Animal Rights Groups: Fighting for Ethical Treatment 

animal rights activists groups

Animal rights groups aim to spare animals the immense cruelty humans continue to inflict on them. In the USA alone, close to 40,000 organizations and individuals fight to save animals and work toward ending the status that animals are disposable property.

Although animal rights groups and the ethical treatment of animals started in the early 17th Century, it’s been a long uphill climb. The SPCA was formed in 1824 in the UK and was the world’s first national animal protection society. Yet, here we are.

At World Animal Foundation, we provide educational support for our readers and spread the ideals that drive animal rights activists. We share their message that animals are sentient begins, like humans. We care about wildlife as much as domestic pets and farmed animals. We also care about you!

Animal Activists Groups

animal rights groups

Animal rights groups still haven’t arrived at a united method to end cruelty and don’t always agree on each other’s tactics. One side believes in using blunt force. Others gently persuade people through awareness about what is happening in laboratories, the entertainment business, the food industry, and the clothing trade.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

The HSUS doesn’t need an introduction though some people get confused about its role as an animal rights organization.

HSUS works toward animal protection, animal rights, anti-cruelty, humane education, animal ethics, animal law, wild animals, and conservation. Humane Society International is its sister organization.

The HSUS is a non-profit animal rights organization that promotes animal welfare and strives to reduce animal cruelty. Their coverage includes issues concerning pets, wildlife, farmed animals (horses & equines), and lab animals used in research, testing, and education. 

Since 2001, HSUS has held massive campaigns to raise awareness about factory farming, puppy mills, wildlife abuse, blood sports, the fur trade, domestic animals, and pets. The HSUS began after a split with the American Humane Association, believing a new organization could fortify the animal rights and welfare movement. 

To tackle animal rights violators, HSUS wages an intense political war and finds the necessary resources to evoke change in the food industry, clothing trade, research, and entertainment business.

Animal Justice Project 

AJP is a newcomer on the animal rights front. Established in 2014 by a group of vegan lifestyle advocates, the team conducts undercover stings on farm operations, abattoirs, and animal markets. AJP argues against animal farming, claiming that farming has no future.

They seek non-violent direct action and don’t mind being unpopular with the agricultural hub if it means changes in the ethical treatment on farms.

AJP specializes in undercover strategies with advanced camera work to capture the truth of what happens behind closed doors at mega-farms.

Anti-Vivisection Coalition (AVC)

The AVC is a British-based pressure group that fights for ethical treatment and to stop animal testing. Their Stop Vivisection Initiative collected over a million signatures and called upon the European Union to eliminate animal testing. 

In 2014, the AVC launched a successful campaign to stop primate testing and petitioned the UK Government to stop using taxpayer funds. The campaign aggressively targeted the New Castel University Institute of Neuroscience for subjecting macaques to lab experiments.

For Life On Earth (FLOE)

FLOE is another British animal activist group that promotes ethical treatment and welfare. Peter Egan charged the British Parliament to change the Animal Welfare Act to include lab animals. The group has been active on British soil since 2013.

FLOE animal rights organization would like to see members of parliament engage in a conversation about animal research and the value and science behind it. 

Negotiation is Over (NIO)

animal rights activists groups

Understandably, some animal rights activists get frustrated with the animal research laboratories, the farming industry, and the food industry, as well as people not caring enough to make impactful changes to animal rights.

Camille Marino founded NIO in 2009 as a militant vegan operation that walks the talk. But somewhere, NIO became an extremist group.

To get its message across, NIO doesn’t pull its punches, targets researchers, and threatens them to force change. This aggressive stance has led to many criminal charges against the members of NIO. While their heart is in the right place, their tactics are questionable.

NIO has close links to Eleventh Hour for Animals and Animal Liberation Front and sole activist Jerry Vlasak. What’s apparent with NIO is that it sizzles with anger and contempt.

