planet through vegan fashion and beyond.  Audrey Unchained recently introduced their first collection, Unchained Hearts, which was made to raise awareness about animals in the fashion industry in the hopes that more people would choose to Live Unchained. Samantha is a proud vegan and has been a passionate animal activist since 2010.  She is grateful to be a part of the animal rights movement and is excited to join (and meet!) the hundreds of amazing speakers and exhibitors at this year's conference.


James Aspey hit news headlines around the world after breaking a 365 day vow of silence to raise awareness for animals and promote peace over violence. His first words were watched by millions and inspired countless people to move towards and become vegan. James travels around the world giving free motivational speeches on his journey from getting diagnosed with cancer and being given 6 weeks to live, to becoming a passionate animal rights activist. His most famous video, “This Speech Is Your Wake Up Call" has over 10 million views online.


Jessika Ava, MS, MPA is the FARM International Programs Director, where she is responsible for expanding FARM’s efforts into India and China by building local group capacity and introducing modern vegan advocacy campaigns. Jessika has analyzed industrial dairy emergence into SE Asia, assisted in building the campaign that terminated plans for India’s first CAFO, has managed a street dog rescue NGO, and provides philanthropic support to enable effective giving towards Asian farm sanctuaries and street animal rescues. She has also worked in elephant conservation and primate ethology. She sits on the board of Help Animals India and Out to Pasture Sanctuary.


Josh Balk is the Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States where he leads efforts shifting the food service industry to focus on plant-based foods, passing laws criminalizing factory farm practices, and enacting corporate policies abolishing farm animal confinement systems. He's also a founder of Hampton Creek, a food tech company Bill Gates honored as one of the top three companies to forever change the food industry. Inc Magazine named Josh as one of its "35 under 35.”


Joel Bartlett is the Vice President of Marketing for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). He oversees PETA's massive online and social media presence. Under his guidance, PETA has become the most engaged-with advocacy organization on Facebook and Twitter. The organization's popular parody games—which Bartlett writes—have been played millions of times, and over 1.5 million actions for animals have been taken each year through PETA's successful iPhone apps. When he isn't busy traveling the world, Bartlett can be found planning his next trip from his apartment in New York City.


Gene Baur is co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization. Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine. For 25 years he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our cheap food system. His book, entitled Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, was published by Touchstone in March 2008 and has appeared on the Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe best-seller lists.


Dotsie Bausch is a passionate vegan, animal protection die hard, 8-time U.S. National cycling Champion, former world record holder, two-time Pan American gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist from the 2012 Olympic Games, where she stood on the podium as the oldest athlete in history in her discipline and ALL on a plant based diet! In 2016, ChooseVeg.com voted Dotsie as one of the 20 Badass Veg Women Who Are Making History! She recently launched her own non-profit, animal protection organization, Compassion Champ that focuses on shining light on the truth of our modern agricultural food system, educating audiences on the power of a plant based diet and developing teams of Compassion Champs all over the world to spread the vegan message far and wide. 

Berger17 Jamie Berger is Media Production Manager at international farmed animal protection organization Mercy For Animals. With professional experience that includes federal lobbying, public relations, and multimedia content production, Jamie currently oversees a global team of media professionals who bring inspiring, educational video content to hundreds of millions of people worldwide every year. Her writing on behalf many animal protection movement leaders has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA TODAYThe Guardian, and other major national and international news outlets.

Jaya Bhumitra has 10 years of campaigns, public affairs and public relations experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors as well as academic degrees in marketing, international business and psychology. She serves as International Director of Corporate Outreach for Animal Equality and previously served as Director of Corporate Outreach for Mercy For Animals and Campaigns Director for Compassion Over Killing. Jaya is also on the advisory council of Encompass and the boards of Food Empowerment Project and the Los Angeles chapter of New Leaders Council.


Aryenish Birdie, M.A., is founder and executive director of Encompass, a new organization aimed at increasing effectiveness in the farmed animal protection movement by fostering greater racial diversity, equity, and inclusion while empowering advocates of color. Prior to Encompass, she spent seven years at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine promoting alternatives to animal tests. As a lobbyist, she was part of a four-woman team instrumental in reforming the Toxic Substance Control Act to ensure that animal protection language was integrated into the law.


Edita Birnkrant is Executive Director of NYCLASS, a political action and activism organization for animals based out of New York City. Prior to joining NYCLASS, Edita worked for 12 years on numerous local, national and international animal protection issues for wildlife and domestic animals around the world, was integral in introducing and enacting legislation into law to benefit animals and is a leader in the campaign to get carriage horses off New York City streets and other cities. Edita is a longtime vegan and has promoted veganism around the country.

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Jon Bockman has spent the last decade working in a large variety of animal advocacy causes, including concurrently managing multiple wildlife rehabilitation centers, serving as a humane investigator in Illinois, and working at a humane society. Jon also founded a 501(c)(3) farm animal advocacy group and ran a small business selling vegan food locally. After several years of intensive outreach efforts, Jon joined Animal Charity Evaluators as Executive Director, as he believes that using evidence and reason to inform our philanthropy is paramount to our success as a movement.

Bohanec Hope

Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 20 years and published the book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? She is a nationally recognized leader and speaker in the animal protection movement, and serves as Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns. Hope is also the Executive Director of Compassionate Living, a Sonoma County, California based vegan outreach organization. Before this, Hope offered her organizational talents as the Campaigns Director at In Defense of Animals. Hope the primary organizer for UPC’s annual Conscious Eating Conference at UC Berkeley as well as the Sonoma County VegFest and she is currently working on her second book, The Humane Hoax. 


Nikki Bollaert is president of Blue Raven Strategic, LLC and has worked in the field of development and philanthropy for 24 years, building development programs at nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions and through her consulting practice. She has spent the past decade devoting her skills and experience to animal protection and advocacy organizations. Nikki specializes in rapid and sustainable revenue expansion through the building and implementation of integrated multi-channel fundraising programs.


Patti Breitman is a co-founder of Dharma Voices for Animals and director of The Marin Vegetarian Education Group. She is the co-author of many books including EVEN VEGANS DIE (with a foreword by Dr. Michael Greger).   She is on the advisory councils of the Animals and Society Institute and Jewish Veg.  In 2016 she was honored to receive the Lisa Shapiro Award for Unsung Vegan Heroes.  Patti lives in Fairfax, CA where her neighbors and friends include coyotes, foxes, rabbits, bobcats, spiders, birds, snakes, deer, and countless other beautiful creatures.


Asher Brown is the founder of Pollution.tv, a Los Angeles-based agency specializing in branded video and social media content. Pollution works with conscious companies, using an extensive network of creative and production resources to tell stories that build brands and improve the world. With a client list including dozens of non profits (Farm Sanctuary, PETA, FARM USA) and plant-based industry leaders (Veggie Grill, Follow Your Heart, So Delicious, Beyond Meat, Sun Warrior, V Dog, Gardein), Asher and team are helping to fuel the digital revolution that’s transforming the animal rights movement. You can find Asher on Insta at @smasherbrown.

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Karen Budkie, is Co-Founder & Operations Manager of Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN), which works exclusively on the animal experimentation issue by successfully terminating research projects, forcing the USDA to take legal action against labs, & coordinating release of animals into sanctuaries. Karen’s activism started in the 1970s by supporting leg hold trap legislation and eliminating live dissection of guinea pigs at her high school, and has been a vegan since 1986. For the past 20+ years, she has concentrated her many talents on SAEN’s campaigns and daily operation.

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Michael Budkie, A.H.T., is the co-founder and Executive Director of Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN), which works exclusively on the animal experimentation issue by successfully terminating research projects, forcing the USDA to take legal action against laboratories, & coordinating release of animals into sanctuaries. After witnessing the atrocities of animal experimentation during his education, he successfully ended a head injury experiment on cats at the Univ. of Cincinnati, which launched his career leading to positions with several national organizations and co-founding SAEN. He has been published & travels extensively, appearing on TV & radio programs to expose the truth about animal experimentation.

