This initiative was made possible by the founding members who decided to join hands to create this watershed moment in the animal protection movement:
Benny Andersson | Wim de Kok | Pamela Frasch | Leah Garcés | Elodie Gerome | Reineke Hameleers | Sue Leary | Philip Lymbery | Steve McIvor | Varda Mehrotra | Josphat Ngonyo | Glenys Oogjes | Roly Owers | Josef Pfabigan | Jürgen Plinz | Britta Riis | Chris Sherwood | Michelle Thew| Michel Vandenbosch
CEO, Durens Rätt
Benny Andersson has been involved in the animal advocacy movement since the late 1990s. In 2000 he left a future career in the bank sector to become a grassroots coordinator at Djurens Rätt, the leading animal advocacy organization in Sweden. After a decade working with public and corporate campaigns, plant-based outreach, digital communication and fundraising he became the CEO of Djurens Rätt in 2010.
Based in Gothenburg, on the west coast of Sweden, he has been one of the driving forces to get Djurens Rätt, founded in 1882, aligned with the new millenium. Being early adopters in using social media channels to reach out and make a difference for animals, Benny and his team have put Djurens Rätt on the national social media map in Sweden being ranked as one of the most powerful players in social media in all categories. Impact driven and with a steady growth of supporters, Djurens Rätt has taken animal issues more into the mainstream.
Wim de Kok
President, World Animal Network
Wim is co-founder and President of World Animal Net, based in Boston, Massachusetts. Originally from the Netherlands where he grew up on a dairy farm, he joined a farm animal welfare organisation and applied his campaigning skills that he had honed as a rebellious high-schooler in the 1970’s. Working in animal welfare all his life, he founded a number of animal protection organisations and coalitions in the Netherlands and later internationally: most notably, the Anti-Fur Committee which ended fur sales and, helped by Covid-19, has been instrumental in closing all fur farms in the Netherlands.
He was also founder of the Dutch Animal Coalition assembling 20 prominent groups. Internationally he initiated the global NO FUR campaign (before the internet) with materials in 22 languages. Later he co-founded World Animal Net and the European Alliance of Rescue centres and Sanctuaries.
The formation of the World Federation for Animals together with others is his latest project. The Wim DeKok Animal Rights Collection at the Special Collections Research Center of the North Carolina State University Libraries consists of 13 meters of archives available for historical research.
Advisor, Brooks Institute
Pamela Frasch is Professor of Law, Associate Dean, and the Brooks McCormick Jr. Scholar of Animal Law and Policy at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School. She founded CALS in 2008 with a mission to educate the next generation of animal law attorneys and advance animal protection through the law.
Previously, she served as general counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). In 1996, she created the ALDF Criminal Justice Program which has since assisted law enforcement and animal advocates in investigating and prosecuting thousands of animal cruelty cases nationwide.
She is author or co-author of numerous articles and book chapters on animal law, and is co-author of the premier American legal casebook in the field, Animal Law: Cases and Materials (6th ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2019).
She is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on animal law and is principal author of Oregon’s first felony anti-cruelty law.
President, Mercy for Animals
Leah Garcés is the president of Mercy For Animals and author of Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry. With nearly 20 years of leadership experience in the animal protection movement, she has partnered with some of the world’s largest food companies on her mission to build a better food system.
Leah oversaw international campaigns in 14 countries at the World Society for the Protection of Animals and launched Compassion in World Farming in the United States. Her work has been featured in many national and international media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, VICE, and the Chicago Tribune.
Leah has an M.S. in Environment and Development from King’s College London and has presented at global forums including RIO+10 and the World Health Organization conference on the detrimental impact of industrial animal agriculture on health, food sovereignty, and sustainability.
Half Colombian and half American, Leah has lived in Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Director of Operations, Fondation Brigitte Bardot
Elodie studied International relations following a year-long stay in the USA, with the aim of working on the coordination of humanitarian and social projects worldwide.
She started working at UNESCO, in the culture sector, coordinating a capacity-building project to help developing countries implement new policies promoting their cultural industry. She also worked as a Project Coordinator and then as Director at Handicap & Libertés, a French NGO fighting all forms of discrimination, particularly those related to disability.
