20 Women Who Have Shaped the Animal Protection Movement

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Throughout history, women have played a pivotal role in the fight for animal rights. From starting powerful animal protection organizations and exposing atrocities in factory farms to developing mouthwatering plant-based foods, women have revolutionized the field of animal advocacy. We hope the stories of these remarkable women, past and present, will inspire you to create meaningful impact for animals.

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1. Caroline Earle White

Caroline Earle White, an outstanding American philanthropist and anti-vivisection activist, co-founded the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1867. She established the women’s branch of the society in 1869 and founded the American Anti-Vivisection Society in 1883. Her remarkable achievements in animal welfare continue to inspire and influence people around the world.

2. Lizzy Lind af Hageby

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Emilie Augusta Louise “Lizzy” Lind af Hageby was an influential anti-vivisection activist in early 20th-century England. She gained widespread recognition for her powerful speeches on women’s rights, animal protection, and the connection between animal rights and feminism. Her tireless efforts in advocating for these causes have left a lasting impact on society.

3. Sally Shrigley

Elsie “Sally” Shrigley and five other visionaries founded The Vegan Society in 1944, marking the birth of the word “vegan.” Formed from the beginning and end of the word “vegetarian,” the new term represented a development of vegetarianism and a new, more conscientious way of living.

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4. Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall has dedicated 60 years to studying chimpanzees’ social interactions in their natural habitat. At age 26, she set off from England to Tanzania to embark on this groundbreaking research, which has since transformed our understanding of chimpanzee behavior and revolutionized the field of primatology. In 1977, Dr. Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute to support and inspire others to protect and cherish the natural world. 

5. Jo-Anne McArthur

Jo-Anne McArthur is an accomplished and celebrated photographer, author, and photo editor, as well as a highly sought-after speaker. She founded We Animals Media, which showcases her extensive work and exceptional ability to capture the intricate, multifaceted relationships between people and animals around the world.

6. Angela Davis

Angela Davis is a highly respected American activist, professor, and author who has dedicated her life to championing racial justice and human rights. Her wide-ranging work includes authoring books on feminism and the U.S. prison system, co-founding Critical Resistance to fight the prison-industrial complex, and serving as the director of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a true inspiration to many who look up to her unwavering commitment to social justice.

7. Joanne Lee Molinaro

Joanne Molinaro, aka The Korean Vegan, is an accomplished bestselling author with a massive following across social media platforms. She has made numerous television appearances, including on The Food Network, CBS Saturday Morning, and The Today Show, showcasing her culinary expertise and talent.

8. Gwenna Hunter

Gwenna Hunter is the founder of the first all-vegan food bank in Los Angeles. Vegans of LA Food Bank empowers the community and provides resources folks need to thrive. She champions the rights of humans and nonhuman animals alike in all her advocacy work. Winner of the Community Care Award in the Mercy For Animals 25th Anniversary Digital Awards, she is a bright light and bold leader in food justice and animal protection.

9. Brenda Sanders

Brenda Sanders is the executive director of Afro-Vegan Society and co-founder of Vegan SoulFest. Her brilliant campaigns, such as Veguary and Dump Dairy Week, educate and inspire people in marginalized communities to transition to plant-based eating and vegan living. Her advocacy has transformed the lives of countless individuals, making her an influential figure in the movement toward a healthier, more compassionate world.

10. Seble Nebiyeloul

Seble Nebiyeloul is the visionary founder of International Fund for Africa (IFA), a groundbreaking initiative in Ethiopia that delivers vegan food and essential healthcare services to schoolchildren. IFA’s holistic program encompasses two nutritious vegan meals daily, improved school sanitation facilities, reusable menstrual pads, and mobile clinics for sterilizing and vaccinating street dogs. The initiative addresses several challenges simultaneously, promoting health, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability.

11. Tabitha Brown

Tabitha Brown has taken the world by storm with her unique approach and wholesome comedic style. Affectionately known as “America’s Mom,” she has amassed over 13 million followers who rely on her for recipe ideas, wise words, and laughter. Her charming personality, popularity, and influence have made her unforgettable in the vegan world.

12. Evanna Lynch

Evanna Lynch, the renowned Irish actress and activist who rose to fame with her memorable role in the Harry Potter film series, has become a fierce advocate for animal rights and veganism in recent years. With conviction and passion, she launched a podcast, The ChickPeeps, in 2017 to delve into the subject of vegan living.

13. Mýa

Mýa is an exceptionally talented and multifaceted Grammy Award–winning artist. She has mastered singing, songwriting, and acting and is a dedicated vegan activist. As a “triple threat entertainer,” Mýa has left an indelible mark on pop culture, and her work has become a staple in the industry.

14. Miyoko Schinner

Miyoko Schinner has excelled in various fields through her many talents. A highly acclaimed cookbook author, chef, and cheesemaker, as well as a passionate animal activist, she has established herself as an influential force to be reckoned with.

15. Babette Davis

Babette Davis is a masterful vegan chef, passionate fitness enthusiast, and leading health coach. Her unparalleled knowledge in health and fitness have made her a sought-after professional in the industry. She is also a savvy speaker on health-related topics, able to inspire and motivate audiences with her unmatched charisma and expertise.

16. Rubaiya Ahmad

Rubaiya Ahmad is a trailblazer and visionary, having founded Bangladesh’s first animal welfare organization. As a highly skilled plant-based chef, she is a leading voice in veganism and animal advocacy. Her unwavering commitment to promoting ethical practices and compassionate living inspires us all.

17. Jane Velez-Mitchell

Jane Velez-Mitchell is a seasoned journalist, a bestselling author, and an influential activist who has dedicated her life to promoting veganism, animal rights, addiction recovery, and social justice. She has a powerful presence on social media and is widely recognized for her expertise and unwavering commitment to these important causes.

18. Katrina Fox

Katrina Fox has been a proud ethical vegan since 1996. She is an accomplished journalist, and her 2014 article “Speciesism: The Final Frontier,” published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, earned her a prestigious media award from Voiceless: The Animal Protection Institute.

19. Prakriti Varshney

Prakriti Varshney, a talented plant-based athlete, blogger, and graphic designer, fearlessly conquered Mount Everest and made history as the first vegan Indian woman to achieve this remarkable feat.

20. Dr. Charu Chandrasekera

Dr. Charu Chandrasekera, the director of laboratory science at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods at the University of Windsor, is a pioneer relentlessly working toward a world without animal testing.

These remarkable women have made significant contributions for animals and have worked tirelessly toward a kinder world for all. Their legacies serve as a reminder of the vital role women have played in shaping the animal advocacy and plant-based movements, and their efforts continue to inspire generations to strive toward equality and compassion.

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