Our Guest Experts

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Veganism as Empowerment

Brenda Sanders

Brenda Sanders

Founder and President of the Afro-Vegan Society

BRENDA SANDERS is a food justice activist and the founder and president of Afro-Vegan Society, a nonprofit that makes a vegan lifestyle accessible, affordable, and approachable in predominantly black areas and communities, and uses veganism as a tool to overcome systemic race-based oppression. If that wasn’t enough she is also co-founder and co-coordinator of Thrive Baltimore, a dynamic community resource center run by a collective of food, environmental and social justice activists that provides education, resources and support to anyone interested in adopting a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. AND she's a founding member of The Greener Kitchen, a collective of vegan food activists producing delicious, healthy foods that everyone can afford. But THAT’S NOT ALL. Brenda also co-created Vegan SoulFest, an annual festival that. celebrates culture and the vegan lifestyle through speakers, cooking demos, musical performances, and delicious food.

Documentaries for Outreach

Kip Andersen

kip-andersen

Producer, AUM Films, Co-director of Cowspiracy and What The Health

KIP ANDERSEN became a filmmaker after watching An Inconvenient Truth. When he found out animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental destruction, he and Keegan Kuhn co-produced Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, which became an overnight viral success and ignited the
environmental movement. Following this success, he was invited to speak in front of the European Parliament and a new cut, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, was exclusively released on Netflix in September 2015. Kip is the founder of A.U.M. Films and Media, a 501c3 creating films and media that promote thrivability, compassion, and harmony for all life. He is also a serial entrepreneur and a teacher of Jivamukti and Kundalini yoga.

Keegan Kuhn

Keegan Kuhn

Co-director of Cowspiracy, What The Health, They're Trying To Kill Us, Running For Good

KEEGAN KUHN is the award-winning co-director and the owner and operator of First Spark Media, a digital film production company creating films for social justice. Aside from a director, he is a producer, cinematographer, editor, animator, and composer who has worked on films about subjects as diverse as modern Alaskan homesteading, gender inequality, animal rescues, Buddhism, endurance sports, and environmental destruction. He’s also the owner of the camera accessory company First Spark Gear and creator of the educational music project True Nature.

Food as a Social Justice Issue

Dawn Moncrief

Dawn-Moncrief

Board Director and President of A Well Fed World

DAWN MONCRIEF is founder and president of A Well-Fed World, a unique international organization working in hunger relief and food security by advancing plant-based foods and farming. A Well-Fed World seeks to minimize harm for people, animals, and the planet through multiple programs and campaigns.  Dawn herself has been a social justice worker since the early 1990s. She has two master's degrees from George Washington University, one in International Relations and the other in Women's Studies, both focusing on economic development. Her work highlights the ways in which high levels of meat consumption in the U.S. and around the world exacerbate global hunger, especially for women and children. She also draws attention to the negative  consequences of animal agriculture on climate change and the deceptiveness of “humane” marketing.

Dealing with the Ag Industry

Kelcie Leach

kelcie-leach

Program Director of Animal Place

KELCIE LEACH joined Animal Place’s team in 2016 after a career in veterinary medicine caring for animals as a veterinary technician assistant. She first worked as the sanctuary’s adoption coordinator, where she “vetted” prospective families and found homes for literally thousands of animals, including hens rescued from egg farms who were about to be killed. 

She is now Animal Place’s program director, overseeing the sanctuary’s many education and outreach efforts, its pre-Coronavirus events and on-site bed and breakfast, volunteer and intern programs, social media plus its large-scale rescues. We’ll get to those, of course. 

Kelcie has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing from California State University, Sacramento. 

Ethical Business for Farmed Animals

Seth Tibbott

seth-tibbott

Founder and Chairman of Tofurky

SETH TIBBOTT is Tofurky’s founder and chairman. He started bringing healthy, eco-friendly, plant-based protein to the world in 1980 when he was an idealistic hippie living in a treehouse with deep ethics but zero business experience. Now, forty years later, he’s been proven right again and again about the future of food, and the explosive growth in vegan foods. Tofurky itself was once a 25 hundred-dollar startup that is now a global brand worth more than a hundred million dollars.

Seth’s unconventional business style brought us the famous Tofurky roasts that star in our holiday meals, and the slices that make our sandwiches look like everybody else’s in the lunchroom at work or at school. His memoir just published, In Search of the Wild Tofurky: How a Business Misfit Pioneered Plant-Based Foods Before They Were Cool, is not only his story, it’s a history of vegan protein, and how this market has grown beyond belief.