Northern American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO)

The NAALPO has been charged as a domestic terrorist group and supports using violence against researchers, and many of its staff have spent time in jail. They have a proud history of destroying hunting towers.

Primate Freedom Project

PFP is a non-profit animal rights organization in Atlanta, Georgia, fighting to end non-human primate use in biomedical and behavioral experimentation. They encourage the public to write letters for ethical treatment to the United States Congress to end the suffering of individual animals.

Spokesman Rick Bogle condones using violence against researchers at laboratories to spare animals.

Progress for Science (P4S)

P4S lures its member activist to join using a gentler animal rights group approach. It preaches change through awareness and active member involvement instead of sucker-punching people in the face with threats of violence.

Founder and president Carol Galsser host monthly protests that attract a loyal following of about 30 fellow activists. P4S actively targets UCLA researchers but doesn’t always get its facts right. P4S is often accused of using fabricated statistics to attack, which might be its Achilles Heel.

White Coat Waste Project

WCWP has a clever brand name. A white coat personifies lab testing, a prime target for this conservative animal rights group. Some advocates try to force change through violent acts, but WCWP has a different method. It aims to attack animal lab testing facilities where it hurts: in the pocketbook.

Republican Anthony Belloti leads this group through lobbying and trying to get funding cut for lab and animal testing programs. Using its clout, WCWP has former PETA director Justin Goodman steering the movement.

Animal Rights Advocacy Groups

animal rights organizations

It’s difficult for animal rights groups to find common ground, and each group fights in the wasteland of animal abuse and neglect. Since there are thousands of organizations, it becomes difficult to understand the methods some of these groups use to create change.

Friends of Animals (FOA)

Friends of Animals has a fundamental wish to stop and ban animal testing and operate its sanctuary project. FOA has a healthy budget to help animals that need the sanctuary’s protection. Once FOA frees animals from institutionalized exploitation, its staff and on-site veterinarian provide the necessary care and rehab.

Established in New York City in 1957, FOA grew into an international non-profit network that rescues domestic or wild animals from cruelty. It promotes many facets of animal care, from deforestation to affordable spay and neuter programs.

American Anti Vivisection Society (AAVS)

Founded in 1883 by Caroline Earle White, AAVS’s main objective is to stop specific procedures performed on animals for medical or cosmetic purposes. It was the first anti-vivisection group in America and hoped to influence and regulate how science and society used animals.

AAVS expanded deeper into animal advocacy and worked to end vivisection entirely. White also worked with the PSPCA and founded the Women’s Humane Society.

Mercy for Animals (MFA)

animal activist groups

All animal rights activists have their way of promoting change as long as it has a common goal of reducing the harm we cause to animals. Founder and former president Milo Runkle and his non-profit animal protection efforts work to promote the end of the demanding food industry. One of the big focuses of MFA is to change policies.

Milo Runkle and his non-profit animal protection agency have worked hard to educate and prevent cruelty to farm animals by promoting better and compassionate eating and changing policies. 

MFA’s success has spread across the USA, Canada, Brazil, Latin America, India, and Asia. It works with companies like Nestle, Walmart, and Perdue to adopt animal welfare policies. MFA also works against factory farms and slaughterhouses and creates change by suggesting plant-based alternatives to consumers.

National Operation Anti Vivisection (NOAV)

NOAV is the offspring of SHAC and began its operation in 2014. It strongly resembles the tactics used by SHAC, who targeted Huntingdon Live Sciences. NOAV has a tough opposition team to end animal experimentation. 

They concentrate their efforts on lab mice and rats and the philosophy that because these creatures aren’t as cute as puppies, they still deserve protection.

Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

Members of ALF care deeply about animals and fight to end the mistreatment of critters who cannot defend themselves. To get its message across, ALF uses extremist measures to force change.

Founded by Ronnie Lee in 1976, the group uses a BiteBack tactic and keeps tabs on its acts of aggression against perpetrators of violence against animals.

