We're proud to have featured leaders in their field

Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ingrid Newkirk

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Since founding PETA, president Ingrid Newkirk has grown the group into the world’s largest animal rights organization. Her passion and dedication to making this world a better place for all living beings has inspired countless others to do what they can to help  animals. 


As PETA’s president, Ingrid has spoken internationally on animal rights issues—from the steps of the Canadian Parliament to the streets of New  Delhi, India, and from the drowning tanks of Taiwan to the halls of the U.S. Congress. 


Ingrid is the author of Save the Animals! 101 Easy Things You Can Do, 50 Awesome Ways Kids Can Help Animals, The Compassionate Cook, 250 Ways to Make Your Cat Adore You, You Can Save the Animals: 251 Simple Ways to Stop Thoughtless Cruelty, Free the Animals, Making Kind Choices, Let’s Have a Dog Party!, One Can Make a Difference, and The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights. She has also been the subject of the HBO documentary I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA, spoken at many animal rights conferences, and written numerous articles on the treatment of animals in homes, slaughterhouses, circuses, and laboratories. 

David Cantor

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David Cantor has been a full-time animal advocate since 1989.  He founded Responsible Policies for Animals (RPA – www.RPAforAll.org) in 2002.  RPA’s pioneering advocacy method is to demand that institutions – news, universities, schools, government, others – stop promoting animal abuse by reinforcing false and harmful beliefs, rather than rely on veganism, speaking out against atrocities, and other methods of standard advocacy shown not to reduce animal abuse.  RPA’s goal is equal rights of all animals based on all animals’ innate equality and personhood and the immorality of human tyranny over other animals. 



Leah Edgerton

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Leah Edgerton is the Executive Director of Animal Charity Evaluators. She has been involved in the effective altruism community since 2011 and has been an animal advocate her whole life. From 2015–2017, she was  an integral part of ACE’s communications team.  From 2017–2019, she worked at ProVeg International, one of ACE’s Standout Charities. In her role as ProVeg’s Strategy and  Internationalization Manager, she conceptualized and grew the China Program and coordinated with external academics to  conduct experimental research on meat reduction interventions. She returned to ACE’s team as Executive Director in February 2019. 

Jeff Sebo, Ph. D.

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Jeff Sebo is Clinical Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Affiliated Professor of Bioethics, Medical Ethics, and Philosophy and Director of the Animal Studies M.A. Program at New York University. His current work focuses on the ethics of food, animals, and the environment; and the ethics of activism, advocacy, and philanthropy. He has co-authored Chimpanzee Rights and Food, Animals, and the Environment

Carl Safina, Ph. D.

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Carl Safina is the first Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University (where he formerly co-chaired the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science), and he runs the not-for-profit Safina Center. He has also hosted the PBS series Saving the Ocean. He is author of the classic books, Song for the Blue Ocean. and Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel. His latest work, Becoming Wild, is set for publication in April 2020.

Nicole Wilson

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Nicole Wilson began her career in animal welfare in 1998 working in the Community Outreach and Humane Education Department of the Humane Society of Washington County, Maryland. While there, she established a behavior hotline to provide a resource for pet parents. In 2001, she moved to the Women’s Humane Society where she was a Humane Educator. In 2003 she became a Humane Society Police Officer, and in 2009, she joined the PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team as a Case Manager before moving into her current role as Director of that team.

Paul Shapiro

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

Jane Desmond. Ph. D.

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Jane Desmond is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Executive Director of the International Forum for US Studies: A Center for the Transnational Study of the United States, which she co-founded. She holds affiliate faculty appointments on campus in Gender and Women's Studies and in the College of Veterinary Medicine.    

She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University, and is past president of the global International American Studies Association. 

She is the author or editor of five books, including Displaying Death and Animating Life: Human-Animal Relations in Art, Science, and Everyday Life. Prior to her career as a scholar, Desmond was a professional modern dancer and choreographer, and has worked in film and video as well. 

Hope Bohanec, Ph. D.

