Giovanni Bearzi, PhD, Director, Dolphin Biology and Conservation

Giovanni has been carrying out and coordinating dolphin research projects since 1986, particularly in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. He founded a dolphin research and conservation program in Croatia, which was awarded the ‘Henry Ford European Conservation Award’ as best European project. Giovanni was Board Member (1990—2010) and President (2000—2010) of the Tethys Research Institute and Contract Professor of Cetacean Conservation (2002—2006) at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Venice, Italy. He was awarded the prestigious Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship in 2001 and is currently a Senior Scientist at Texas A&M University.

Ron Broglio, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of English, Senior Scholar at the Global Institute for Sustainability, Arizona State University.

Ron teaches animal studies, technologies of representation, and British Romantic literature. His research focuses on how philosophy and aesthetics can help us rethink the relationship between humans and the environment. His book Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) examines how contemporary artists working with animals are able to create an ecological thinking that challenges philosophy and culture and co-curated and lead the art exhibition Trout Fishing in American and Other Stories  about endangered species in the Grand Canyon (the exhibition book is You Must Cary Me Now, 2015). Ron has written on ethics and livestock husbandry, and he has participated in and published with a number of scholarly animal studies groups in the United States and the United Kingdom. Recently, Ron created the performance work Santino’s Gift, about Santino, the chimpanzee at the Furuvik Zoo who collects and throws rocks at visitors. This is part of a larger set of performance works and writing called The Animal Revolution: Interventions and Events to Come.

David B. Casselman, JD, Senior Partner, Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Esensten, L.L.P.

David is a well-known trial lawyer, speaker, expert, law professor and published author. He has been AV rated by Martindale Hubbell for decades and has been consistently selected as a Southern California “Super Lawyer”. David is a member of the American Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association and the San Fernando Valley Bar Association. He is a past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); a past California President of ABOTA and a long time National Board member of ABOTA. David is well known for his pro bono work, litigating and mediating disputes involving animal welfare, including a suit to close the elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo. He is also the Founding Director of the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, and Elephants in Crisis.

Jane Desmond, PhD, Professor of Anthropology and affiliated faculty in Gender/Women’s Studies, Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition to her positions in Anthropology and Gender/Women’s Studies, Jane is currently Director of the International Forum for U.S. Studies, a center in International Programs. Her primary areas of interest are in embodiment, display, and social identity. Her areas of expertise include performance studies, critical theory, visual culture (including museum studies and tourism studies), the critical analysis of the U.S. in global perspectives, and, most recently, the political economy of human/animal relations. She has previously worked as a modern dancer and choreographer, and in film, video, and the academy. She is the author of Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World, and is working on a book on human relations to dead animals.

Debra Durham, PhD, Ethologist and primatologist.

Debra’s work encompasses the study of animal behavior with regard to their emotional, psychological and behavioral responses to change and stress – especially those held in captivity and used for experimentation. She is actively involved in teaching, research and writing related to these topics, and to animal protection more generally. Debra has held positions with leading non-profits as well as the federal government. As an educator, she has lectured at the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts and the University of California, Davis.

Ferdowsian-2016-smHope Ferdowsian, MD, MPH, FACP, FACPM, Physician in General  Internal Medicine and General Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

Hope is a double-board certified physician in General Internal Medicine and General Preventive Medicine and Public Health. Her clinical, research, and policy interests have focused on the health and protection of vulnerable populations, including humans and nonhuman animals. She has worked on issues including the prevention of torture and other forms of violence, bioethics, and disease prevention and management in resource-limited settings. She is an adjunct associate professor at the Georgetown University Medical Center, and she has received funding from the National Science Foundation and Arcus Foundation. She is a volunteer physician for HealthRight International and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and she serves as a consultant for the PHR Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones. Internationally, she has worked in Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Domestically, she has worked with non-profit organizations providing health care for homeless, immigrant, and underinsured populations.

Carrie-Freeman-smCarrie Packwood Freeman, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication, Georgia State University.

Dr. Freeman is a critical/cultural studies researcher who studies media ethics, communication strategies for social justice movements, and the media’s construction of nonhuman animal and environmental issues, in particular, animal agribusiness and veganism. Her doctoral dissertation examined the role of animal rights ideology in vegan advocacy campaigns and is the basis of her 2014 book Framing Farming: Communication Strategies for Animal Rights . Her research has been published in over 15 academic books and journals. Open access to final drafts of most of her published work is available here. In 2014 she co-authored a unique media style guide that aids journalists, advertisers, PR practitioners, filmmakers and entertainment producers in the production of more respectful and responsible representations of animals (nonhuman).In addition to a previous career in PR and H.R./professional development, she’s been active in the animal rights and vegetarian movement for two decades and has served as a volunteer director for local grassroots groups in three states. She currently serves as a co-host on a weekly radio program on animal rights (Second Opinion Radio) and as a semi-monthly host of an environmental program (In Tune to Nature), both on WRFG 89.3FM-Atlanta (independent non-commercial radio).