Caldwell Krystal Caldwell is the Data Analytics Manager at Mercy For Animals where she conducts research and data analysis to improve the effectiveness of MFA's programs. Before her time at MFA, Krystal completed a research internship at Animal Charity Evaluators and a Master's in Environment and Sustainability. Outside of MFA, she conducts research for Animal Welfare Action Lab, where she conducted an impact evaluation of reading a pro-veg article with the Reducetarian Foundation. 

David Cantor, a full-time animal advocate since 1989, founded Responsible Policies for Animals (RPA) in 2002 after working for several prominent organizations where he shared in many major victories for nonhuman animals.  He has spoken throughout the U.S., has published many essays, articles, and letters, interviewed with many media, and educated thousands of policymakers.  His latest published essay is “Beyond Humanism, Toward a New Animalism” in Circles of Compassion.  RPA campaigns to end indoctrination by universities, schools, news, and other institutions that promote abuse of human beings and Earth’s other animals.  RPA’s goals are total liberation and equal rights of all animals.


Jon Camp is the Vice President, Grassroots for The Humane League. Prior to coming to THL, Jon spent 11 years working for Vegan Outreach, eventually serving as their Executive Vice President. Throughout 2004 - 2014, Jon traveled throughout North America, leafleting college campuses for VO. In this time, he personally leafleted over a million individuals at over 500 colleges and universities. In 2014, FARM recognized Jon for his contribution to grassroots animal advocacy by inducting him into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame.


Michelle Carrera is the founder of Chilis on Wheels, a mobile vegan soup kitchen which provides vegan food to those in need of a warm meal, as well as advocates for veganism within communities of low income. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Michelle is an Unschooling mother, and translator with a passion for community building and justice. She is currently on TheVTeamTour, living in a van, building communities around free vegan food across the country. 


Lisbet Chiriboga is the Program Coordinator for TeachKind at PETA.  Previously, she was a classroom teacher for 12 years.  She incorporated humane education throughout the curriculum as well as during afterschool clubs focused on helping animals.  Ms. Chiriboga also taught at the summer camp for Catskill Animal Sanctuary.  She serves on the Executive Board of the United Federation of Teachers – Humane Education Committee and has conducted teacher workshops on animal rights issues for 15 years. She is one of the founders of Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART).


Jeffrey Cohan is the Executive Director of Jewish Veg, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and help Jews to transition to veganism. Jeffrey became a vegetarian in 2007 and a vegan in 2011 after studying what the Torah instructs us about our dietary choices. An experienced public speaker, he worked in print and broadcast journalism for 18 years before starting a second career in Jewish communal service. Jeffrey was the Director of Community Relations for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh from 2005-2012, then took the helm of Jewish Veg, then known as Jewish Vegetarians of North America, in 2012.

Coman Hidy David

David Coman-Hidy is the President of The Humane League. Under his leadership, The Humane League has grown into an international presence with offices spanning from New York City to Tokyo — winning campaigns against some of the largest food corporations in the world and reaching millions of young people each year with a message of compassion for farmed animals. The Humane League is ranked as "Best In America" by the Independent Charities of America, and has been named "Top Charity" by the charity navigator Animal Charity Evaluators for every one of their rating periods, the only group with this distinction.

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Nick Cooney helps lead Mercy For Animals, one of the world’s top-ranked animal charities. In his book, How To Be Great At Doing Good, he highlights how improving the cost-effectiveness of charities is critical to saving as many animals as possible. He co-founded The Good Food Institute, which harnesses new technologies to replace animal agriculture with plant-based and lab-grown meat, eggs, and dairy. He also founded The Humane League and co-founded New Crop Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in plant-based and clean (lab-grown) meat, egg, and dairy companies. 


Richard ‘Kudo’ Couto is the Founder & Lead Investigator of The Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) and has spearheaded major undercover investigations that have resulted in disabling an unprecedented number of inhumane underground animal torture operations. A key accomplishment was unilaterally investigating the largest extreme animal cruelty zone in the history of the United States (over 75 operations). Titled “Operation Restore” by the State of Florida and Federal Government, Kudo's work lead to one of the largest collaboration of task forces for an animal cruelty investigation that has ever been assembled. His work has been highlighted on ESPN, MTV, The National Geographic Channel and other news networks world wide. 


Chelsea Davis is the coordinator for FARM's annual Animal Rights National Conference. It is clear that Chelsea dedicates her life to helping animals when you look at her involvement in the movement. She has been the key to many successful large vegan outreach events including Portland VegFest and the Northwest Health and Nutrition Conference. In addition, Chelsea has organized nation leafleting and outreach tours, regularly attends protests against rodeos, circuses, and the use of animal skins, uses her training as a certified humane educator to teach courses on vegan living, volunteers, and raises money for several different animal groups, and continues to harness the power of social media to drive change. She is currently a board member and the Fundraising Event Coordinator of Out to Pasture Farm Sanctuary and is excited to use her skills to assist in organizing FARM's annual Animal Rights National Conference.


Karen Davis, PhD is the Founder and President of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. Karen is the author of The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale; Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry, and More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality. An influential speaker and writer, Karen contributes to many publications including an article on Animal Personhood in Meat Culture. Award-winningly profiled in The Washington Post in “For the Birds,” in 2002 Karen Davis was inducted into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Liberation.

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Mark Devries is the producer and director of Speciesism: The Movie, which has become widely used by animal advocates as an introduction to animal rights. He also directed the world's first drone-based investigation of factory farming, which has been viewed by millions worldwide and received major press coverage.


Stacey Ellison is a Research Analyst for Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN), which works exclusively on the animal experimentation issue by successfully terminating research projects, forcing the USDA to take legal action against labs, and coordinating release of animals into sanctuaries. In addition to traveling for SAEN and appearing regularly in the news media to expose criminal labs, Stacey is a mother to three special needs animals and a vegan for 10+ years.

Finelli Mary

Mary Finelli is founder and president of Fish Feel. Mary is a long-time animal rights activist with a B.S. in Animal Science. She has worked with various animal protection organizations, having a primary focus on farmed animals. Mary was the Producer of Farmed Animal Watch, a weekly online news digest. She has also assisted with research for several books, and co-wrote a chapter of In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave. Fish Feel is the sole organization devoted exclusively to promoting the recognition of fishes as sentient beings deserving of respect and protection. Fish Feel primarily serves to help educate the public about these wondrous animals, the immense problems caused by the exploitation of them, and how we can help protect them.


Bruce Friedrich is the Executive Director of The Good Food Institute (GFI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes plant-based and clean meat alternatives to industrially produced animal products. Inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2004, Bruce worked for 13 years at PETA, most recently as vice president for campaigns, and for five years as policy director for Farm Sanctuary. He has presented repeatedly at most of the nation's top universities, co-authored two books, contributed to five more, and has written six law review articles about animal protection issues. Bruce graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and also holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, and Grinnell College.

FunkhouserM17 Maggie Funkhouser is an activist and award-winning writer and editor. Over the past twenty years, she’s advocated for the humane treatment of community and feral cats, with a focus on moving public policies away from lethal methods of cat management towards non-lethal practices. The greater part of Maggie’s career encompassed working as the Director of Communications for Alley Cat Rescue, an international organization located in the Washington, D.C. area. She’s a member of the Cat Writers’ Association and a founding member of Intelligent Vegan.
Ginger17 Mistress Ginger is your typical quadruple threat diva: singer, dancer, actress, and vegan know-it-all. When she's not dazzling audiences with the latest Junkyard Cabaret production, she can be found cooking up tantalizing vegan meals for one or more of her many lovers. Ginger is also the winner of a 2007 Sage Award for Best Performance and author of  Mistress Ginger Cooks!: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone which has wowed the critics with its high-heeled brand of plant-based cookery. Find it on Amazon or get autographed copies from the Mistress herself.

Caryn Ginsberg is author of Animal Impact: Secrets Proven to Achieve Results and Move the World. This book on effective advocacy has earned praise from Peter Singer, Erica Meier, Gene Baur, Bruce Friedrich and others. As founder of Priority Ventures Group, Caryn has spent more than 15 years helping animal protection organizations, first as a consultant and now as a graphic recorder and infographics creator. Her clients have included ALDF, Farm Sanctuary, HSUS and more. She is Board President for Faunalytics, a market research nonprofit dedicated to animal issues. 

