Rosa is the AFS Conference Chair/Organizer, Founder of the Fur Free Society, a 501 (c) (3) organization, whose mission is to end the abuse and exploitation of fur bearing animals on fur farms and in the wild. Its projects are described on the websites which covers a large variety of related issues - Anti-Fur Society - Little Fox Book - People4ChineseAnimals - AFS Conference - The Anti-Fur Society started in 2004 to help revive anti-fur activism as fur was making a comeback. It has been successfully reaching out to animal rights activists worldwide mostly through our social media (which has over 1 million followers) in order to form a chain of activists to help educate the public, with the goal of making fur consumption not profitable or worthwhile for the fur industry. Rosa is the author of the children’s book, "How the Little Fox Saved Her Coat", which in addition to being a charming children’s story, offers an anti-fur/anti-hunting message as well as an instructive lesson in leadership for children. Additionally, Rosa has been effectively working with animal rights groups in China to help promote the rejection of fur inside of China. Fur Free Society
Julie O'Connor, PhD
Julie is the director of Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF); Regional Legislative District Director of The League of Humane Voters of NJ; Vice President of The Humane Education Committee, Inc.s genuinely dedicated to helping end the fur industry by educating the public in their areas. Their work is based on the belief that outreach and taking the message to the public are most essential for all in order to help animals. By using large video screens to show fur footage, distributing educational materials in high-trafficked areas, and targetting large shopping districts on weekends, their presence is deeply felt by both retailers and shoppers alike. Julie is now dedicated to helping empower other activists by sharing her experience and determination as she feels that it is not complicated to be an anti-fur activist. All it takes is being sympathetic to the demise of fur bearing animals used by in the fur industry, and take on a leadership role. CAAF GROUP
Kimberly Moore, Esq.
Kimberly Moore is a senior attorney at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Washington, D.C., where she specializes in tax, joint ventures, private equity, public-private partnerships and complex financing. She is a nationally recognized expert on affordable housing development and syndication and an expert on laws governing both the treatment of animals used in research, exhibition and transport and the slaughter of animals raised for food. Kimberly is committed to advancing animal welfare through legal reform and is a strong advocate for immediate legal reform at both the federal and state level to protect fur bearing animals. Kimberly has represented animal rescue groups, has assisted charitable institutions on organizational and strategic matters and is an outspoken critic of existing laws that fail to adequately protect animal rights. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and received a Master of Laws degree in Taxation from New York University.
Karen Davis, PhD
Karen is the President and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. Her books include 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. Award-winningly profiled in The Washington Post, and the author of many published articles and book chapters, most recently in Meat CultureBrill (2016), Karen maintains a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia and was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame in 2002 for “outstanding contributions to animal liberation.” UPC President Karen Davis' Bio
In the early 1980s Mark worked for Greenpeace in the UK as Wildlife Campaigner. During this time the first European ban on the import of whitecoat seal fur was introduced and the ban on commercial whaling passed at the International Whaling Commission – issues that Mark worked on while at Greenpeace. At the same time in the UK, Mark led the successful campaign to close down live dolphin and whale shows. Leaving Greenpeace in 1985, Mark set up anti-fur group Lynx, now called Respect for Animals, and has worked on the anti-fur campaign ever since. Respect for Animals led the consumer campaign in the UK against the wearing of fur which resulted in the closure of 90% of fur outlets as well as the political campaign which resulted in the ban on fur factory farming in 2000. Respect for Animals has also campaigned successfully with other animal welfare groups in the European Union to ban the import of cat and dog fur as well as all products from commercial seal hunts. As part of his campaigning work Mark has been involved with undercover investigations photographing and filming inside fur factory farms as well as the Canadian seal hunt during which, on one occasion, he was arrested by the Canadian authorities. Mark was given the Lord Erskine Award by the RSPCA in 2009 for his contribution to animal welfare. RespectforAnimals.org
Odette Wilkens, Esq.
Odette is Executive Director of the Equal Justice Alliance, which is seeking legislative and judicial remedies to repeal or amend the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. She is a member of the Committee of Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals of the New York City Bar Association. As a corporate attorney, Odette was Assistant General Counsel for a major international recruiting firm. She holds a masters degree in business administration in Finance from Stern, New York University. She has spoken at bar associations, law schools and legal conferences on the Act’s implications for civil liberties. www.equaljusticealliance.org
Anna is the founder and creative director of Pelush, a luxury faux fur fashion brand established in Manhattan, NY. Anna was born and raised in the fashion capital of Milan, Italy. Her passion for glamour, elegance and style led her to pursue a fashion career that has spanned over two decades. Before creating Pelush, Anna worked as a womenswear buyer, personal shopper, and stylist for the infuential luxury houses of Fendi and Prada. Anna is well known and respected among fashion editors, celebrities and tastemakers for her attention to detail, knowing eye and unmatched ability to cohesively style for any occasion. Pelush refects Anna’s unparalleled eye for elegance, detail and design that embraces a conscious and compassionate style that embodies the modern luxury which the world is craving. Anna is a life-long animal lover and dedicated activist making her home in New York City. Trough Pelush, she is changing the way faux fur is perceived and worn: http://pelush.com/
Doris Lin, Esq.