Toni Frohoff, PhD, Staff scientist, In Defense of Animals, and Executive Director, TerraMar Research.

Dr. Frohoff is a wildlife behavioral biologist and ethologist specializing in marine mammals for over 30 years.  Her work focuses on behavior, stress, and well-being of cetaceans in captivity and in the wild and human-cetacean interactions and psychology.  She has co-authored two books on cetaceans (most recently, Dolphin Mysteries: Unlocking the Secrets of Communication, Yale University Press, 2008, 2010), contributed numerous scientific papers and presentations, and chapters in over a dozen books and encyclopedias. She lectures widely for diverse regional, national and international institutions and events ranging from universities, The Smithsonian institute, and TED Global in Oxford. Her work has been featured prominently in documentaries and national/international television, radio and in the printed media.  She has served on numerous task forces, boards, and committees and her work for government and non-profit agencies has contributed to the revision and implementation of management and legislation protecting marine mammals in captivity and in the wild in over a dozen countries.

John Gluck, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Dept of Psychology, University of New Mexico.

John is currently emeritus professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico and affiliate faculty of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. Trained as a laboratory primatologist and clinical psychologist, he worked for many years with animal models of abnormal development, with a particular interest in the effects of early experience on learning. Following a fellowship at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the National Institutes of Health where he studied general bioethics, research ethics, and the moral standing of animals, his work has been solely devoted to research ethics. In that capacity, he has been the director of the Research Ethics Service Project in the Office of Research at the University of New Mexico (UNM), co-director of the UNM Health Science Center Ethics Institute, and senior research fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. His most recent book, authored with Tom Beauchamp, Barbara Orlans, Rebecca Dresser, and David Morton is The Human Use of Animals: Case Studies in Ethical Choice, published by Oxford University Press in 2008. He is currently working on a book about his ethical development tentatively titled Released: the Rediscovery of ambivalence in the Use of Animals in Research.

Denise Herzing, PhD, Research Director, Wild Dolphin Project; Adjunct Research Faculty, Biological Sciences and Psychology, Florida Atlantic University.

As Research Director of the Wild Dolphin Project, Denise has completed 26 years of her long-term study of the Atlantic spotted dolphins inhabiting Bahamian waters. She received her BS in Marine Zoology in 1979; her MA in Behavioral Biology in 1988; and her PhD in Behavioral Biology/Environmental Studies in 1993. She is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences and in the Dept of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. Her fields of interest are animal consciousness, behavior and communication in cetaceans, and environmental ethics. In 2008 Denise received a Guggenheim Fellowship and she is also a fellow of the Explorers Club, a scientific advisor for the Lifeboat Foundation and the American Cetacean Society, and on the board of Schoolyard Films. Denise has authored and co-authored many papers in the fields of whale biology, animal communication, and human consciousness. Coverage of her work with the spotted dolphins has appeared in National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Ocean Realm and Sonar magazines. Her work has been featured on Nature, Discovery Channel, PBS, ABC network television, BBC in England and NHK in Japan. Denise has given presentations and lectures to the following research, education and conservation organizations: Society for Marine Mammalogy, European Cetacean Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and American Cetacean Society.

Leslie Irvine, PhD, Assoc Professor, Dept of Sociology, Univ of Colorado, Boulder,

Leslie is a social psychologist with expertise in the areas of identity and the self. For the past decade, she has studied the roles of animals in society, including human-animal relationships, animal sheltering, and animals in disasters. In 2005 she conducted research at the staging area for the animal rescue from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. This research formed the basis of her 2009 book, Filling the Ark: Animal Welfare in Disasters (Temple University Press). In her previous book, If You Tame Me: Understanding our Connection with Companion Animals, published in 2004 by Temple University Press, she examined how animals’ subjectivity becomes available to human beings during the course of everyday interaction, and how people build relationships with animals that are unique from, not substitutes for, relationships with other humans. The work builds on theories of the subjective experience of pre-verbal infants to argue that animals have the same elements of ‘core’ selfhood. Leslie is working on her next book, which examines homeless people’s relationships with their pets.