GoodmanJ17 Justin Goodman is the Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at the non-profit White Coat Waste Project (WCW). He leads grassroots campaigns and bipartisan lobbying efforts focused on exposing and ending $20 billion in taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs, monkeys and other animals. For over a decade, Justin has worked on successful campaigns to stop animal experiments by government-funded universities, federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies as well as pass related laws and policies. He has spoken at colleges and conferences around the world, taught university courses on animal protection, and his work has been featured the New York Times, LA Times, USA Today, Associated Press, BBC, Science, FOX, Cosmopolitan, and other influential news outlets. 
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Robert Grillo is the director of Free from Harm, a non profit dedicated to farmed animal education and advocacy. As an activist, author and speaker, Grillo draws insights from popular culture, branding, sociology, psychology, and social justice to bridge the gap between humans and other species. He is the author of the book, Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture which exposes the many ways we have all been conditioned into a culture of animal consumption and what we can do to change that.


Zach Groff is an organizer with Animal Liberation Collective, a newly independent, democratic network under the Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) platform. A recipient of the Ling-Ann Hsiung Memorial Fellowship with Friends of DxE, Zach has secured press hits in the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN. Zach serves on the Oversight Committee for the Animal Advocacy Research Fund and was previously a Research Analyst for Yale economist Dean Karlan at Innovations for Poverty Action, a leading global nonprofit that pioneered the use of “gold standard” randomized evaluations for poverty alleviation programs.

GuimaraesG17 George Guimaraes is a vegan dietitian and animal rights activist in Brazil. As a dietitian, his practice is dedicated to the research of vegetarian diets and counseling of vegan/vegetarian patients through NUTRIVEGConsulting on Vegetarian Nutrition. He is also a regular lecturer at universities and events for the general public and contributes regularly as a writer. Guimaraes is also a dedicated activist, founder and president of VEDDAS (Ethical Vegetarianism, Animal Rights Defense and Society), the most active animal rights organization in Brazil.

Chris Guinn works as a Campus Outreach Director for The Humane League, supervising a team of student Campus Organizers in The Humane League's thriving international Campus Outreach Program. Through this program, Chris works to cultivate the future leaders of our animal protection movement by mentoring students in high-impact activism and leadership training. Previously, Chris worked extensively as a grassroots organizer, establishing The Humane League's presence in the city of Atlanta, GA. He began his animal activism career while in college as a volunteer with The Humane League.

Gunn Andrea small

Andrea Gunn is the Executive Vice President for The Humane League, leading strategic initiatives to strengthen programs, sustain growth, and maximize impact for animals. Andrea helped facilitate the Humane League’s growth from 7 to 40+ staff in under 3 years and develops internal systems to support continued expansion. She believes that effective management is the foundation of effective advocacy, and has presented on the subject both nationally and abroad. The Humane League is ranked as "Best In America" by the Independent Charities of America and has been named "Top Charity" by the charity navigator Animal Charity Evaluators for all of their rating periods, the only group with this distinction.


Hayden Hamilton is the Grassroots Activation Manager of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). Responsible for organizing FARMs “days of action,” including Meatout and World Day for Farmed Animals, as well as working to advance a national conversation about vegan eating and training local activists. The greater part of Hayden’s career has centered on animal rights, working as a Campaigner for PETA and in fundraising for Sea Shepherd Conversation Society. Outside of work, Hayden travels full time in an RV with her husband, 5 cats, a dog, and a silkie chicken.

Hargreaves Susan

Susan Hargreaves is the author and the woman behind Animal Hero Kids, empowers and recognizes kind youth. She's an award-winning educator, radio host, ex-undercover investigator and activist. She will conduct an interactive program on how to use her new guidebook Animal Hero Kids: Voices for the Voiceless, which includes tips from famous animal advocates; Joaquin Phoenix, Russell Simmons, Sir Paul McCartney, and Jessica Chastain. Russell Simmons said her “book is for anyone who cares about animals, kindness and justice.” Hargreaves headed up ARKII -the Canadian Animal Rights Network, Earth Save Miami, created Animal Voices, a Toronto radio series; is a Distinguished Educator, Eco-Hero Humane & Environmental Education award-winner; former Wildlife Care Center Education Director. Susan has been an animal defender for almost four decades.


Julie Henry is a biologist, conservationist, and co-founder of Saving Wild Sumatra. She has been a wildlife investigator since 2009 focusing on Southeast Asia's black-market wildlife trade. In 2016 she and Tod Emko, co-founder of Darwin Animal Doctors, traveled to Sumatra, Indonesia to document the impacts of the palm oil industry. This led to the birth of Saving Wild Sumatra, a conservation project helping the locals of Sumatra save their villages, rainforest, and animals, from the palm oil industry and the illegal exotic pet trade. Their film Saving Wild Sumatra releases this summer. Julie is also a wildlife veterinary technician, an environmental educator, and photographer/cinematographer.

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Alex Hershaft, Ph.D., is the Animal Rights Conference Chair and founding President of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). He launched World Farm Animals Day in 1983, the Great American Meatout in 1985, Gentle Thanksgiving in 1990, and has organized 20 national Animal Rights conferences. He is a member of the Vegetarian and the Animal Rights Halls of Fame. Dr. Hershaft describes himself as a "late bloomer", having accomplished all this after earning a Ph.D. in chemistry and devoting nearly 30 years to science research and consulting.


Krista Hiddema serves as vice president for Mercy For Animals in Canada. Since setting up in Canada just five years ago, MFA has ushered in extraordinary change for farmed animals. Krista, along with MFA’s heroic volunteers, supporters, staff, and investigators, has ushered in historic policy changes, unprecedented legal reforms, and soaring public awareness. Krista is honoured to be vice president for MFA in Canada, working every day for the most abused animals in world. She feels deeply fortunate to help lead an animal protection organization rated the world’s top by Animal Charity Evaluators four years in a row!

HintonA17 Ally Hinton is the Online Marketing Manager for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). She has been working in digital marketing and video production for over ten years. Prior to working at FARM she worked as the Head of Digital Marketing for Rethink Homelessness promoting compassion and human rights for the community. One of her projects, Cardboard Stories: Homeless In Orlando went viral in 2015 gaining national & international attention. Ally is passionate about marketing for non-profits and for animal rights. She has worked to promote animal welfare and human rights for many years.

Emma Hurst is a Registered Psychologist, BA(Psy), PGDip(Psy), M(HealthPsy) and the Campaign Director at Animal Liberation, an Australian based charity that works to end the suffering of exploited and confined animals internationally. She has been involved in animal rights for 16 years. At Animal Liberation she works on campaign design, strategy and research to end intensive and partial confinement (free range) farming. In 2015 she also set up an organisation that rehomes animals used in medical research. So far the group has rehomed several hundred animals.

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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.


Sebastian Joy, M.A., teaches NGO-management at the Berlin School and Economics and Law and is founder and director of ProVeg International - a pro-vegan food awareness organisation with the mission to reduce global animal consumption by 50% by the year 2040. Animal Charity Evaluator rates ProVeg International as one of the most effective charities in Europe. Sebastian initiated "VeggieWorld", the world’s largest vegan fair with over 100.000 visitors each year, as well as Europe’s largest conference on plant-based nutrition ‘VegMed’. He invented the first B12-toothpaste and established an influential vegan catering training program as well as a vegan start-up program. Through political lobbying, Sebastian has promoted the EU-wide legal definition of the terms "vegetarian" and "vegan". He has received several international creativity, PR and marketing awards for his campaigns promoting veganism.


Stephen R. Kaufman, MD is the chair of the Christian Vegetarian Association and vice-chair of the Medical Research Modernization Committee. His books include Guided by the Faith of Christ: Seeking to Stop Violence and Scapegoating and coauthor of Good News for All Creation He edited the six-volumePerspectives on Medical Experimentation series. His articles include “Animal Research is Wasteful and Misleading” published in Scientific American with coauthor Dr. Neal Barnard. He has also written on animal advocacy strategy and avoiding activist burnout.