ALF promotes itself and its acts on the North American Animal Liberation Press and sees itself as the savior where other animal rights groups have failed.

Animal Rights Organizations

animal rights group

People across the world are gathering to end the suffering of animals. However, not all organizations agree on conveying their message and helping direct people’s habits about animal product consumption.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal (PETA)

One of the animal rights movement icons is PETA, which has grown into the largest organization in the world, representing the voice of animals. PETA has over 9 million members and over $66 million in revenue.

PETA is a non-profit organization led by founder Ingrid Newkirk and fights against speciesism, animals used in lab experiments, farm animals mistreated for the food industry, entertainment business, and the fur and clothing trade.

PETA reaches its members through public education, investigative journalism, research, rescues, special events, and celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Sir Paul McCartney, Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, and countless others.

Cruelty-Free International (CFI)

CFI has been fighting for the rights of animals since 1898. CFI is an animal protection and advocacy organization that wants animal experiments abolished. They certify cruelty-free products with the iconic Leaping Bunny trademark.

CFI uses education, research, lobbying, undercover investigations, and lawsuits to drive home its argument in defense of animals. Noted celebrity Ricky Gervais is one of its ambassadors.

Eleventh Hour for Animals

This group has strong ties with Camille Marino and NIO. This volunteer animal rights organization primarily focuses on rescuing animals on Death Row. Their staff provides homes for cats and dogs knocking on death’s door. 

Once the animal is safe at their kennels or adoption centers, the team focuses on finding loving homes and promoting spay and neuter education.

Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN)

SAEN has demanded that significant universities end their severe abuse of lab animals like dogs, rabbits, and primates since its inception in 1996. The SAEN team uncovered documents regarding the extreme abuse and neglect lab animals in top universities endure.

They also prevented the sale of pound-seizure animals to labs in Nashville and halted experiments on primates in San Diego.

Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM)

animal rights activists

FARM saw the writing on the wall eons before mainstream animal rights promoted veganism and sustainability. Since its inception in 1976, FARM has grown into a national nonprofit group that fights for animal rights, especially the abuse of farmed animals for food.

FARM uses awareness campaigns and international programs to promote its message:

  • MeatOut
  • Vegan Earth Day
  • World Day for Farmed Animals
  • Compassionate Holidays

With over 40 years experience of driving the message to bring changes to animal rights, FARM has reached and influenced thousands of people, potentially saving millions of animals from ending up on the dinner table.

Animal Cruelty Organizations

group that advocates animal rights

Many animal rights organizations take a stance against specific aspects of animal activism. Some lean toward animal welfare over animal rights. Other organizations take on an all-or-nothing mandate and want to stop harming animals for all human purposes.

American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

The ASPCA is part of the animal rights movement’s strong backbone but has a longer history of preventing animal cruelty. The ASPCA is an offshoot of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA in the UK, founded in 1824). It operates as the longest-running institution to protect animals (1866) in the USA.

Thanks to the devotion and efforts of the ASPCA, America saw its first anti-cruelty law pass in 1867. Because of the enormity of animal cruelty in the USA and worldwide, the ASPCA gets into trouble with watchdog committees for spending its revenue on fundraising instead of granting funds to shelters.

World Animal Protection International 

The team at WAPI works to save animals and spare them endless suffering. WAPI fights for animals in disaster zones and influences large corporations to change their impact.

Because of their tenacity, 558,000 advocates helped to end cruel elephant attractions by getting TripAdvisor and other travel networks to stop promoting such events.

WAPI influenced KFC to improve the welfare of broiler chickens and convince Turkish Airlines to stop transporting wild animals like African grey parrots from their native habitat.

Animal Welfare Institute

Animal Welfare

As one of the oldest non-profit organizations and animal rights groups, AWI was founded in 1951. It works to end suffering at the hands of people. AWI has a division that pushes for legal reform. Founder Christine Stevens is known as the Mother of the Animal Protection Movement.