Brian M Lowe, PhD, Assoc Professor, Sociology Dept, SUNY College at Oneonta.

Brian received his BAH (Bachelor’s of Arts, Honors, Sociology) and Master’s degree in Sociology from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario and his PhD in Sociology from the University of Virginia. His research and teaching interests include sociological theories, animals and society, cultural and comparative-historical sociology and spectacular conflicts. He is the author of Emerging Moral Vocabularies: The Creation and Establishment of New Forms of Moral and Ethical Meanings (Lexington books, 2006), is a contributor to The Handbook of the Sociology of Morality (2010) and numerous articles. Brian was the Chair of the Animals and Society section of the American Sociological Association from 2008-2009.

Randy Malamud, PhD, Professor and Assoc Chair, Modern Literature, Ecocriticism, Cultural Studies Dept of English, Georgia State Univ.

Randy is a scholar of T.S. Eliot’s dramatic work and also well known for his work in the area of the cultural analysis of zoos and spectatorship. He has written several books in this area including the seminal Reading Zoos: Representations of Animals and Captivity (1998, New York University Press) and his more recent Poetic Animals and Animal Souls (2003, Palgrave MacMillan), both bringing a penetrating level of scholarly analysis to the representation of animals in literature and the implications for society’s views and treatment of other animals. Randy is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He is on the faculty of The Kerulos Center. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Society & Animals and Brill’s Human-Animal Studies book series, and Palgrave Macmillan’s Book Series on Animal Ethics. He is also an international associate of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury and a Patron of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society.

Debra Merskin, PhD, Assoc Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon.

Debra worked in the advertising industry until moving to Syracuse, New York in 1990 to complete a PhD in Public Communication (Mass Communication) and Women’s Studies. In 2009 she completed her Masters in Depth Psychology (with an emphasis on ecopsychology) from Pacifica Graduate Institute and is ABD. Debra’s interests focus on the representation of women and minorities in media, historical studies as well as the social influences of the media. Her research appears in numerous journals, including Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, American Behavioral Science, Sex Roles, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Feminist Media Studies, and the Howard Journal of Communication. She has written several book chapters as well. Her own book, Media, Minorities, & Meaning: A Critical Introduction, was published in early 2011. Debra’s recent work extends the concepts of racism and sexism to speciesism, exploring shared underpinnings and outcomes among humans and other than human animals, particularly as represented in mass media. She has authored papers on depth psychology and other animals including her essay in Spring Journal’s Minding the Animal Psyche special edition entitled “Re-visioning Eco-psychology: Seeing through Dream Animals to Species in Peril” (2010), a co-authored chapter with Debra Durham, “Animals, Agency, and Absence : A Discourse Analysis of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Meetings,” which appears in Animals and Agency: An Interdisciplinary Exploration and Hearing voices: The promise of participatory action research for animals” (2010), published in the journal Action Research. She regularly teaches a course titled Communicating Nature and is on the advisory board of Predator Defense, a Eugene, Oregon non-profit (

Nathan Nobis, PhD, Asst Professor of Philosophy, Morehouse College; Adjunct Asst Professor, Dept of Community Health and Preventative Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine; Adjunct Instructor, Animal Studies, Humane Society University, Washington, DC,

Nathan’s research and teaching interests are at the intersection of ethics, value theory and epistemology. His work spans critical thinking issues, science and values, medical ethics, animal ethics and environmental ethics. He is the author of numerous papers on these topics as well as the Assistant Editor of Between the Species: An Online Journal of the Study of Philosophy and Animals. Since December 2010 he has been President and webmaster for the Georgia Philosophy Society: One of Nathan’s latest projects is authoring Why Think That? Reason, Argument and Ethics: A Guide To Making Moral Progress, a short book for students and scientists on logic and critical thinking,

Joyce H. Poole, PhD, Co-Founder & Co-Director of Elephant Voices, elephant ethologist and conservationist.

Joyce is a world authority on elephant behavior and has dedicated her life to the conservation and welfare of elephants. Joyce’s African elephant discoveries include: the phenomenon of musth; infrasonic and long-distance communication; vocal imitation; vocal and gestural repertoires, and recent collaborative research has explored elephant cognition. Joyce headed the Kenya Wildlife Service Elephant Program from 1990-1994 where she was responsible for elephant conservation and management throughout Kenya. She received a Smith College Medal for her research and training in Africa. She is author of numerous popular and scientific publications and two books on elephants and is lead author of The Elephant Charter, With husband, Petter Granli, Joyce Co-founded and Co-directs ElephantVoices, a small non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire wonder in the intelligence, complexity and voices of elephants and to secure a kinder future for them through conservation, research and the sharing of knowledge. ElephantVoices plays a lead role in advocating for captive and wild elephants reflected in public statements and expert testimony. In 2011 Joyce and Petter initiated a compassionate conservation project in the Maasai Mara using smartphones and web technology to engage citizens in the monitoring and protection of individual elephants.