Kemmerer Lisa 2

Dr. Lisa Kemmerer is a philosopher-activist and a professor, known internationally for her work on behalf of anymals, the environment, and disempowered human beings. An activist for decades, she has written/edited nine books advocating for animals, including Eating Earth: Dietary Choice and Environmental Health; Animals and World Religions; and Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice.  (For more information, visit lisakemmerer.com)


Jeff Kerr has been general counsel to PETA for 21 years, leading the world’s largest, most effective animal rights legal team, named Legal Department of the Year 2017 by Corporate Counsel. His high-profile cases—including the landmark 13th Amendment case Tilikum v. SeaWorld, the first-ever successful constitutional challenge to "ag-gag" laws, and the groundbreaking “Monkey Selfie” copyright case—have made headlines and sparked a conversation about animals' legal rights worldwide. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law and George Mason University, where he was a Weber scholar.


Michael A. Klaper, M.D. is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago and has practiced acute care medicine in Hawaii, Canada, California, Florida and New Zealand. Far more fulfilling to him is his current practice, focusing on health- promoting food and lifestyle choices to help people stay out of hospitals and off of operating tables. He has authored numerous articles on plant-based nutrition is authoring a book on using plant- based medicine to arrest and reverse disease. To improve the health of his patients as well as his own, and to minimize suffering of sentient beings, Dr. Klaper adopted a plant-based diet in 1981. He currently practices nutritionally-based medicine at True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, California.

Kroplick Marilyn

Marilyn Kroplick, MD, is president of In Defense of Animals, a board-certified psychiatrist, and award-winning socio-political photographer.
Her passion for animal rights was ignited in 2002 after purchasing a puppy from a pet store who became terribly sick. Dr. Kroplick’s fight for justice led her to discover the system of abuse that brings puppies to pet stores, and successfully expose and shut down that store. Since 2011, Dr. Kroplick has led In Defense of Animals’ powerful campaigns to end the dog meat trade, advocate for elephants, strengthen animal cruelty laws, and save animals in need around the world. Dr. Kroplick is using her extensive expertise to build a movement that supports activists to achieve animal liberation.


Honey LaBronx is the host of The Vegan Drag Queen Cooking Show and also Big Fat Vegan Radio with her co-host Laura Yaz. Also an LGBTQ rights activist, Honey uses her exposure as a drag performer to spread the vegan message to new audiences. A member of Queer Rising, Honey was heavily involved in the 2011 fight for marriage equality in New York State. She even went to jail fighting for marriage equality along with her drag mother, Bob The Drag Queen (winner of Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race). Audiences have enjoyed her performances around the world.


Indra Lahiri, PhD was called “a storyteller, dreamer, and friend of the animals,” by the Anishinaabe Medicine Man who adopted her into the White Earth Nation, naming her  “Ishkudeikwe” (Woman of the Fire). She has rescued thousands of animals from dire circumstances around the world.  Indra tells the animals’ stories in her writing and speaking, and lives amongst them between her travels.  In the course of her decades of learning from the animals, Indra founded Indraloka Animal Sanctuary (2005) and co-organized the newly forming Global Coalition of Farm Sanctuaries.  Her award-winning blog is followed by tens of thousands of readers on every continent.  Indra is grateful to dedicate her life to helping traumatized animals rediscover joy, love, and trust.


Robin Lamont is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. The Kinship Series of suspense/thrillers features a passionate animal protection investigator. The Chain, set in a slaughterhouse town, was a Foreword Reviews Finalist. The screenplay adaptation was a finalist in the Socially Relevant Film Festival. The Trap exposes a culture of cruelty out West. The third in the series, The Experiment, will be released in the spring. Robin has worked as an actress on Broadway, an undercover investigator, and an Assistant District Attorney. She believes that stories are a powerful way to change hearts and minds. 

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Carrie LeBlanc, MA, is a nonprofit management and fundraising consultant, and is the Executive Director of CompassionWorks International, a nonprofit dedicated to building a more compassionate world for all beings. Carrie has been advocating for animals since she was a teenager and brings a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector to the animal protection movement. In addition to serving as the former Director of Operations for Mercy For Animals, Carrie has consulted for numerous groups including Compassion Over Killing and Darwin Animal Doctors and has served on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties.

LeenaertT17 Tobias Leenaert blogs at veganstrategist and is a longtime speaker and strategist. Together with Melanie Joy, Tobias gives vegan advocacy trainings all over the world for the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy (CEVA). He is also the co-founder of ProVeg, an international pro-vegan organization with the mission to reduce the global consumption of animals by 50% by the year 2040. Tobias is the author of How to Create a Vegan World: a Pragmatic Approach. He lives in Ghent, Belgium, with his partner, two dogs, and six cats.

Bob Leonard has spent the last twenty plus years as a grass roots animal activist. Convinced that lasting progress for animals in America is best achieved by creating and empowering community based, multi issue, animal rights entities, his work involves organizing, facilitating and leading groups, coalitions and initiatives at a local level. From 2006-2010 he coordinated MAARC, a coalition of twelve animal rights groups from four mid-Atlantic states. He is a former Vice President of and current advisor to Delaware Action for Animals, co-director of Animal Rights/Vegan Advocacy in Palm Beach County and co- coordinator of Florida Wildlife Advocates.

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Joshua Levine is a Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor with RBC Wealth Management. He focuses on integrating environmental, social, and governance metrics (socially responsible investing) in investment decisions.  Within that framework, he specializes in animal welfare investing through customized social screening and shareholder advocacy.  Joshua works with individual investors and nonprofits to provide highly customized financial and investment solutions.  Joshua’s team is structured to provide a consultative relationship with clients to preserve their wealth, develop detailed Investment and Social Policy statements, and construct properly diversified portfolios within the context of supporting animal welfare.  As an investment fiduciary, he empowers clients to make investment decisions that are in line with their personal ethics, without sacrificing return. 

Lisa Levinson directs In Defense of Animals’ Sustainable Activism Campaign, which offers emotional and spiritual support for animal activists via a helpline, support groups, and online events. Lisa organizes Vegan Spirituality groups and retreats to explore veganism as a spiritual practice. She co-founded Public Eye: Artists for Animals to teach compassion for animals through the arts and founded the Toad Detour to help migrating toads safely cross the road in Philadelphia.


Eric C Lindstrom went vegan overnight. This single lifestyle change ultimately led to a popular food blog, a successful design and marketing firm, and eventually to the 2017 release of his first book, The Skeptical Vegan (which then led to his second book, 2018’s Mind Your Peas and Cukes: A Guide to Raising Vegan Kids. Today, Lindstrom is the Program and Marketing Director for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and manages the online views and vegan support programs. Eric currently resides in Ithaca, NY with his vegan wife, two vegan toddlers, and vegan dog named Kimchi.

Liptrot17 Chris Liptrot is the Director of Corporate Relations at The Humane League. In this position, Chris engages with many of the largest corporations in the world to improve the treatment of farmed animals in their supply chains, as well as overseeing an international team of activists that carry out this work in their respective countries. Through dialogue with major global food companies, the Corporate Relations team at The Humane League has helped facilitate some of the broadest, most impactful policies for farmed animals in history.

Nora Constance Marino, Esq. is an attorney in New York City.  In 2015, Nora was the lead counsel for Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos v. City of New York, a lawsuit to stop an event wherein 60,000 chickens are slaughtered in illegal make shift slaughterhouses on city streets in the name of a religious ceremony.  The lower court dismissed the action, but Nora and her team appealed, and a decision is pending.  In 2014, Nora formed the Animal Cruelty Exposure Fund, a 501c3 whose mission is to expose animal cruelty through main stream media.  To date, ACEF has gotten four commercials on the air, including on CNN in New York, LA, Dallas, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh.


Jo-Anne McArthur is an award-winning photographer, author, and educator based in Toronto, Canada. She has been documenting our complex relationship with animals around the globe for fifteen years, and is the founder of We Animals and, with Dr. Keri Cronin, the co-founder of the Unbound Project. Jo-Anne’s first book, We Animals, was published in 2014, and her second book, Captive, will be released this summer.

