We're proud to have featured leaders in their field

Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf


The co-authors of "Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights,"  Sherry Colb is the C.S. Wong Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. Michael Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell Law School.  Read their blog at dorfonlaw.org.

Justin Goodman


Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at White Coat Waste Project. Justin has led high-profile, successful grassroots campaigns to expose and end wasteful and cruel animal experiments by tax-funded universities and government agencies. More information at whitecoatwasteproject.org.

Hal Herzog, Ph.D.


Author of anthrozoology's "bible," "Some we Love, Some we Hate, Some we Eat," Hal Herzog has been investigating the complex psychology of our interactions with other species for more than two decades. He is particularly interested in how people negotiate real-world ethical dilemmas, and he has studied animal activists, cockfighters, animal researchers, and circus animal trainers. More info at halherzog.com

Jeffrey Lockwood, Ph.D.


Our first "returning champion,"  Dr. Lockwood is a professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wyoming. He is the author of  "Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War" and "The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe, and Love Insects."  More info at jeffreylockwoodauthor.com

Paul Waldau, Ph.D.


A pioneer in the field of Human Animal Studies, Paul is a prolific author with expansive expertise in animal law, animal ethics, and animals and religion. Professor and lecturer at Canisius College and Harvard. More detail at paulwadau.com.

Steven Wise, J.D.

Featured in the HBO documentary Unlocking the Cage, Steven is founder and president of the Nonhuman

Featured in the HBO documentary Unlocking the Cage, Steven is founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project and is the author of four books. More information at nonhumanrightsproject.org.

Paul Shapiro


Paul Shapiro is the author of the Washington Post bestseller, Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, and the co-host of the Business For Good Podcast. He is a four-time TEDx speaker and has published more than a hundred articles on food sustainability, from daily newspapers to academic journals. 

Grace Herbert


Grace Herbert is the founder and president of Finding Shelter Animal Rescue. She is the 2019 recipient of the HSUS Puppy Mills Campaign Advocates we Love Award and the 2017 Main Line Today Women on the Move award.

Indra Lahiri, Ph. D.


Indra Lahiri is the founder of Indraloka Animal Sanctuary. She has taught, mentored, coached and keynote addressed tens of thousands of people on a range of topics.  Her award-winning blog, which chronicles sacred moments with rescued animals, is followed by tens of thousands of readers on every continent.  

Anthony Nocella, II, Ph. D.


Anthony J. Nocella II, Ph.D., award-winning author and educator, is an Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, National Co-coordinator of Save the Kids, and co-founder and Editor of the Peace Studies Journal and Transformative Justice Journal.  More information at anthonynocella.org.

Clarissa Black


Clarissa is the founder and executive director of Pets for Vets, which connects our nation's military veterans with rescued animals. She developed the "Super Bond" program which helps foster compatibility and ensure that veterans and pets create successful and lifelong new beginnings together.

Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H.


A leader in the fields of animal ethics and neurology, in her latest book, Our Symphony With Animals - On Health, Empathy, and Our Shared Destinies, Dr. Akhtar examines the rich human-animal connection and how interspecies empathy enriches our well-being. More information at ayshaakhtar.com.

Gail Melson, Ph. D.


Gail F. Melson, Ph.D is Professor Emerita in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies, Purdue University. Dr. Melson is a noted authority on children’s development and relationships and a leader in the field of Human-Animal Interaction. Her groundbreaking book, "Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children" remains the definitive work on this topic.

Lisa Lunghofer, Ph. D.


Lisa Lunghofer, Ph.D., is Executive Director of both Making Good Work and The Grey Muzzle Organization in addition to serving as Director of Human-Animal Programs at the Animals and Society Institute. She has 25 years of experience working with public sector and nonprofit clients, helping them to create strategic plans, write grant proposals, build successful programs, develop evaluation plans, and track outcomes.  

Sheryl Pierre, Ph. D.


After earning her Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology, Sheryl Pierre led the Humane Education Department of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Currently, she is adjunct faculty within the graduate program in Anthrozoology at Canisius College and the Animals and Human Health Certificate Program at the University of Denver. She is also a licensed clinical psychologist at Dakhari Psychological Services in Moorestown, NJ,  

Emily Anthes


Emily Anthes is a science journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, Nature, Mosaic, Nautilus, Slate,  Businessweek,  Scientific American, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Aeon, Psychology Today, and elsewhere. She is the author of Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, and Instant Egghead Guide: The Mind.. Emily has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale. 

Randy Malamud, Ph. D.


Randy Malamud is Regents’ Professor of English at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he has taught since 1989.  He has written 11 books, on such topics as T. S. Eliot, Modernism, travel, and email. Titles include  Reading Zoos: Representations of Animals and Captivity, Poetic Animals and Animal Souls, A Cultural History of Animals in the Modern Age, and An Introduction to Animals and Visual Culture. He is also a life fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. 

James Serpell, Ph. D.


James Serpell is professor of Animal Welfare & Ethics at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania where he teaches veterinary ethics and animal welfare. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of Animals and Human Society: Changing Perspectives, In the Company of Animals, Companion Animals and Us, and The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior, and Interactions with People. He is also the creator of the widely-used Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire.

Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-2)


Congressman Brendan F. Boyle was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature in 2008, becoming the first Democrat to ever represent his legislative district. In 2014, Congressman Boyle pulled off an upset win over three better funded rivals to be elected to Congress. Now in his third term, Congressman Boyle represents the 2nd congressional district of Pennsylvania which is fully enclosed within the City of Philadelphia. He currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, and on the Select Revenue Subcommittee, Oversight Subcommittee, and Social Security Subcommittee thereof. He also serves on the House Committee on the Budget. More detail at  Boyle.House.Gov 

Jonathan Balcombe, Ph. D.


Jonathan Balcombe is a biologist with a PhD in ethology, the study of animal behavior. His books include Pleasurable Kingdom, Second Nature, The Exultant Ark, and his latest book, What a Fish Knows, which became a New York Times best-seller and has been translated into fourteen languages. Formerly Department Chair for Animal Studies with the Humane Society University, and Director of Animal Sentience with The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, Jonathan works as an independent author, and performs editing services for aspiring and established authors.  More information at jonathan-balcombe.com.

Sy Montgomery


To research books, films and articles, Sy Montgomery has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire and bitten by a vampire bat in Costa Rica, worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba and handled a wild tarantula in French Guiana. She has been deftly undressed by an orangutan in Borneo, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels and dolphins in the Amazon. She has searched the Altai Mountains of Mongolia’s Gobi for snow leopards, hiked into the trackless cloud forest of Papua New Guinea to radiocollar tree kangaroos, and learned to SCUBA dive in order to commune with octopuses. She is the author of 28 books including The Soul of an Octopus. More information at symontgomery.com 

Jeffrey Spitz-Cohan


Jeffrey Cohan is the Executive Director of JewishVeg, an international organization which encourages and helps Jews to embrace plant-based diets as an expression of the Jewish values of  compassion for animals, concern for health, and care for the environment. He is also the author of The Beet-Eating Heeb,  the leading blog on the theology of veganism.  Prior to joining JewishVeg, Jeffrey worked in print and broadcast journalism in four states and three Latin American countries. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley and his master’s in public management from Carnegie Mellon. 

Wendy Williams


Best-selling author Wendy Williams is a lifelong equestrian who also loves nature and science. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others. She is the author of several books, including Krakan and Cape Wind, and The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion.   She is currently preparing for the release of her next book: The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World's Favorite Insect. 

Alexandra Horowitz, Ph. D.


Alexandra Horowitz is a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she teaches seminars in canine cognition, creative nonfiction  writing, and audio storytelling. As Senior Research Fellow, she heads the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard.  She has long been interested in understanding the umwelt of  another animal, and her research and writing is aimed to answer the  question of what it is like to be a dog.  More information at alexandrahorowitz.net

Boria Sax, Ph. D.


Boria Sax holds a doctorate in Intellectual History and German from SUNY  Buffalo.  He is the author of  15 books, which have been translated into eight languages. His books Animals in the Third Reich (2,000), The Mythical Zoo (2001), were both named by the Journal Choice as among the “outstanding academic titles” of the year. His book City of Ravens was named to the list of “notable books of 2012” by Audubon Magazine as well as to Barnes & Noble’s list of “Top Five Books on London” in 2012. His most recent books include Imaginary Animals (2013), a new edition of The Mythical Zoo (2013), a collection of poems and fiction entitled The Raven and the Sun and a memoir entitled Stealing Fire (2014).  

Margo DeMello, Ph. D.


Margo DeMello received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Davis in 1995, and currently teaches at Canisius College in the Anthrozoology Masters program. She is the outgoing Program Director for Human-Animal Studies at Animals & Society Institute, and the past President of House Rabbit Society. She also volunteers for Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary. Her numerous books and publications include Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature, Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection, Teaching the Animal: Human-Animal Studies Across the Disciplines, and Mourning Animals: Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death.

Kevin Schneider, J. D.


Kevin Schneider is Executive Director of the Non-human Rights Project. He earned his law degree from Florida State University in 2013 with a specialization in environmental and land use law. He graduated with a B.A. in political science from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in 2009. In addition to his interest in nonhuman rights and personhood, Kevin is an advocate for reforming the food system with a focus on plant-based foods.

Elisa Aaltola, Ph. D.


Elisa Aaltola completed her PhD in philosophy in 2006, and her thesis focused on animal ethics. She has published 38 peer-reviewed articles, mostly on animal philosophy. Her books include "Animal Suffering: Philosophy and Culture" (2012) and "Varieties of Empathy: Moral Psychology and Animal Ethics" (2018). Aaltola works as a senior research fellow and adjunct professor in philosophy, in University of Turku, Finland.

Mark Devries


Mark Devries is the Special Projects and Drone Investigations Manager with Mercy for Animals. Before joining MFA, he produced and directed the award-winning documentary Speciesism: The Movie, which screened at theaters worldwide, has been featured in Scientific American, The Huffington Post, CNN Headline News, Psychology Today, and The Sydney Morning Herald, among many others. He also filmed the world’s first aerial drone footage of factory farms, released as part of his Factory Farm Drone Project, which has been viewed by tens of millions worldwide and received global press coverage.

Kate Darling, Ph. D.


Dr. Kate Darling is a leading expert in Robot Ethics. She’s a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction. Kate explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Her writing and research anticipate difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades. Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New Yorker, The Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, The Boston Globe, Forbes, CBC, WIRED, Boston Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, Die Zeit, The Japan Times, and more.