Diane Richards, Director of Development, Marine Applied Research and Exploration.

With more than 20 years of non-profit experience, Diane has a diverse background that combines fundraising with science communications at a wide range of organizations from academic to conservation and scientific research including UCSF, NOAA’s Northwest Pacific Fisheries Science Center, and The Trust for Public Land. As Membership Coordinator and Development Communications Officer at the SETI Institute, Diane launched the nonprofit’s first membership program, oversaw a website redesign and developed an e-newsletter with 15,000 subscribers. As a member of the outreach team for TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Predators), Diane worked with colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to raise awareness of the multidisciplinary research project and to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders.

Christina Risley-Curtiss, PhD, Assoc Professor of Social Work, Arizona State Univ.

Christina’s primary areas of research are in the other animal-human bond and child welfare. Her social work elective course—Other Animal-Human Connections—won the HSUS 2004 Society and Animals New Course Award. She is past chair of The Arizona Humane LINK, a coalition of animal welfare and human service agencies and is a member of the National Humane Link Coalition. Christina has received grants from the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank Trust and the Animal Welfare Trust to develop an assessment and intervention program for children and youth who have abused animals. She is a Fellow at the Oxford Centre on Animal Ethics, is on the human-animal studies committee of the Animals and Society Institute (ASI) and a fellow for the University of Denver School Of Social Work Institute on Human-Animal Interactions. Christina is also on the faculty of The Kerulos Center and, in collaboration with ASI, has an online professional development program to train master’s level counselors to treat those who have abused other animals. Christina has published on other animal-human interactions mostly in social work journals. She grew up on a farm in Connecticut, where her father and grandfather practiced veterinary medicine. She currently lives in a trans-species cultural home with a number of cats and chickens, a dog and horse. Christina does hands-on rescue work including having volunteered to help animals during the Katrina rescue and she was a founding member of a TNR feral cat program at Arizona State University.

ursula-smUrsula Schwuttke, PhD, Director of Educational Outreach at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

In her current role at IHMC Ursula is responsible for their youth outreach programs related to science education. Ursula’s research interest is in informal science learning and its impact on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) achievement and motivation, both short- and long-term. Previously, Ursula founded and launched a non-profit organization affiliated with Saddleback Community College in Southern California. The organization, Partners in Algebra Achievement, sets up long-term relationships between at-risk students and members of the local professional community for tutoring and mentoring and remains active in the present. Ursula began her career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., where she led a research and development group that pioneered new software technology in real-time analytics and data visualization for the automation of JPL’s mission operations. Among the missions she was involved with were the Voyager grand tour of the solar system, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the Cassini mission to Saturn. After twelve years at JPL, she licensed some of that technology to found High Tower Software, and to commercialize ‘big data’ applications in network security and finance. She raised three rounds of venture capital (for a total of $15 million in 7 years) for the company and served as CEO and Vice Chairman for seven years; the company’s software was then acquired by netForensics, Inc. She was awarded the prestigious Exceptional Achievement Medal by NASA for contributions to the space program. She was named a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in California. She was featured in a 2-page article in Forbes magazine highlighting her entrepreneurial success. She has also been interviewed for articles in Business Week, the New York Times, and other newspapers and magazines. In another previous role she provided business development for a start-up wind energy company. Ursula graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. She is passionate about environmental issues and serves on the board of directors of the Florida not-for-profit organization, Withlacoochee Aquatic Restoration.

Charles Siebert, Author, poet and science journalist.

Charles Siebert is a poet, journalist, essayist, novelist, and contributing writer for The New York Times Sunday Magazine with an impressive body of work that has appeared in a broad array of publications, including The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Vanity Fair, Outside, Esquire, and Men’s Journal. In the past several years he has written numerous articles about animal shelters, elephant culture, chimpanzee behavior, and human relationships with other animals. One of his best known is the 2006 New York Times article “An Elephant Crackup”, a seminal work on the plight of African elephants that revealed our stunning psychological similarity to them and the trauma they experience at our hands. In his 2009 New York Times article “Watching Whales Watching Us” he explored the possibilities of interspecies communication between humans and whales. He has also written several books about animals and nature, including his recent The Wachula Woods Accords (Scribner, 2009), in which he poignantly explored the lives of retired entertainment and research chimps living in America and exposed the fraught relationship between humans and our closest relatives. His first children’s book The Secret World of Whales was published in 2011 by Chronicle Books.