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Rachel McCrystal is the Executive Director of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. She came to the Sanctuary in 2014 as the organizations's first Development Director. Prior to that, Rachel served in senior leadership positions at Best Friends Animal Society and the Pennsylvania SPCA. Her move into the role of Executive Director in April of 2017 cements a decade long career in service to animal rights.

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Dr. Shirley McGreal is the founder of the International Primate Protection League (IPPL). She began her work on behalf of primate protection while residing in Thailand in 1973. She formed IPPL after witnessing the deplorable conditions under which primates were captured, sold and transported. IPPL specializes in fighting the highly organized and often illegal traffic in apes and monkeys and makes grants to overseas primate sanctuaries and rescue groups. IPPL operates a sanctuary which is home to 37 gibbons, many from research labs. Dr. McGreal has received a number of awards, including the Order of the British Empire in 2008.


Mick McIntyre is a renowned, award wining Director/Cinematographer. He was given a super 8mm movie camera when he was 12 years old and has been making films ever since.  He has spent 35 years working in the film industry and is passionate about making documentaries that inspire and satisfy our thirst for great stories. He has made several documentaries that celebrate our natural environment including “What to do about Whales” and “Gaining Ground”. His latest film “KANGAROO” reveals an unlikely truth about Australia’s love-hate relationship with its beloved icon.


Rachel Meeropol is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.  Rachel is lead counsel on Ziglar v. Abbasi, a class action lawsuit against high-level federal officials for the post-911 detention and abuse of Muslim non-citizens, heard in the Supreme Court last term. Rachel also represents federal prisoners in restrictive Communication Management Units, California prisoners held for decades in solitary confinement, and animal rights activists targeted as “terrorists” for non-violent protest activities.  Rachel has written two editions of the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook, and was the contributing editor of “America’s Disappeared: Secret Imprisonment, Detainees, and the War on Terror,” published in 2005 by Seven Stories Press. Rachel graduated from NYU School of Law in 2002.

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Erica Meier is the Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing, a non-profit animal advocacy organization based in Washington , D.C. that focuses on exposing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting vegetarian eating. COK’s undercover investigations inside factory farms have been featured in various newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. Before working at COK, Erica spent four years as an animal control officer in D.C., rescuing sick, injured, and homeless animals as well as enforcing animal protection laws.


Vesanto Melina is lead author of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ current position paper on vegetarian diets. She co-authored 11 books on plant-based nutrition and foods, (most with Brenda Davis), now in 10 languages and with over 750,000 copies in print. Becoming Vegan: Express Edition and Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition won multiple book awards and star rating by American Library Association as `the go to book` on vegan nutrition. Her goal is to help those who adopt plant-based diets achieve excellent health. See www.nutrispeak.com and www.becomingvegan.ca


Ginny Messina, MPH, RD has written ten books for vegans including Vegan for Life, Vegan for Her and Even Vegans Die. She writes and speaks about vegan nutrition, preventing ex-vegans, and the importance of body positivity in the vegan community.  She is co-author of the first vegetarian textbook for health professionals, The Dietitian’s Guide to Vegetarian Diets, and publishes articles on plant-based nutrition and soy nutrition in the medical literature. Ginny is on the board of directors of Vegfund, Eden Animal Sanctuary, and Alley Cat Rescue, and on the advisory boards of VegYouth, One Step for Animals, the Vegan Trade Council and the True Health Initiative.


Kristie Middleton is the senior food policy director for The Humane Society of the United States and a leading figure in the movement to reform our global food system. She’s the author of MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live—One Meal at a Time, a sought-after speaker, and thought leader on the topic. Middleton and her work have been covered by national media, including The New York Times, Los Angeles TimesPolitico, CNN and countless others. 

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Dawn Moncrief is the Founder and Executive Director of A Well-Fed World, a Washington DC-based hunger relief and animal protection organization that partners with and financially strengthens vegan feeding programs for people in need, farm animal care and rescue efforts and vegan outreach campaigns. She holds two master’s degrees from The George Washington University in international relations and in women's studies, both with a focus on economic development. Her work highlights the ways in which high levels of meat consumption in the U.S. and internationally exacerbate global hunger and climate change, and also to the ethical and environmental misconceptions in “gifting” animals for food in poor countries.

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Shaun Monson is the writer/director of the documentaries EARTHLINGS (2005), and UNITY (2015). Narrated by Academy Award Nominee Joaquin Phoenix, and featuring music by Moby, EARTHLINGS is available in over 40 languages, and is considered a milestone in documentary films for animal rights organizations around the world. His follow-up film, UNITY, features an astounding cast of 100 celebrity narrators, and was released in the fall of 2015.  It’s now available On-Demand in more than 100 countries and a dozen languages. Produced under his production company, Nation Earth, his films illustrate how we are “not the same but equal,” and are also a sobering reminder that we all share this planet and have the responsibility to act with conscience.


Kimberly Moore, Esq, is a senior attorney at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Washington, D.C., where she is a nationally recognized tax attorney and an expert on laws governing the treatment and welfare of animals. Kimberly has represented organizations representing the interests of animals on organizational and strategic matters.  Kimberly will be presenting two papers at the Fourth Annual Oxford University Animal Ethics Summer School (The Ethics of Fur) this summer on behalf of the Fur Free Society, an affiliate of the Anti-Fur Society, involving (i) claims by the fur industry that fur is “green” and (ii) advertising by the fur industry targeting children as future consumers. Kimberly is on the board of directors of the Fur Free Society, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the cruelty of the fur industry and to strengthening protection for fur bearing animals in the wild.

MoranBarwickE17 Emily Moran Barwick is an animal-liberation activist, educator, international speaker, and the creator of Bite Size Vegan, where she creates free, educational videos, essays, reports and resources about veganism. With the goal of making research-backed information about veganism as openly accessible as possible, Emily employs a wide range of approaches for variations in learning styles and backgrounds. She hopes to help people make the connection that veganism—far from an extreme way of life—is simply aligning our actions with the values we already have.

Victoria Moran is an ethical vegan of over three decades, and listed by VegNews among the Top 10 Living Vegetarian Authors. Her books include The Love-Powered Diet, The Good Karma Diet, the iconic Main Street Vegan, and (upcoming)The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook, coauthored by JL Fields. An accomplished speaker and two-time Oprah guest, Victoria hosts the Main Street Vegan podcast; currently serves as Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50; and directs Main Street Vegan Academy, an exciting intensive in NYC to train and certify Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators.


Leilani Münter is a biology graduate turned professional race car driver and environmental activist. Discovery's Planet Green named Leilani the #1 eco athlete in the world and Sports Illustrated named her one of the top ten female race car drivers in the world. Leilani uses her racecar to spread awareness among millions of race fans. She is on the board of Oceanic Preservation Society, the Oscar winning filmmakers behind The Cove and Racing Extinction. Off track, Leilani drives an electric Tesla Model S powered by solar. Her motto: Never underestimate a vegan hippie chick with a racecar.


Ingrid E. Newkirk is the president and founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the author of several books, including One Can Make a Difference, 50 Awesome Ways Kids Can Help Animals, Making Kind Choices, The PETA Celebrity Cookbook, Free the Animals, and The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights. Numerous publications have featured Newkirk’s work, including The New Yorker, Time magazine, People magazine, Forbes, and the Financial Times. She has appeared on television shows all over the world and is the subject of a BBC special and the HBO documentary I Am an Animal.

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Nassim Nobari is the co-founder of Seed the Commons. As a long-time social justice activist, she sees the transformation of our food systems as key to achieving a more just world. Her unique programs help build the food movement while promoting animal liberation instead of farming systems based on animal exploitation. Nassim holds a Masters in social psychology and is fascinated by the ways that social norms are maintained and transformed. She has been studying the global spread of dairy consumption as an example of dominant groups shaping dietary norms.


Sharon Nuñez is the co-founder and President of Animal Equality an international organization working with society, governments and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals. Animal Equality is present in eight countries and has been selected as one of the most effective animal protection organizations in the world by Animal Charity Evaluators for three consecutive years since 2014. Sharon is also the coeditor of "LiberAnima," a book collection that promotes animal rights in Spanish speaking countries. 