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Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 25 years and has published the book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? She has worked with the national non-profit United Poultry Concerns for close to a decade and is also the Executive Director of Compassionate Living, a California based vegan advocacy organization. Hope is the primary organizer for the annual Conscious Eating Conference at UC Berkeley, Berkeley Earth Day, and the Sonoma County VegFest and co-organizer of the Humane Hoax Online Summit. 

Justin Van Kleeck , Ph. D.

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Justin Van Kleeck has a Ph.D. in English and is a freelance writer, educator, and community organizer. Justin runs the Triangle Chicken Advocates sanctuary, which they founded with their partner, Roz, in 2014, and which inspired them to start The Microsanctuary Movement together later that year. Along with TCA, Justin currently serves as the Programs Coordinator for Microsanctuary Resource Center. Justin also founded and contributes to the radical vegan blog Striving with Systems.

Ashley Byrne

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Ashley Byrne is an associate director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She has overseen several successful PETA campaigns—including some of the most provocative—and will travel anywhere in the world and do whatever it takes to help stop cruelty to animals. Her  work to promote animal rights has landed her on national television networks and programs, including CBC News, CNN, CTV News, Fox News, Inside Edition, and MSNBC, as well as NPR. She's been interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, the New York Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, among others, and her campaigns have been covered by Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press, HuffPost, Reuters, and U.S. News & World Report

Marc Bekoff, Ph. D.

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Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, and a past Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. He’s also an ambassador for Jane Goodall's international Roots & Shoots program, in which he works with students of all ages, senior citizens, and prisoners, and he serves as co-chair of the Ethics Committee of the Jane Goodall Institute. He and Jane also co-founded the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He is the author, co-author, or editor of at least 30 books translated into 21 languages and hundreds of essays and articles.

Eric Mills

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Eric Mills is the founder of Action for Animals, an Oakland, CA-based organization focusing on ending the abusive practices surrounding rodeos. Although his critics write him off as a city slicker, Eric Mills isn't really a big-city guy. He was born in a small town in Kentucky and lived there until moving to Louisville at age ten. Growing up around his grandparents' farm, he felt a natural kinship with animals, became an avid bird-watcher, and was a card-carrying member of the Audubon Society by age ten. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he studied Spanish, French, and art. More information at Bucking Tradition

Gail Melson, Ph. D.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Clare Mann

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Clare Mann has practiced as a psychologist and organisational consultant for over twenty years.

Her focus is on helping people to become conscious leaders of their own lives, and she firmly believes that, “The quality of our relationships  and life is directly related to the quality of our communication.” She is the author of numerous books and training programs, including Vystopia: The Anguish of Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World, and Myths of Choice: Why People Won't Change and What You Can Do About It

Siobhan O'Sullivan

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Siobhan O'Sullivan is an Australian political scientist and political theorist who is currently a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales. Her research has focused, among other things, on animal welfare policy and the welfare state. She is the author of Animals, Equality and Democracy and a coauthor of Getting Welfare to Work. She produces a regular podcast entitled Knowing Animals

Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-2)

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. 

Karen Davis, Ph. D.

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Karen Davis is the President and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. Inducted into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Liberation, Karen is the author of numerous books, essays, articles and campaigns. Karen’s books include A Home for Henny; Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless ‘Poultry’ Potpourri; Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry; More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality ; and The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities.

Jimmy Webb

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Jimmy Webb is an American songwriter, composer and singer known worldwide as a master of his trade. His timeless hits continue to be performed and recorded by the industry’s biggest names, and his new compositions span the musical spectrum from classical to pop. This past year saw his “Wichita Lineman” on the set list in three major artist tours – Guns N’  Roses, Little Big Town, and Toby Keith – and used prominently in an episode of the Netflix series Ozark.  Not many artists can say they premiered a classical nocturne and had a rap hit with Kanye West (“Do  What You Gotta Do” a central hook in “Famous”) in the same year, but  Jimmy’s career is full of surprises. In 1986 he released "The Animals'" Christmas with Art Garfunkel and Amy Grant. Other hits include “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman, “Galveston,”  “Highwayman,” “All I Know” and “MacArthur Park.”