Farmed Animal Emotions

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.

marc_bekoff

Animal Behaviorist and Co-founder of the Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

MARC BEKOFF, Ph.D. is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at at the University of Colorado, Boulder, a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, and a former Guggenheim fellow. He has published thirty books on how animals think and behave, including books for children, the scientific community, and everyone in between. If anyone in the world has contributed more to the subject, not just studying animal behavior but making it understandable and important to the general public, I’d like to meet them. Aside from animal behavior his expertise includes cognitive ethology, which is the study of animal minds; behavioral ecology, which is the environmental and evolutionary influences on animal behavior; compassionate conservation, which approaches wildlife protection with the understanding that each life matters; human-animal relationships; and of course animal protection including farmed animals. His wildly popular essays on Psychology Today have earned Marc a new generation of fans who think critically and compassionately about the ethics of using animals.

Environmental Impact of Animal Ag

Louie Psihoyos

Louie Psihoyos

Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society and Director of The Game Changers

LOUIE PSIHOYOS is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and executive director of the Oceanic Preservation Society, founded in 2005. His most recent film, The Game Changers, executive produced by James Cameron, focuses on Ultimate Fighter James Wilks. In The Game Changers Louie exposes what he calls “the world’s most dangerous myth,” that meat is necessary for protein, strength and optimal health. Athletes featured in the film include Lewis Hamilton, Scott Jurek, Dotsie Bausch, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

But before that he made Racing Extinction with never-before-seen images to show the extinction of species due to human action like climate change, wildlife trafficking, and animal agriculture. And before that, his first documentary, The Cove, showed the world the annual dolphin hunt in a secret cove in Taiji, Japan, and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film in 2009 plus more than 75 other awards worldwide. Louie is also recognized as one of the top still photographers in the world, having created iconic images for National Geographic for 18 years, and hundreds of covers for other magazines. But film, he says, can be the most powerful weapon in the world, and he should know, because he’s made some of the world’s most powerful films.

Food Fight: Vegans VS Industry

Miyoko Schinner

Miyoko Schinner

Author, Chef and Founder of Miyoko's Creamery

Meet the queen of vegan cheese, MIYOKO SCHINNER. Miyoko has been a fixture in vegan cuisine, companies, and culture since the 1990s, long before she was the head cheese. There was her famed San Francisco restaurant Now and Zen, there was the UnTurkey on holiday tables, there was even a vegan whipped cream. Her cookbooks include The Now and Zen Epicure, Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional, Artisan Vegan Cheese that started the current craze, and The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples

But we know it’s the artisanal vegan cheese by Miyoko’s Creamery that everyone’s nuts about. How nuts? So nuts the company has grown more than a hundred percent every year. So nuts it’s now in about 20,000 retailers in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Miyoko consistently introduces new products born from her special blend of innovation and tradition, including vegan butter so good it even satisfies snooty French chefs. 

As if she doesn’t have enough to keep her busy, in 2017 she founded Rancho Compassión, a nonprofit farmed animal sanctuary in the Marin, California area. She is a founding board member of the Plant-Based Foods Association, our vegan voice in Washington DC, a trade association for vegan companies that faces off against powerful meat and dairy industry lobbies. If Miyoko ran the world, the ag industry wouldn’t have a chance.

Challenging Carnism

Melanie Joy, PhD

melanie-joy

Psychologist, Author, Theorist, Educator

MELANIE JOY, PhD, is a Harvard-educated psychologist, speaker, organizational consultant, trainer, and relationship coach. She is the author of the groundbreaking, award-winning book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, plus her newest book Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation, and Beyond Beliefs: A Guide to Improving Relationships and Communication for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat Eaters, as well as several other books that challenge our understanding of animal exploitation…and our understanding of ourselves.

Dr. Joy has shared her work with audiences on six continents and in major media outlets worldwide. She is the eighth recipient of the Ahimsa Award – previously given to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela – for her work on global nonviolence, the Empty Cages Prize – previously given to Tom Regan – for her contribution to furthering the cause of animal rights, and the Peter Singer Prize for strategies to reduce the suffering of animals.

Citizen Advocacy

Jennifer Fearing

jennifer-fearing

President of Fearless Advocacy

JENNIFER FEARING is fearless when it comes to making change for animals. She has helped pursue more than one hundred positive legislative and regulatory outcomes at state and local levels, including many high-profile successes. She’s led efforts to recruit and activate citizen advocates, developed a new legislative caucus, prepared multiple voter scorecards, produced myriad lobby days, and helped with the formation of a new Assembly select committee on the nonprofit sector. In 2014, after nearly 20 years of experience driving change in California, including at the nation’s largest animal protection organization, she founded Fearless Advocacy to help create policy change on behalf of organizations such as animal and environmental nonprofits. Today her clients include Plant Based Foods Association, Best Friends Animal Society, Oceana, San Diego Humane Society and San Francisco SPCA. 