John Oberg is the Director of New Media for The Humane League. John previously served as Director of Communications for Vegan Outreach and increased their social media following tenfold while reaching tens of millions of individuals. John runs and oversees The Humane League's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts and uses these platforms as tools to reach millions of individuals with the plight of today's farmed animals.

Toni Okamoto is the founder of Plant Based on a Budget, the popular web site, food blog, and meal plan that shows you how to save dough by eating veggies. She’s also author of the Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook, and the co-author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook. Plant Based on a Budget has been featured in Reader’s Digest, US News and World Report, and more. Toni’s also a regular presence on the FOX affiliate in Sacramento, where she teaches viewers how to break their meat habit without breaking their budget.


Alexandra Paul is a longtime environmental and animal rights activist. She co-wrote and produced the film on human overpopulation, Jampacked. She has spoken to 6,000 Los Angeles schoolkids on this topic, and in 1997 the United Nations honoured her for her work on this issue. In 2012, she did a TEDx talk on the issue and traveled to Sierra Leone to volunteer for Population Media Center.  She and her husband are child free by choice. Alexandra was Last Chance for Animals’ Vegan of the Year alongside her brother, the activist Jonathan Paul. 


Brittany Peet is the director of the Captive Animal Law Enforcement Division for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation. Peet, an attorney, works in behalf of animals who are held captive in roadside zoos, circuses, and aquariums. She also coordinates exotic-animal rescues for PETA and has overseen the rescues of more than 400 chinchillas, 60 bears, and eight chimpanzees formerly kept in solitary confinement or other horrid conditions.

perryj17 Julianne Perry is an undercover investigator with the grassroots network Direct Action Everywhere. She has been inside of chicken, pig, cow, and dog farms and her teams' work has been covered by syndicates including The New York Times and ABC News. She has been a volunteer at 5 farmed animal sanctuaries around the country. Her most recent project was a coalition event where activists from 12 different animal rights organizations marched together on the streets of San Francisco under the banner of March to Close All Slaughterhouses. She is also an intelligence analyst for Intel, and has a Master's degree from Dartmouth.

Ryan Phillips abandoned the pursuit of a career (with his committed-vegan wife’s support) in favor of devoting his life to the cause of animal rights. The founder of Art from a Vegan Heart (www.artfromaveganheart), creator of The Carnies vegan cartoon on Facebook and parent of two amazing children activists and pig activists, Ryan will try anything to help the cause of animal rights.   Author/illustrator of the children’s book Anita’s Story: Compassion is not a Crime, he attempts to use his art work to spread the message of compassion for all.  Ryan breaks from his comfort zone daily to visit high traffic areas where his pigs can graze while Ryan talks to people about the injustices animals face.  And when others feel discouraged, Ryan hopes to remind everyone that the end of animal agriculture is coming soon with his optimism in the march of justice. 


Tim Phillips, Vice President and co-founder of Animal Defenders International. Has been undercover to film inside labs, animal dealers, factory farms, fur farms, slaughterhouses and circuses. Coordinates ADI teams working inside animal industries gathering evidence, sometimes for years leading to prosecutions, laws and closing down cruel industries. Author/editor of numerous reports. Has worked on animal legislation worldwide including the Traveling Exotic Animal & Public safety Protection Act in the US. Secured the CITES rules on cross-border movements of live animal exhibitions (effective in 180+ countries) and the European Parliament’s Declaration that led to Europe’s ban on experiments on apes and wild caught monkeys, phase out of F1 monkeys and restrictions on primate use. Directed multi-award winning feature documentary Lion Ark , about ADI’s Bolivia rescue.


Marissa Price is PETA’s college campaigns strategist, a position in which she helps run the Campus Rep program, the longest-running and most established program for student animal advocates, spanning more than 100 campuses from New York to Hawaii and from Canada to Texas. She focuses on helping reps narrow in on large-scale campaigns on their campuses—such as getting all-vegan dining halls, the right to opt out of dissection, or campus-wide bans on traveling petting zoos or live-animal mascots.


Susan Prolman is a lifelong advocate for animals. Susan served as Executive Director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and as Director of International Campaigns for The Humane Society of the United States. She's lobbied against factory farming and for environmental protection in Washington, DC for years. While a Georgetown University law student, she helped to create the school's first animal law course. Susan leads Activism for Animals, which shares ideas for creative, positive, everyday actions individuals can take to spread animal rights messages. 


Dulce Ramírez is the Executive Director in Mexico for Animal Equality, a lead international animal protection organization. She has collaborated with Mexican organizations dedicated to protecting animals through groundbreaking education programs and by promoting a plant-based diet. She has actively participated in legislative proposals for the abolition of circuses and bullfighting, and the inclusion of farmed animals within the animal protection laws of her country. She has also infiltrated farms and slaughterhouses as an undercover investigator and has coordinated the placement of other investigators into mexican meat industry.


Jacy Reese is the Research Director of Sentience Institute, a think tank focused on finding the most effective strategies to expand humanity's moral circle. He is currently writing a book on The End of Animal Farming, which lays out a strategic roadmap for the global transition to an animal-free food system. He's heavily involved in the effective altruism movement, a community of people working together to do the most good possible. His work has been featured in outlets like Huffington Post and Vox.


Matt Rice serves as executive vice president at Mercy For Animals, overseeing the organization’s Investigations, Legal Advocacy, Communications, Development, and Operations departments. A former U.S. Marine, Matt has well over a decade of experience in the animal protection movement, coordinating cutting-edge campaigns, releasing hard-hitting undercover investigations, and helping secure landmark criminal animal cruelty convictions against animal abusers.

RiederT17 Travis Rieder, PhD, is the Assistant Director for Education Initiatives at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, and the Program Director for the Master of Bioethics degree program. Travis’ research interests tend to center on issues in procreative ethics and climate change ethics, with a particular focus on the intersection of the two – that is, on the question of responsible procreation in the era of climate change.  His publications have appeared in several journals on this topic, as well as in a short book with Springer, entitled Toward a Small Family Ethic (2016).

Nicole Rivard has been a correspondent for Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization that has been railing against animal cruelty and institutionalized exploitation since 1957, for four years. She is editor of FoA’s quarterly magazine Action Line, and brings 18 years of journalism to the publication and to the front lines—protesting against the Bureau of Land Management’s mismanagement of America’s wild horses as well as documenting their plight. She has also done legislative outreach to get a trophy hunting ban passed in Connecticut and New York.


Clifton Roberts is the Humane Party’s first ever U.S. Presidential Candidate, former National Staff Coordinator, and current volunteer of the only U.S. political party committed to rights of all animals… and not just the human kind. Now vegan for almost two decades, Clifton works tirelessly to raise awareness in our country and is internationally recognized for his talks and speeches about animal rights, veganism and health, and a vision for a brighter tomorrow. 


Michelle Rojas is the Managing Director of Better Eating International, where she oversees their operations, finances, and marketing. Her journey into animal rights follow her transitioning to a vegan diet and is linked directly to her belief in the interconnectedness of issues, and to her commitment to fight intolerance, hate and apathy on all fronts. In addition to vegan activism, she has advocated for disability rights, racial justice, gender equality, poverty eradication, and criminal justice reform. She lives in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband and four children.

RoseM17 Marla Rose is an award-nominated journalist, author, activist, recipe developer, organizer and 22-year vegan based in Chicago. Co-founder of Chicago VeganMania, now in its ninth year, VeganStreet and VeganStreetMedia, Marla and her husband were awarded Mercy for Animal’s Activists of the Year award in 2009. Marla’s passion is promoting veganism through smart, accessible, creative and honest communication strategies. 

Zoe Rosenberg is a 15 year old animal rights activist and founder of Happy Hen Chicken Rescue. Her organization has rescued over 600 animals from abusive situations, primarily the food industry. She is also an organizer with the grassroots animal liberation network, Direct Action Everywhere. With DxE, she helped execute a high impact disruption by running onto the Dodgers baseball field at age 14, following an investigation into a Dodger Dogs pork supplier. She has also taken part in other major protests and disruptions on behalf of the animals and has been a keynote speaker at National Animal Rights Day in San Francisco.