Con Slobodchikoff, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Biology Dept, Northern Arizona University; Director, Animal Language Institute, Flagstaff, Arizona,

Con is well known for his ground-breaking work on communication and social behavior of prairie dogs. His work demonstrates that prairie dogs have a complex communication system with many similarities to human language. Con is also very involved in advocating for the welfare and survival of prairie dogs in the wild. He is the author of numerous empirical and theoretical publications and is lead author, along with Bianca S. Perla and Jennifer L. Verdolin, of the book: Prairie Dogs: Communication and Community in an Animal Society (2009, Harvard University Press). In 2010 Con participated in the filming of a BBC documentary on prairie dogs, based partly on his work with prairie dog language. In 2008 he formed the Animal Language Institute,, to create a virtual place for finding and sharing research in animal communication. Con is also President and CEO of Animal Communications Ltd. Con received numerous academic honors and grants during his tenure in Biology at NAU. Con also has been consulting on pet behavior problems and co-writes the Dog Behavior Blog with Karen London, PhD, where they provide tips on solving behavior problems and short essays about some of the scientific research that is being done with dog behavior.

Jeff Warren, Author, public speaker, science journalist.

Jeff is an innovative and enthusiastic writer, broadcaster, public speaker and theorist on the subject of consciousness. He is the author of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness (Random House 2007), an acclaimed “travel guide” through sleeping, dreaming and waking consciousness. His short piece “What is it Like to Be a Whale?” was anthologized in Cabin Fever: The Best New Canadian Nonfiction. Jeff has written for The New Scientist, Discover, The Walrus, The National Post and The Globe and Mail. He is a freelance radio producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Current and Ideas. Jeff is currently working on a book about subjective experiences in whales in particular and animals in general. He is a graduate of McGill University with a degree in literature.

TWhiteThomas I. White, PhD, Conrad N. Hilton Professor in Business Ethics and Director, Center for Ethics and Business, College of Business Administration, Loyola Marymount University.

Tom received his doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University and taught at Upsala College and Rider University before moving to California in 1994. His publications include five books (Right and Wrong, Discovering Philosophy, Business Ethics, Men and Women at Work and In Defense of Dolphins) and numerous articles on topics ranging from sixteenth-century Renaissance humanism to business ethics. Tom’s most recent research has focused on the philosophical and ethical implications of scientific findings on dolphin intelligence. His book on this topic In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier (2007, Blackwell Publishing) is a seminal work that addresses the ethical issues connected with human/dolphin interactions in captivity, the fishing industry, and other contexts. Tom is a pioneer in putting forth the concept of dolphin personhood and in 2010 organized a ground-breaking symposium entitled “Intelligence of dolphins: Ethical and policy implications” at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in which he and others advocated for dolphins as nonhuman persons. Tom is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and a Scientific Advisor to the Wild Dolphin Project, a research organization studying a community of Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas. He served as U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations’ Year of the Dolphin Program in 2007-8. He is also one of the founding authors of the “Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins“.

Steven M. Wise, JD, President, Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights, Inc. and Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project.

Steve holds a J.D. from Boston University Law School and a B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary. He has practiced animal protection law for 30 years throughout the United States and is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. He teaches “Animal Rights Jurisprudence” at the Vermont, Lewis and Clark, University of Miami, and St. Thomas Law Schools, and has taught “Animal Rights Law” at the Harvard Law School and John Marshall Law School. Steve is the author of four books: Rattling the Cage – Toward Legal Rights for Animals (2000), Drawing the Line – Science and the Case for Animal Rights (2003), Though the Heavens May Fall – The Landmark Trial That Led to the End of Human Slavery (2005), and An American Trilogy – Death, Slavery, and Dominion Along the Banks of the Cape Fear River (2009), and working on a fifth, which will be a memoir about the Nonhuman Rights Project. He has also authored numerous law review, encyclopedia, and popular articles. His work for the legal rights of nonhuman animals was highlighted on Dateline NBC and was the subject of the documentary, A Legal Person. He regularly travels the world lecturing on animal rights jurisprudence and the Nonhuman Rights Project, and is a frequent guest on television and radio discussing animal rights law and the Nonhuman Rights Project.