AWI’s early endeavor focused on ending lab experiments, but it branched into protecting factory farm animals and all aspects of animal welfare, including marine life. AWI is a key lobbyist concentrating on changing laws.

American Humane Association 

AH is responsible for creating a safety net for all Hollywood film animals and the certification mark “No Animals Were Harmed” during the filming. Founded in 1877, the AH promotes animal safety, welfare, and well-being in the entertainment business.

AH has also created the Farm Animal Service program responsible for a food welfare label system.

AH played a massive role in rescuing horses on the battlegrounds of WW1 and sent teams into world disaster areas to help save animals. In 1954, an offshoot of AH became HSUS.

Animal Equality

Animal Equality has been fighting for change since 2006. This dedicated group of advocates has grown into an extensive network representing eight countries.  

Much of their effort is concentrated on saving farm animals and farmed fish and changing the culture of how the public perceives these animals used in the food industry.

Animal Testing Organizations 

At WAF, we’ve already researched the cruel and indefensible methods of obtaining scientific research in our Animal Testing Facts. The arguments from both sides are incredibly volatile.

Americans for Medical Advancements (AFMA)

Animal rights groups often get mocked because their members don’t have a scientific or medical background. Testing proponents ridicule them for not understanding the science behind laboratory experiments. 

Enter AFMA–founded by a doctor and veterinarian. This team has the scientific background to support the data that animal testing doesn’t deliver the correct models for human response.

To make the voices of innocent animals heard, AFMA  works toward the Parliamentary Early Day Motion 175 and a peer-reviewed investigation on animal experiments and human responses to drugs and disease. AFMA believes animal testing should be banned.

Animals Defenders International

Just over thirty years old, ADI has a solid network of supporters in the USA, UK, Colombia, Peru, and South Africa. It spreads its message through education and awareness dedicated to preserving the rights of animals in captivity, wild animals, and their habitat.

ADI works with governments to rescue and protect animals traded for the animal circus market and animal trafficking. The ADI provides sanctuaries in South Africa to save wildlife like 40 ex-circus lions. Learn more about animal captivity statistics to understand the gravity of the situation.

Animal Free Research UK

AFRUK has been promoting non-animal testing methods in labs for one of the longest periods of activism. It is a research charity that funds non-testing techniques and develops scientific results without using animals. Their focus is on providing non-animal testing alternatives.

AFRUK relies on education, research, and funding to promote its ideology. 

Cruelty Free International

CFI is why the products in our bathroom vanity and cleaning cupboard have products with the certified Leaping Bunny symbol. CFI created the gold standard for cosmetics, toiletries, and household goods that comply with the cruelty-free program designed to protect animals from harm.

CFI has been at the forefront of one of the longest periods of animal protection and saving them from horrific lab experiments since 1898.

Iranian Anti Vivisection Association (IAVA)

The IAVA was founded by graduate students practicing in medical science fields in 2009. Their central advocacy concentrates on reducing and replacing the use of animals in experiments by developing new and advanced methods. IAVA encourages change through education, training, and raising awareness. 

IAVA, Iran’s most recognized animal rights group, received the Brown Bear Award from Iran Animal Rights Watch in 2012.

Animal Rights Activists 

animal rights activists groups

Activists often branch out alone when they feel their message and approach to change is too slow-moving or doesn’t meet their idea of activism. Sometimes these individuals cross the line from activist to extremist..

  • Rick Bogle

Rich Bogle is famous for this Primate Freedom Project. He’s an American activist who won’t shy away from threatening violence against researchers. He’s famous for saying, “your elimination is justified” to his targets.

  • Prof. Steve Best

Steve Best takes animal activism to a different level and is known as an animal rights extremist because of his stringent viewpoint. He is an associate professor of philosophy in Texas. 

Best co-founded the North American Animal Liberation Press Office and helped to fund events for Negotiations is Over (although he issued a restraining order against NIO’s team leader Camille Marino).