RowbothamS17 Shayna Rowbotham serves as global volunteer manager at Mercy For Animals. Since its inception in 1999, MFA has ushered in extraordinary change for farmed animals. With expanding international efforts, MFA’s volunteer and supporter base continues to grow tremendously with dedicated animal advocates seeking to end animal suffering. It is without a doubt that MFA would not be able to do what it does today without this immeasurable support. Shayna and the outreach team work alongside MFA’s volunteers to educate the public by sharing and spreading information about the true horrors of factory farming. Whether by leafleting in the streets, tabling at festivals, or conducting paid-per-view (PPV) screenings on college campuses, these grassroots outreach methods make a vast difference for animals.

Martin Rowe is the co-founder of Lantern Books—publisher of Captive, Even Vegans Die, How to Create a Vegan World, and Aphro-ism, among many other books. He is the co-vice president of the Culture & Animals Foundation and a senior fellow of Brighter Green, where he directs the Vegan America Project. He is the author of several books, including The Polar Bear in the Zoo: A Reflection and The Elephants in the Room: An Excavation.

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Nathan Runkle is the Founder and President of Mercy For Animals. Since founding MFA a decade ago, Nathan has overseen the organization's growth into a leading national force for the respectful and compassionate treatment of farmed animals. Nathan has appeared in hundreds of interviews including 20/20, Nightline, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, NPR, and The New York Times. Nathan has worked to pass landmark farmed animal protection legislation, raise public awareness about vegetarianism, and implement animal protection policy changes.


Jessica Sandler, MHS, is PETA’s Vice President for Regulatory Testing and the director of the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. Her international team of scientists works to develop, implement, and promote high-tech non-animal testing methods.  Jessica's efforts have led to changes in U.S., European, and Indian chemical testing policies and caused multinational corporations, researchers, and government agencies to adopt modern, animal-free testing methods that have spared the lives of tens of millions of animals. She holds a master’s degree in environmental health sciences from The Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s from Harvard University.


Brenda Sanders is Executive Director of Afro-Vegan Society, an organization whose mission is to provide resources and support to help people in marginalized communities transition to the vegan lifestyle and Co-Founder of Thrive Baltimore, a community resource center that engages in vegan-centered programming, classes and events in Baltimore, MD. She's also co-owner of PEP Foods, a food company that specializes in creating and distributing affordable plant-based alternatives to animal products as well as co-organizer of Vegan SoulFest, an annual festival that celebrates art, culture and the vegan lifestyle.

SauerburgerS17 Stephan Sauerburger, a life-long advocate and 24-year vegan, has campaigned with such organizations as PETA since 2005 in anti-fur protests, investigations of outdoor pet neglect, and solely carrying out an anti-KFC VCD distribution campaign with Pamela Anderson in China. He began in 2007 to apply his beliefs to international businesses starting with a vegan restaurant chain in Tokyo, the only one in Japan maintaining an animal rights focus for facilitating vegan lifestyles while distributing movement literature to customers. He now speaks globally while developing electronic entertainment to break new ground in bringing the message home.

Toni Shephard is UK director of Animal Equality. Over the past 25 years she has worked for numerous animal rights organisations and campaigned passionately for animals around the world. During this time, she has carried out undercover investigations inside dozens of farms and slaughterhouses and believes that revealing the suffering hidden within these secretive places is not only a powerful catalyst for dietary change, but is also vital for corporate and political advances. She also holds a PhD in animal behaviour.


Sica Schmitz a Los Angeles-based sustainable stylist and the founded of Bead & Reel, the online vegan boutique for fashion that is thoughtful to people, animals, and the world. A frequent speaker and writer, she is a passionate voice in human and animal rights through ethical fashion. She is the host of the annual Fair Trade Fashion Show Fundraiser (just completing its 3rd year) along with the upcoming AWEAR Fashion Show, the first vegan fashion show of LA Fashion Week.


Harish Sethu received his PhD in computer engineering and subsequently worked for IBM on the development of supercomputers that included Deep Blue, the first machine to beat a world chess champion. He later joined the faculty of a large private university where he teaches and conducts research in data science and web security. He is the author of the blog, Counting Animals, conceived as a place for people who love animals and numbers. He also serves as the volunteer Director of Humane League Labs.

CSewell17 Christina Sewell is PETA's senior fashion campaigner and oversees the campaign's media initiatives, collaborations with style influencers, custom lifestyle content, and partnerships with eco-conscious brands to encourage businesses to embrace sustainable, vegan materials—so that we don't have to sacrifice our values in order to look and feel great. Christina has organized PETA's annual fashion show in Los Angeles, vegan style look books, pop-up retail events, and panel talks on sustainable, vegan fashion for students at the nation's top design universities. She is excited to discuss the particulars of innovative animal-friendly materials, the animal-welfare implications of often-overlooked garments like wool sweaters and down jackets, and her top tips for incorporating cruelty-free style into any wardrobe.

Paul Shapiro is the vice president of policy engagement at The Humane Society of the United States, the founder of Compassion Over Killing, and an inductee into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame. He's been interviewed in hundreds of media outlets and has published dozens of articles about animal protection in publications ranging from daily newspapers to academic journals. He's also the author of a forthcoming book on the clean meat movement.

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Vic Sjodin is the Director of Outreach for Vegan Outreach.  Vic has traveled to over 600 different universities to promote veganism and has started outreach programs in several countries such as India, Mexico and the UK.  He has personally handed out over 850,000 booklets to promote veganism and frequently speaks to college classes and local activist groups about both advocacy and veganism.

SmithHQ17 18-year-old actress Harley Quinn Smith is currently on the rise as a budding star in Hollywood. After an exciting year starring opposite best friend, Lily Rose Depp, in the 2016 Sundance Film Festival favorite Yoga Hosers (the film released September 16 and also starred Johnny Depp, Natasha Lyonne and Justin Long), Smith steps into 2017 in All These Small Moments opposite veteran actress Molly Ringwald. The film recently wrapped production in NYC and covers an immense range of deep, dark topics such as divorce, sexuality, rape, coming of age, bullying & teenage romance.
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Pei-Feng Su is co-founder and Executive Director of ACTAsia. Since 1994, she has been dedicated to helping Asian cultures recognize that compassion towards humans and other animals and respect for the environment enriches lives and communities. The pioneering Compassionate Living Fashion Show in China is an annual cruelty-free event that influences millions of fashion shoppers. The Caring for Life Education program has trained more than a thousand humane educators and reached tens of thousands of children in Chinese public schools. ACTAsia’s work with Vets for Compassion trains veterinarians in China, helping them become animal welfare advocates.

Adam ARC Bio Adam Sugalski is the Founder/Executive Director of OneProtest, a Florida based advocacy organization, who has recently lead a national coalition of activists to fight, and successfully STOP the 2016, 2017, and 2018 bear hunt in FL. Adam believes strongly in utilizing professional activism to raise public awareness and end the cruelest forms of animal abuse. Adam brings many years of experience in building and supporting a plethora of national and local non-profits dedicated to animal protection, hands-on undercover work, and a strong artist background to his fight for those least able to fight for themselves. Adam is also regularly called upon to speak on national radio, television, and at academic institutions. Adam is a published author and the winner of the 2016 Matthew Eyton Animal Activist Award.
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Seth Tibbott is the founder and chariman of the Tofurky Company. In 1980, after making home-brew tempeh to share with friends and family, 30-year-old teacher, naturalist, and hippie Seth Tibbott launched his own company in Forest Grove, OR. In 1995, he introduced the first nationally marketed vegan holiday roast named "Tofurky".  Today, Tofurky is a major producer of plant-based meats, with products available in many countries. Seth has been a regular visitor to the AR conference and a generous contributor to its scholarship fund.


Gerardo Tristan is the director and founder of FaunAccion, a Mexican animal rights group whose main mission is to empower Mexican AR activists and support animal rights leaders by working with Mexican institutions on educational projects focused on developing relevant tools for animal rights/vegan and intersectional activists. He is from Monterrey, Mexico, where he has been involved in the animal rights movement since 1993. Gerardo organized the first animal rights conference in Monterrey, in the summer of 2006.

