What Is Kimmela?

The Kimmela Center is committed to transforming our relationships with other animals from exploitation to respect by combining academic scholarship with animal advocacy.

We stand at a crossroads . . .

Scientific knowledge and understanding of animal minds, emotions and sentience are blossoming. Breakthrough discoveries about the inner lives of nonhuman animals are revealing a startling similarity to our own. For example, monkeys bereave the loss of an infant and seek consolation by expanding their social networks; birds become optimistic or pessimistic depending on their living conditions; and wild chimpanzees dismantle poachers’ snares. This growing body of research has the potential to revolutionize the way humans perceive other animals as the gulf between us shrinks.

But paradoxically . . .

. . . and despite more than a century of active animal advocacy:

• An estimated 50,000 species are disappearing from the wild each year as human-caused climate change and over-development severely impact their food sources and habitats.

• In factory farms and laboratories, animals suffer intense confinement and genetic manipulation. On poultry farms, chickens live short, brutal lives in overcrowded cages where they cannot even stand.

• Capture, imprisonment and trafficking to support zoos, circuses and marine theme parks harm the animals involved, and can have deadly consequences for the people working with them.

• Public health professionals are facing an ever-growing threat from zoonotic diseases  (e.g. COVID-19) that incubate in live animal markets and factory farms, from where pathogens cross over into the human population.

Animal advocacy must change

Many of today’s animal advocates deploy tactics that are too easily dismissed by the mainstream media and its audiences as fringe activities or overly sentimental displays.

A transformative animal advocacy movement requires authority, and must lead through rigor, credibility and expertise. To be effective in our culture, advocacy efforts must be informed by scientific data and led by scholarship.

Kimmela provides the data, analysis and interpretation that’s critical to animal advocacy efforts. Our efforts are creating a bridge between the scientific community and animal protection groups.

Our work is published in peer-reviewed journals, and we will collaborate with other organizations to translate scientific findings into accessible and useful information for the general public.

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