Known by decision makers in the California state legislature, executive branch, and key stakeholders for her creativity and tenacity, she was named one of the 100 most powerful people in California’s capitol community by the Capitol Weekly newspaper – twice. Often called one of the most persistent and effective lobbyists in Sacramento, she was voted by her peers as Public Interest Lobbyist of the Year as part of the 2019 Legislative Golden Bear Awards. She’s also interviewed in the now-streaming documentary film “Kangaroo: A Love/Hate Story,” which covers her successful efforts to restore a ban on the trade in kangaroo parts in California. She has an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from UC Davis and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a regular guest speaker at NYU and laws schools like McGeorge, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Hastings.

Farmed Animal Behavior

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Jeffrey Masson

Ph.D. and Bestselling Author

JEFFREY MOUSSAIEFF MASSON might be The Most Interesting Man in the World despite what the beer commercials say. As a boy he was selected by a guru to become a spiritual leader, a future he rejected, and then studied Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard, where he received his PhD. While teaching at the University of Toronto he completed clinical training in psychoanalysis, and his passion for it earned him a position with the Freud Archives in London. However, he broke from the psychoanalytic community after his research uncovered the controversial reason Freud abandoned his own theory that childhood sexual abuse caused adult mental disorders. And after writing more than a dozen books on eastern philosophy and western psychotherapy, he started to analyze the far more fascinating minds of animals. 

The result is at least a dozen more books on animal emotional behavior including the highly influential The Face on Your Plate. His New York Times bestsellers include When Elephants Weep, which has been translated into 20 languages, and Dogs Never Lie About Love. Dr. Masson’s The Pig Who Sang to the Moon focuses specifically on farmed animals. 

Social Media Activism

John Oberg

John Oberg

Animal Advocate, Influencer and Social Media Professional

Journalist and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald says JOHN OBERG is “one of the most effective and skillful animal rights activists in the country” – and for a very good reason. He’s an animal advocate, influencer, and social media professional who makes the world a kinder place with the power of social media. He started working for animals in 2009 when he lived out of his car, traveling to hundreds of universities in 35 states handing out vegan pamphlets. Since then, he’s turned to online outreach. He was director of communications at Vegan Outreach and later director of new media for The Humane League, and in these roles his work has been seen over one billion times and increased the followings of each organization tenfold. But in 2018, he decided to change the way he contributed to the movement and to his fellow activists not only by focusing on social media advocacy but helping others improve their own animal activism both online and IRL…In Real Life. He continues to consult with individuals, grassroots groups, nonprofits, and businesses on effective social media communications and tactics.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Michelle Rojas-Soto, M.S.

michelle

Managing Director of Encompass

MICHELLE ROJAS-SOTO, M.S., is the managing director at Encompass. She has over 18 years of leadership experience in nonprofit and social enterprise work, always focused on equity, systemic change, and community-building.

Michelle has been an advocate for racial justice, women’s rights, disability rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. She is a founding member of Gender Equity in Animal Rights (GEAR), where she launched the Amplify career sponsorship program for women and gender non-conforming people. She is currently the chair of the Inclusion committee for the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council in Glendale USD, pioneering a comprehensive anti-bias initiative. She also serves on the Glendale Police Community Advisory Panel, and on the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale. She served on the board of directors for Pearls of Africa Children’s Home in Gulu, Uganda and was co-organizer for LA Tech4Good.

Michelle has a Master’s in Biology from Caltech and a Master’s in Business Administration from USC. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and four children.

Bearing Witness

Anita Krajnc

Anita_Krajnc

Founder of Toronto Pig Save

ANITA KRAJNC cofounded Toronto Pig Save in 2010 as a local grassroots group to collectively bear witness to animal suffering in vigils at transportation routes and outside slaughterhouses. Bearing witness, while used in other movements, was novel in animal rights and quickly spread. Anita cofounded the Save Movement, now Animal Save Movement which has grown to at least 900 chapters in more than 70 countries, and sister groups Climate Save and Health Save.

On a hot day in 2015, Anita witnessed pigs panting and foaming at the mouth inside a sweltering transport truck. As the truck idled, she extended her water bottle into the truck to provide a few pigs with a moment of comfort. A tense confrontation with the driver followed, and the owner of the pig farm filed a police complaint against Anita. For her act of compassion, she faced a $5000 fine and up to ten years in prison. The case went to trial, amid worldwide outrage, and finally she was acquitted. 

Anita has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto where her doctoral thesis addressed the role of scientific knowledge and public education in building international environmental regimes. Before starting the movement, she was an assistant professor at Queen’s University, an aide to Canada’s former Minister of the Environment, and a media democracy activist and a writer.