TuiderJ17 Jens Tuider is Executive Assistant at ProVeg International, a new vegan food awareness organisation, and also works for Animal Equality Germany and Beyond Carnism. He also runs an online database with arguments in defence of animal rights. Jens has published articles on animal ethics and animal rights and has given presentations and workshops at a number of international events. Having started out as a theorist, he has become increasingly interested in questions of activism and strategy directed at bringing about effective social change for animals. His current projects include the Early Intervention Network.
Paul Head17 Paul Rodney Turner, the “Food Yogi” is the international director and co-founder of Food for Life Global, the world’s largest plant-based food relief with 210 projects in 60 countries serving up to 2 million meals daily. From the age of 19 Paul lived as a celibate monk until he was 33 at which time he studied the ancient Vedic culture of India. Over the last 33 years, Paul has traveled to 70 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, helping to set up new Food for Life projects, train volunteers, educate, and cook for world leaders, most notably Jose Pepe Mujica the President of Uruguay. 

Ignacia Uribe is the founder of Vegetarianos Hoy, a nonprofit that focus on promoting and expanding vegetarian and vegan diets in Chile and Latin America. She is a journalist and animal rights activist, who has a master degree in Animal Law and Society by the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She is part of the International Council of the International Vegetarian Union (IVU.org). In 2015, Ignacia led #NoSonMuebles, the biggest animal rights campaign developed in Chile, that until now has more than 100,000 signatures to get animals recognized  as "sentient beings" by the Chilean Constitution. She has given international talks in Brazil and Argentina, and attended many vegan events in the US and Europe. This is her first time at the AR Conference.


Jose Valle is co-founder and Director of Investigations at Animal Equality  With over 50 investigations in 8 countries, the organization has exposed millions of people to the realities of factory farms and slaughterhouses. This work has been featured by CNN, BBC, the Sunday Times, The Guardian and other media outlets. More recently, Jose has introduced the use of virtual reality technology as an innovative outreach tool under Animal Equality's latest campaign, iAnimal  Animal Equality has been recognized as a top charity two years in a row by Animal Charity Evaluators.

VanKleeckJ17 Justin Van Kleeck has a Ph.D. in English but left academia in part to work on veganism, the environment, and other social issues. He is a freelance writer who has written for Our Hen House, Vegan Publishers, Project Intersect, and others. He and his wife. Rosemary, founded Triangle Chance for All, a non-profit organization that runs a microsanctuary for rescued chickens and other farmed animals and promotes ethical veganism. From there, they founded The Microsanctuary Movement to help inspire others to use what resources they can to provide sanctuary to animals in need. 
Velez-Mitchell15 Jane Velez-Mitchell is the editor of JaneUnChained, a social media news outlet that produces popular videos for animals, animal rights, the environment and compassionate lifestyle. Jane's reporting on animal issues has won 4 Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States. She has published 4 books by now, including a New York Times bestselling memoir. Jane hosted her own national cable TV show for 6 years and was also on the nationally syndicated TV show Celebrity Justice. She is also the director/producer of Anita Velez: Dancing Through Life, an award-winning documentary. She's worked coast to coast as a TV journalist for decades in popular TV channels.
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Jerry Vlasak, MD is a board-certified surgeon specializing in trauma and critical care. He is a former vivisector who has seen the agony of animals in laboratories. He debates the scientific invalidity of animal experimentation around the world, speaks out about the benefits of a vegan diet and offers lectures on the right of all sentient beings to live free of pain and suffering. His essays and interviews have been published in numerous journals and magazines and he has been interviewed on radio, TV and in print by journalists worldwide regarding animal rights. He resides in Los Angeles.

VonDK17 Kat Von D’s story begins in the small rural city of Montemorelos, Mexico where she was born—a heritage she celebrates in her artwork. Kat started tattooing at the age 14, working throughout Los Angeles.  Kat opened up her own shop in 2007, High Voltage Tattoo in West Hollywood where she’s tattooed a long list of celebrities, musicians, and artists.  Kat eventually starred in her own show, LA Ink, about her renowned tattoo shop. Kat’s passion for animals, humanity, and the environment have inspired her activism, as well as her recent motivation to vocalize and inspire veganism, and is anti-animal cruelty. Kat regularly volunteers during marine animal season at the California Wildlife Center.  In 2015, Kat raised over 100K by donating sales of a beauty product.  Kat became a sponsor and volunteer for Project Chimps Animal Sanctuary in 2016, releasing a charity lipstick and donating the proceeds of over 200k.

Michael Webermann is the Strategic Director for Better Eating International, a new nonprofit that seeks to inspire compassion for all animals through inclusive and empowering vegan education by using cutting-edge marketing technologies. Throughout the past decade Michael has brought to the animal rights movement a passion for justice and a blend of big-picture strategic thinking with a focus on achieving measurable results. He has spoken across the US, Western Europe, and India and has been featured in TIME, the LA Times, C-SPAN, and other national news outlets.

WeintraubE17 Eileen Weintraub is a lifelong animal advocate/rescuer. In 1998, she began supporting animal protection groups in India. During her trips to the country, Eileen discovered groups which, despite little financial support, were helping animals in extremely difficult conditions and against all odds. Deeply impressed by how these dedicated groups were making such a difference for the animals, Eileen was inspired to found Help Animals India to advise groups like these and facilitate the flow of support from donors worldwide. She has won the Unsung Vegan Heroes award from The Pollination Project.
WiseS17 Steven M. Wise has a degree in chemistry and is a lawyer and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, the only civil rights organization dedicated to obtaining legal rights for nonhuman animals. He has written four books and twenty-two law review articles and has taught “Animal Rights Law” at seven law schools, including Harvard and Stanford. He gave a 2015 TED Talk on the work of the NhRP and his work is the subject of the 2016 Pennebaker/Hegedus/HBO documentary, “Unlocking the Cage.”
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Mike Wolf spent several years working as an Undercover Investigator with a focus on animal agriculture. His investigations include hog farm suppliers to Smithfield and Hormel, which have resulted in dozens of criminal cruelty charges. His cases have been featured in several national media outlets as well as multiple books written on the topic. Mike joined Compassion Over Killing in 2014, and as the Director of Investigations he leads investigative efforts into meat, dairy, and egg facilities. He has overseen multiple viral investigations, including the 2015 investigation into Quality Pork Processors and the 2016 investigation into Tyson Foods. He also has a strong passion for vegan fitness, and hopes to show how easy it is to gain vegan muscle as a member of PlantBuilt’s Powerlifting team.


Dr. Kristen Wright is a strategic communications and process improvement consultant in the Washington DC area, where she helps clients with everything from crafting effective stakeholder communications to public speaking coaching. Before becoming a consultant, Kristen was a university professor, teaching courses on English literature and rhetoric. She loves teaching others to use language more effectively, and she is dedicated to helping convince more people to choose a humane lifestyle.

Radish Radish XVX is FARM’s Have We Been Lied To? Program Manager, overseeing Pay-Per-View video outreach tours that educate thousands of people about the negative impacts that animal agriculture has on animals, the environment, and humans. They have been an activist for almost a decade, and talked to tens of thousands of young people through spending 3 years touring with FARM's 10 Billion Lives Tour, visiting college campuses and following music festivals around the country. The Have We Been Lied To? Program continues to expand and evolve to engage even more people with an animal rights message and create more vegans.
wanqing zhou17 Wanqing Zhou is an Associate at Brighter Green, where she contributes research, writing and project management to the China program.She is the author of Brighter Green's discussion paper, The Triangle: The Evolution and Future of Industrial Animal Agriculture in the U.S., China, and Brazil, as well as many blogs and articles.  In the summer of 2014, Wanqing toured multiple cities in China sharing Brighter Green’s documentary film, WHAT’S FOR DINNER? with Chinese and international audiences.She is also a Research Associate at the Worldwatch Institute, where her studies touch on climate change, energy, and food systems. She regularly speaks and writes in Chinese and English about animal agriculture, food systems and environmental sustainability, and presented at a formal side event at the COP21 Paris climate change summit.