Alliance Releases Report from 2015 Animal Rights Conference

Conference speakers highlight “incremental changes” towards veganism and running pressure campaigns.


September 8, 2015 – The Animal Agriculture Alliance today released a report that details observations from the 34th annual Animal Rights National Conference presented by The Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). According to conference organizers, more than 1,500 animal rights activists from 47 states and 22 countries including Brazil, Canada, India and Europe participated.

“Sending eyes and ears to events like the Animal Rights Conference to gather information about what activist groups are planning and saying behind closed doors is very important in order for the industry to better understand the animal rights movement and how it affects their businesses,” said Animal Agriculture Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith. “By attending these events we can more effectively counter their misleading campaigns against animal agriculture.”

The speakers stressed the importance of focusing on “incremental changes” towards veganism by running pressure campaigns against food companies and convincing consumers to go vegan gradually.

David Coman-Hidy, executive director at The Humane League, noted that activists need to scale back their demands in order to achieve small victories. “You need to look at everything as stepping stones,” said Coman-Hidy. He encourages activists to start small with their demands in order to seem rational, but always pressure companies to move towards eliminating meat, milk and eggs from their menus.

Alex Hershaft, founder of FARM, stated that activists should gradually convince consumers to go vegan by saying “we are trying to reduce the number of animals used for food. We aren’t trying to make everyone vegan.” By just putting their foot in the door, they are more likely to keep the attention of the specific individual or audience. Hershaft said, “Take them one step at a time or you will lose them.”

Other notable activist presenters included Nathan Runkle (Mercy for Animals), Paul Shapiro (Humane Society of the United States), Gene Baur (Farm Sanctuary), Peter Young (Animal Liberation Front) and Erica Meier (Compassion Over Killing).

The report, which includes summaries from more than 30 conference plenary and breakout sessions, also specifies key quotes and details strategies and upcoming campaigns.

The common thread among all groups was focusing on farm animals in order to – it appears – take advantage of media attention and pressure restaurants and retailers into making policy changes that ultimately lead to a vegan society.

“The report captures the true goals and motivations of the leading animal rights organizations,” said Johnson Smith. “I encourage our members to utilize the report as a tool when communicating with stakeholders about the true agenda of the various activist groups which is to put animal agriculture out of business.”

The 2015 Animal Rights Conference Report, which includes personal accounts of speaker presentations and general observations, is available to Alliance members on the Alliance website.

Media wishing to obtain copies of the full report, or for all other inquiries, please contact Hannah Thompson, communications director, at

Category: Press Releases

Tag: Animal Rights National Conference,