Ethics

Peter Singer

peter-singer

Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University and author, Animal Liberation

Journalists call him “the world’s most influential living philosopher:” Professor PETER SINGER has been considered the father of the modern animal rights movement since the publication in 1975 of Animal Liberation: New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals. In this seminal work he argued that all of us with the capacity for suffering deserve ethical consideration. More recently, the effective altruism movement has been born out of his advocacy for doing the most good. He is the co-founder of Animals Australia, formerly Australian Federation of Animal Societies, now the country's largest animal organization, and the founder of The Life You Can Save based on his book also called The Life You Can Save on how to address global poverty. Since 1999 he has served as Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His book Why Vegan? will be published in the Fall by Norton.

With Animal Liberation and the 50 other books he’s written, co-written, edited or co-edited, he’s become a controversial figure within animal rights and outside it.

Accessibility of Veganism

Toni Okamoto Shapiro

Toni-Okamoto

Author and Founder of Plant-Based On a Budget

TONI OKAMOTO SHAPIRO started Plant-Based on a Budget in 2012 and built it into a powerhouse resource so people can break their meat, dairy, and egg habit without breaking the bank. But it was the prevalence of diabetes and heart conditions in her family, and the prevalent belief that a plant-based diet was too expensive, that really motivated her to bust the myths and stereotypes. Today she’s one of the world’s leading authorities on making vegan food affordable, accessible, and appropriate for people of all backgrounds. In fact she’s taught hundreds of thousands of people how to actually SAVE money not eating animals. She's author of the Plant-Based on a Budget cookbook, The Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook, the co-host of The Plant-Powered People Podcast with her known associate Michelle Cehn, and much more. Toni has been featured in national news and local news across the country and several documentaries including her own short film 7 Days that follows the astonishing transformation of 24-year-old Raul Medina who radically changed his life in just one week by eating, you guessed it, plant-based on a budget.

Animal Law

Joyce Tischler

Joyce Tischler

Professor of Practice, Animal Law, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School

Meet the Mother of Animal Law, attorney JOYCE TISCHLER. Joyce has devoted her 40-year career to advancing the field of animal law In 1979, she co-founded the first U.S. nonprofit dedicated to protecting animals through the legal system, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). She served as the ALDF’s executive director for 25 years and then, its general counsel until her retirement from ALDF in 2019.

Retired doesn’t describe Joyce, though. Today, she is Professor of Practice in Animal Law at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, OR. She teaches Industrial Animal Agriculture Law and Policy and the Fundamentals of Animal Law, a survey course. She co-authored Animal Law: New Perspectives on Teaching Traditional Law, and is now co-authoring a first-of-its-kind casebook on industrial animal agriculture law. Like any good lawyer, Joyce does not eat her clients.

Health-Based Outreach

Neal Barnard, MD, FACC

Neal-Barnard

President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)

NEAL BARNARD, M.D., F.A.C.C., is is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., the president and founder of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Barnard Medical Center, and author of more than 90 scientific publications and 20 books for medical and non-medical readers. His best-sellers include Power Foods for the Brain, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes.

Dr. Barnard leads the Physicians Committee’s staff of physicians, dietitians, and scientists in working with policymakers, industry, the medical community, the media, and the public to create a better future for people and animals. The Physicians Committee has more than 12,000 doctors and more than 175,000 members around the world who are changing the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. By putting prevention over pills, doctors are empowering their patients to take control of their own health.

As president of the Physicians Committee, Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. His research contributed to the acceptance of plant-based diets in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and key resolutions he authored calling for prevention and nutrition in federal policies and in medical practice are now part of the American Medical Association’s policy. 

Sanctuaries as Changemakers

Kim Sturla

Kim Sturla

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Animal Place

KIM STURLA has been a central figure in the animal rights movement for more than 35 years. She is executive director of Animal Place, which she cofounded in 1989, and today it’s is one of the oldest and largest animal sanctuaries of any kind in the United States, let alone farmed animals. Today it fills a much-needed niche of farmed animal rescue, sanctuary, education, and adoption at its 600-acre sanctuary in Grass Valley, California, and its 12-acre animal shelter in Petaluma, California. Just in the past 10 years Animal Place has saved more than 28,000 animals from small and large farms, slaughterhouses, research facilities, and neglect or cruelty cases.

Kim has written two precedent-setting state laws: one protecting pre-university students unwilling to participate in animal dissections, another requiring shelters to sterilize adoptable animals. Before co-founding Animal Place, she served as director of the Peninsula Humane Society. 

Host Wrap-Up

Jane, Jasmin, Ronnie, Kim and Genesis

talks

Enjoy a "meeting of the minds" group discussion with our hosts as they share what they've learned throughout the week, and what they think the future is for our movement.