But her heart was always with her first passion: animal protection. She decided to take part to this major cause, finding a perfect mission at Fondation Brigitte Bardot.
CEO, Eurogroup for Animals
Reineke Hameleers (MA) is the CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, the leading Pan-European animal advocacy organisation convening 70 members in the EU and all over the world. She is passionate about driving long lasting, positive change for animals by improving corporate practice, better legislation whilst ensuring optimal enforcement.
Reineke holds a Master’s degree in Arts and Science Studies from Maastricht University and specialised in the human-animal relationship. She has been active in animal advocacy since 2003 and worked before as Regional Director of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals. Reineke is a member of the Netherlands Committee for the Protection of Animals during Scientific Purposes.
Last but not least, Reineke is happily living together with 4 rescue hens, 2 rescue rabbits and a cat.
President, American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS)
Sue Leary (B.S., Biology; M.S., Nonprofit Management) has been President of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) and the Alternatives Research & Development Foundation (ARDF) since 1995. Aligned with AAVS’s mission and vision to end the use of animals in science, the ARDF funds and promotes the development of non-animal alternative methods for use in biomedical research, product testing, and educational demonstrations. Sue’s career has focused on coordination of programs and services; education and advocacy; administration and planning; and membership development in nonprofit organizations. Sue is the Executive Editor of the AV Magazine, and has served on a number of boards, including the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries since 2008.
Sue also serves as Chair of the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, which operates the Leaping Bunny Program certification of U.S. and Canadian cosmetic, personal care, and household product companies that do not test on animals.
CEO, Compassion in World Farming
Philip Lymbery is Global Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming, Visiting Professor at the University of Winchester and President of Eurogroup for Animals, Brussels. He’s an award-winning author, ornithologist, photographer, naturalist and self-confessed animal advocate.
Philip has played leading roles in many major animal welfare reforms, including Europe-wide bans on veal crates for calves and barren battery cages for laying hens. He has directed global engagement with over 1,000 leading corporates, resulting in commitments to better lives for over 2 billion animals a year.
Philip works extensively on issues relating to industrial agriculture, including its impact on animal welfare, wildlife and the environment. He is a recognised thought-leader and media spokesperson on these issues, as well as a renowned public speaker, having spoken on platforms in over 20 countries globally.
Philip’s first book Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat was listed as one of The Times Writers Books of the Year and his awards include Eurogroup’s ‘Outstanding Campaign’ award and the 2015 ‘International Golden Dove’ peace prize in Rome.
CEO, World Animal Protection
First serving asWorld Animal Protection’s acting CEO and Director of Programmes, Steve was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) May of 2016.
Steve was Deputy Director of Compassion in World Farming, where he ran their corporate engagement programme, including the high profile Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. And Steve was the Chief Executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, where he led successful campaigns to ban cosmetic testing on animals in the European Union (EU) and end the use of ex-racing greyhounds in research. As a member of the Executive Board at The Body Shop International, Steve ran award winning campaigns on issues as diverse as endangered species, domestic violence and the promotion of human rights.
Steve has four children, now young adults. In his spare time, Steve trains for a half marathon, enjoys the cinema, hiking mountains and is an avid reader. He supports Liverpool and Chester (the city he grew up in) and his favourite holiday spot is the Dolomites.
Executive Director, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
Varda Mehrotra leads India’s national federation of animal organisations, FIAPO, as its Executive Director, to give form to her passion for wanting to create a world that recognises the rights of animals.
Under her leadership, FIAPO has been recognised as one of the most effective animal charities in the world. She comes with over 15 years of experience in the sector, working with organisations leading networking, alliance and movement building both in India and in Scotland.
She is the architect of India’s largest plant-based advocacy network – Living Free, which has created many activist leaders in the country. She has trained hundreds of activists on becoming more effective for animals. When not working, Varda can be found going on (really) long walks with her dogs.