  • Ray Greek

Greek is an American doctor and critic of toxicology testing on animals. He has published several books and established the Americans for Medical Advancement (AFMA). He is criticized for using outdated data and firmly believes animal tests lack value for predictive power for human medicine.

  • Michael Budkie

Stop Animal Experimentation Now (SAEN) is the brainchild of co-founder and activist Budkie, who continually holds the USDA accountable for their lack of compliance concerning animal welfare and lab experiment practices.

Most of the information about Budkie is outdated. He recently filed a complaint about a scientist at Sandford Health for failing to comply with animal welfare laws.

  • Dr. Lawrence A. Hansen

Dr. Hansen is a spokesperson for PETA and a respected neuroscientist. He’s the director of Americans for Medical Advancement (see Ray Greek). He’s accused of conducting animal research while accusing others of committing a moral wrong.

  • Nicoal Sheen

Sheen is the spokesperson for North American Animal Liberation Press Office and has no qualms about threatening researchers and others as part of a self-defense method.

  • Camille Marino

Marino is a violent, convicted activist who has harassed and threatened researchers and people supposedly on the same path of animal rights. Marino is the founder of Negotiation is Over and frequently publishes the names and addresses of her targets on NIS.

  • Dr. Jerry Vlasak

Vlasak is a trauma surgeon and animal rights extremist. He supports violence against researchers and is closely linked to NAALPO. Vlasak has a comprehensive portfolio of animal activism and conducted animal research on dogs early in his career.

  • Luke Steele

Steele is a passionate animal rights extremist and PETA campaign strategist (former). He worked for the National Anti-vivisection Alliance, Anti-vivisection Coalition (terminated in 2014), and Animal Aid. Steele has countless convictions, including intimidation and harassment. 

What Do Animal Rights Groups Fight For?

Animal rights groups fight for the betterment of animals. Although nearly 40,000 animal welfare and rights groups exist, some groups target a specific sector.

Animal Trafficking

animal rights groups

Animal trafficking is harmful to animals, flora, and fauna. It involves many aspects of the illegal trade, including poaching, smuggling, capturing, mutilating, importing, and exporting endangered and protected wildlife.

INTERPOL and UNODC use the definition ‘wildlife and forest crime’ when referring to the illegal exploitation of animals and plants.

Animal Abuse

animal abuse

Animal abuse is devastating cruelty that millions of animals endure at the hands of humans. Cruelty includes intentionally withholding care, malicious killing, torture, and inflicting severe and repeated pain. 

Animal cruelty laws are vague and vary from state to state and even animal species. Dogs and cats might fall under the protection of some anti-cruelty laws, but cows or deer might be exempt.

Not all states ban thrill killing; usually, only companion animals get any protection if the abuse incident is reported.

Animal Exploitation

Exploitation is a large umbrella that casts a dark shadow on many animal industries that benefit from using animals for personal gain.

group that advocates animal rights
  • Lab animals
  • Circus or zoo animals (any entertainment business that uses animals)
  • Puppy mills or captive breeding
  • Factory farming
  • Sport and trophy hunting
  • Food industry
  • Clothing trade

Many animal welfare groups combat animal exploitation through public awareness campaigns and protests.

Factory Farming

group that advocates animal rights

Did you know that almost 99% of Americans’ meat comes from factory farming? Factory farming is designed to maximize production and profits. Animals grown on factory farms have no freedom to move, are devoid of interaction, and live in appalling conditions.

Proponents of animal rights activists try to abolish the cruelty of factory farming by force. A better way might be to reach children by educating them and giving them choices.

Animal Testing

group that advocates animal rights

It is a catchall term that refers to animals being tested in lab environments to extrapolate the effects of these procedures, chemicals, and medicinal products (among others) for research.

Animals in labs don’t fall under the protection of USDA and are subjected to horrific experiments without pain relief and die during or after the testing.