Doris Lin has a degree in Applied Biological Sciences from M.I.T. and has worked for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the US Environmental Protection Agency. After working at the EPA, she attended law school and is now an attorney specializing in animal law. As VP of legal affairs for the Animal Protection League of NJ, she overturned New Jersey's 2005 Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy with a unanimous decision from the NJ Appellate Division that found that the 2005 NJ bear hunt was illegal. She is a former chair of the NJ State Bar Association's Animal Law Committee, and is the author of the Wildlife Protection chapter in the NJ Environmental Law Handbook. Aplnj.org/
Nicole Van Gemert
“Nicole van Gemert, a former member of the Dutch Parliament, is the director of Bont voor Dieren (fur for animals) in the Netherlands, a world leader regarding scientific research on environmental impact of fur farms, and responsible for the ban on fur farms in her country. The Netherlands is responsible for the slaughter of 6 million mink each year which places it as the fourth biggest largest mink exporter in the world. Nicole is convinced that the solution against the fur industry lies in influencing the demand. Therefore, the campaign has shifted to the Chinese consumers whose demand for fur is growing astronomically due to the lack of laws to protect animals in that country. Therefore, Nicole at Bont voor Dieren is working closely with Chinese animal groups. They made a Chinese website together and are now working on a documentary on Chinese fur. Prior to becoming an animal rights activist, and joining Bont voor Dieren, Nicole was a politician, member of the socialist party. It was then that she had the opportunity to introduce the antifur bill that led to the law that will end the Dutch fur farming in 2024. Currently, she is also a board member of the Dutch Animal Coalition, and of the worldwide Fur Free Alliance. Nicole will be working on an antifur documentary, and the preview will be presented at the AFS conference.www.bontvoordieren.nl
Tod Emko is a conservationist from New York City. He went to Galapagos for the first time in 2008, serving with an international marine conservation group. While working to protect the marine reserve, Tod fell in love with the islands and wanted to ensure the survival of its amazing and important animals. He soon saw that veterinarians were in dire need in the Galapagos, where many introduced dangers threatened the local biosphere. He started Darwin Animal Doctors to fill the void and bring qualified vets to Galapagos to help all animals of the islands. Tod is the president and founder of DarwinAnimalDoctors.org/
Bina Ahmad, Esq.
Bina Ahmad is social justice attorney and has worked with numerous animal rights and human rights organizations. She worked in Palestine with Al-Haq, served on the legal team for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, was a legal consultant to Badil, and the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Palestine Division. She serves on the Steering Committee of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and the advisory board of the Food Empowerment Project. She gives Know Your Rights trainings for movements and state targeted communities. Currently, she is a public defender in Manhattan, New York. www.legal-aid.org
Susan Russell, whom the Star Ledger described as “formidable” and “gutsy,” is a veteran wildlife protection professional with years of state, national, and international experience. She is former vice president of Friends of Animals, Inc., (New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.), and former legislative advisor for the Animal Welfare Institute’s Society for Animal Protective Legislation in Washington, D.C. In New Jersey, Susan lobbied the campaigns to outlaw all types of leghold traps and banning the importation of exotic, wild-caught birds for the pet trade. She is wildlife policy director for the Animal Protection League of New Jersey and the League of Humane Voters of New Jersey. www.aplnj.org
Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH
Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., is a double Board-certified neurologist and preventive medicine/public health specialist and is on a mission! She is demonstrating how there is a mutual benefit to both humans and animals when animals are protected. She is the author of the book, Animals and Public Health. Why treating animals better is critical to human welfare, which examines how the treatment of animals impacts human health. In her TED Talk, she discusses how treating animals better is not only good for animals, but also good for us. Dr. Akhtar has spoken and written extensively on the connection between animal protection and human health. More: http://ayshaakhtar.com/about-dr-akhtar- Dr. Akhtar is Deputy Director of the Army Traumatic Brain Injury Program and Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics She serves as Lieutenant Commander in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to protect the public from public health threats. http://ayshaakhtar.com/
Roberto is the founder of The Animals’ Battalion which addresses a variety of issues (fur trade, veganism, circus industry, companion animal’s declawing). He promotes the New York’s Anti-Declaw Legislation which seeks to ban declawing statewide. His presentation will be on declawing (onychectomy), how it is a medically unnecessary amputation, and the commercial interest of the American Veterinary Medical Association. He will explain why declawing is an animal rights issue that demands attention to end such unnecessary cruelty to cats. He will further explain why there is a crucial need of lobbying to combat the declawing farce. As a TNR certified, and extensive experience with domestic animals, Roberto works, when possible, with local animal rescue groups.The Animals’ Battalion maintained an animal rights presence at various animal abuse court cases, helping to maintain media attention on stories which would otherwise be forgotten. Prior to dedicating himself to his own organization, Roberto served as an organizer and outreach coordinator for various animal rights organizations in NY, dedicated to the fur trade, veganism, circus industry, and others. www.animalsbattalion.org
Rachel J. Ejsmont
Rachel, a long time animal rights activist, has been at the forefront in the animal rights movement. A vegan for the last 5 years, Rachel is not afraid to proclaim her beliefs and convince others to go the compassionate way, and that veganism is the highest point of compassion a human can achieve. She is effective in protesting against the fur trade as well as organizing many other types of protests ranging from puppy mills, domestic animal abuse to animals in entertainment; she has gone undercover in slaughterhouses, and testified in a high profile animal abuse case which resulted in the abuser to receive a 4-year prison sentence. Rachel's interest is in helping people become involved in speaking up for animals and sharing her experience and passion to save animals by educating the public.