Executive Director, Africa Network for Animal Welfare
Josphat Ngonyo is the Executive Director of Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW): the largest indigenous, hands-on, Pan-African non-governmental organization that promotes humane treatment of all animals across the continent by working with communities, governments, partners and like-minded stakeholders. He co-founded Africa Network for Animal Welfare – USA, based in Denver, Colorado. In this role, Josphat is leading ANAW’s strategy focused on ensuring that animals are treated as sentient beings both at the grassroots and policy levels. Through the annual Africa Animal Welfare Conferences, a platform he initiated, and now in tripartite partnership of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Africa Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and ANAW, Josphat champions for the integration of animal welfare, wildlife and environmental conservation into policies and strategies for the achievement of sustainable development goals. Mr. Ngonyo has worked extensively in wildlife conservation and animal welfare since the 1990s.
Josphat earned his MBA in leadership from Africa Leadership University School of Business following a Bachelor of Education (Arts) degree from Moi University, and a Diploma in the Management of Not-for-Profit Organizations from the Kenya Institute of Management.
He serves on the Boards of ANAW – USA and Compassion in World Farming. He is also an Honorary Warden with Kenya Wildlife Service due to his achievements in wildlife conservation. Previously, he served in a national steering committee to review Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of Kenya (cap 376) and develop a wildlife policy; as a member of Ministerial Task Force on Animal Welfare Policy Development and Cap 360 review committee spearheaded by Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries in Kenya; and as an Environmental Advisor to Vision 2030 of the Government of Kenya.
CEO, Animals Australia
Glenys Oogjes grew up on a northern Victorian dairy farm in Australia, before leaving for university and realising a broader perspective of our relationship with animals. She is an experienced animal advocate, having contributed to numerous national reviews of Codes of Practice/Standards and animal welfare laws in each State and Territory, served as an instigator of the (former) Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, and has represented the animal movement on the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (and similar bodies).
Glenys is the long-standing CEO of Animals Australia, a prominent animal advocacy NGO that conducts investigations, exposes entrenched cruel practices, seeks to raise community awareness, and lobbies to press for a better life for all animals. Animals Australia and its global arm, Animals International, maintain a focus on farmed animals and transforming our food system towards a kinder and more sustainable world.
CEO, World Horse Welfare
Roly trained as a veterinary surgeon, lives with his family just outside Cambridge, and has been Chief Executive of the charity World Horse Welfare since 2008.
He graduated from Cambridge University in 1992 and acquired his Master’s degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1997. His previous veterinary roles included with the Blue Cross and the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. Roly plays an active role in much of World Horse Welfare’s work supporting the horse-human partnership across four continents, including the charity’s work with veterinary universities, and also advises the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and the British Horseracing Authority on horse Welfare.
He is currently Treasurer of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), Chairman of the UK Equine Disease Coalition, a Director of the British Horse Council and a Board member of the European Horse Network.
CEO, Four Paws
Chief Executive Officer Josef Pfabigan heads up the management of all worldwide activities of global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and ensures the effective realisation of the organisation’s visions and strategies with the highest possible impact on animals and animal welfare.
Having been involved with FOUR PAWS since its founding days in 1988, he was hugely influential in the organisation’s growth and its development on an international scale. In 2003 he co-founded FOUR PAWS International and assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer on the management board in 2006, until he was appointed CEO after the sudden death of FOUR PAWS founder Heli Dungler in 2020.
Pfabigan comes from Lower Austria and has a background in music as well as finance. As of 1987, he was self-employed in sales, advertising, and marketing. Additionally, at the University of Vienna, he gained experience in the field of agriculture at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, as well as in journalism and communication science.
Treasurer, Deutscher Tierschutzbund
Born in 1963 near Cologne, Jürgen began his journey into animal welfare during the late 1980s, in a local animal shelter in Düren. During his growth of experience and knowledge, he incorporated professional expertise in the media and marketing industry to the benefit of protecting animals.
In 1994 he took the position of Vice-President at his local shelter and in 2018 was elected President. His shelter is one of the largest in Germany, homing an average of 400 animals at any one time. Jürgen started out cleaning cages and worked his way up the ladder, absorbing and learning, turning passion into career.