Rights to Live

The main principle behind the animal rights movement is that activists stand up for the right of animals as inherent beings. Further, those inherent beings have value regardless of how they benefit humans. 

Rights to live is one of the many hurdles animal rights activists must conquer in a court of law to escalate the movement.

Animals’ Not a Property

animal rights activists groups

The Animal Rights Movement still has an uphill climb despite its many victories. The law still treats animals as pieces of property with financial value.

Animals are not defined as legal begins. 

Join an Animal Rights Group

Since you’re still reading, it’s easy to see you’re inspired by the overwhelming and heartwrenching reality innocent creatures face daily from the demands of science, the food industry, and the clothing trade.

animal activist groups

Make Sure You Are Aware of the Issues

Suppose you’re interested in saving animals and becoming a vegan or vegetarian to help in the fight. Although emotion got you here, it’s time to learn the hard fact lurking behind seedy segments like the food industry, factory farming, puppy mills, and the clothing industry.

At WAF, we will continue to research and share the data, but be aware and know what is happening in the industry that harms animals. 

Lifestyle Change 

You don’t need to be a martyr to change the rights of animals. Make small contributions that benefit animals, raise awareness, and look for the Leaping Bunny symbol when replenishing products. Try to eat less or no meat, and stop purchasing leather goods—volunteer for animal-related causes.

Each act or sacrifice can save an animal, and we can reverse the Kill Clock.

Donate to Animal Rights Groups

Animal rights and welfare groups need your help in many ways. Donating time is often as powerful as donating money. 

Before choosing an organization, look at its history, achievements, and About Us page if its message resonates with your philosophy. Donating money is undoubtedly appreciated, but boots on the ground get the job done.


How To Become an Animal Advocate?

The most important step is to set emotion aside and, with a clear head, analyze what you’re passionate about and list your strengths.

As an animal advocate, you might have a soft heart for factory-farmed animals or cry whenever you see a poached animal. Or you’ve had your heart trampled walking through your local animal shelter.

Focus on your interests and then start your research. Exploring local resources like the ASPCA is a good start if you want to make an impact. You’ll learn so much by getting involved.

Are Animal Rights Activists Groups Following a Vegan Lifestyle?

Animal Rights Activists often follow a vegan lifestyle or make subtle or drastic changes to their daily diet to reduce the harm to our animal population. Becoming a vegan is a difficult choice for some and a no-brainer for others.

Every small contribution you can make towards becoming a vegan is a tremendous win for animal rights groups.

What Is the Most Extreme Animal Rights Group?

Many would answer that ALF, Animal Liberation Front, fits the bill for the most radical animal rights organization. The Eleventh Hour of Animals or Negotiation Is Over is another. Several individuals are extremist animal rights activists.


So glad you’re here on this journey with us. At WAF, we are doing our part in educating people about making lifestyle choices to help animals.

Animal rights groups have one goal: to save animals. Activists commit to change for the betterment of animals, which in the long term is the betterment for people too.

I will not condone violence or extremism, but I will make a difference, however insignificant in the big scheme of things. I’ll be that grain of sand that bonds with others to form a beach.

A parting thought: If you can change hearts, you can change minds. But you can’t change someone’s mind if you don’t try with all your heart!

Monika Martyn
Monika Martyn is a nomadic minimalist and published author. Her pet portfolio includes experience with over forty cats and dogs, and she becomes their surrogate and a valued pack member. One of her proudest accomplishments is typing while petting a fur baby on her lap. She also excels at dog-speak and cat-talk and is working on mastering fish lingo. Aside from her animal advocacy, she is passionate about the environment, plastic pollution, and living with less (not including chocolate and coffee). She practices yoga and meditation faithfully. She’s experienced living abroad and believes that together people can evoke change for the better. Or at least be kind to one another despite our differences. She has an uncanny knack for remembering people’s names. She’s proud of her two Pushcart Nominations, her debut novel, and her marriage. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. Monika believes that education is the biggest gift to humanity at any age.

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