In 2007 he was elected the Treasurer of Deutscher Tierschutzbund (The German Animal Welfare Association), a German umbrella organisation, with more than 700 member associations and over 530 animal shelters. He is proud to have had a significant influence on the financial development of the company since taking on the job.
Since 2017, he is also responsible for the Foundation of Deutscher Tierschutzbund as Managing Vice President and, since the summer of 2020, enjoys representing Deutscher Tierschutzbund on the Board of Eurogroup for Animals.
Together with all the other animal protectors from WFA and its team, it is his honour to share years of knowledge and experience to create a better future for the defenceless animals worldwide waiting for our help.
CEO, Dyrenes Beskyttelse
Britta Riis has been the CEO of Dyrenes Beskyttelse, Animal Protection Denmark, since 2009 and is an experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry.
Her career has been centered around voluntary NGOs (professionalizing NGOs/change management), leadership and organizational development. In her daily job as CEO Britta has doubled Dyrenes Beskyttelse in size and professionalized the organization, always keeping a close working relationship with Eurogroup for Animals as a board member, VP, and President, until 2020 when her attention was directed more internationally towards working on establishing the World Federation for Animals.
She truly believes in working together for greater impact.
Having worked with boards for over 20 years, she is a highly experienced board member having also served on the Board of the National Olympic Committee in Denmark. Her practical experience comes from a Master in Political Science and an Executive Board education from Copenhagen Business School.
Chris joined the RSPCA in August 2018 and came with fifteen years’ experience working in the voluntary sector. Chris joined Relate in 2012 as Director of Policy, Communications, and Digital Services before becoming CEO in July 2015. He was instrumental in moving Relate to a new blended organisational structure, developing their digital services, and growing their influencing and campaigning voice.
Chris joined Relate from Scope where he was the Director of Innovation and Development. Previously he functioned as a Senior Development Manager at Nesta where he led their work on Co-production, People Powered Health and Ageing.
Prior to joining the voluntary sector he worked in Westminster and local government. His career interest to date has been on policy, innovation, and service improvement. Chris has excellent leadership credentials, experience in working with charities that provide crucial services, and a track record of delivering innovative change.
In his role as RSPCA Chief Executive, Chris will continue to shape the debate about animals in society and how to develop and maintain services that meet the needs of animals and the people who care for them.
CEO, Cruelty Free International
Michelle joined Cruelty Free International in 1999 and has overseen the implementation of the organisation’s most ambitious and innovative strategies for creating positive change for animals in laboratories. She spearheaded the organisation’s historic decade-long campaign to successfully end cosmetics testing on animals in Europe.
Michelle is known for her dynamic, passionate, innovative and determined approach to ending animal testing, and is one of the most respected and accomplished individuals in the animal protection movement.
Between 2003 and 2006 Michelle was Chief Executive of the Animal Protection Institute in California, and prior to working for Cruelty Free International, Michelle was Director of Services and Deputy Chief Executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society.
Born July 23, 1961, Michel Vandenbosch studied moral philosophy at the Free University Brussels (VUB). He began his career as the Belgian representative for the International Primate Protection League. Later he became campaigns director and spokesperson for Veeweyde, the oldest animal protection organization in Anderlecht, Belgium.
On June 10, 1992, he and Ann De Greef founded the animal welfare and rights organization, Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA); Michel Vandenbosch has since been the president of GAIA.
Under his leadership GAIA has become Belgium’s largest and most influential animal welfare organization, achieving groundbreaking progress, including a legal ban on wild animals in circuses, a legal ban on fur farming, mandatory spay and neutering of all domestic cats and an animal welfare minister in each of the country’s three regions. GAIA is a member of the Animal Welfare Council of the three Belgian regions. His animal rights activism led to his election as “Man of the Year 2000” by the readers of Humo, a popular weekly magazine in Belgium.
He was a member of the Advisory Council of the Belgian Food Safety Authority until 2015. Until 2019 Vandenbosch was on the board of Eurogroup for Animals of which GAIA is still member. Until 2017 he was also member of the Board of directors of Compassion in World Farming. He is the author of several books and articles about the rise of the animal movement and animal issues in Belgium.