Leadership & Background

Leadership & Background

With a recent transition in leadership, the Animal Rights National Conference has an increased focus on acknowledging critical issues within the movement and exploring positive solutions. We seek to unite and strengthen the movement by providing a platform for discussion and networking, as well as activist support and training. In working to strengthen our movement, we must first strengthen ourselves as individuals through self-care, appreciation, and support of each other. In doing so, we will be better equipped to work on behalf of animals to successfully achieve our vision of a world where animals are no longer exploited by humans.

Additionally, the conference seeks to facilitate diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation of all sectors of the movement.

Meet the Conference Chair:

Jen Riley has been part of the Animal Rights National Conference operations team since 2005. As Operations Director for the past seven years, she has been responsible for overseeing the smooth-running and functioning of the four-day event. Working closely with an exceptional team of managers, Jen has overseen areas of sponsorships, exhibits, registration, hotel liaising, and networking events. Her years of experience as Managing Director of Farm Animal Rights Movement cultivated her administrative skills, financial management, and team-building.

As Co-Chair of last year’s conference alongside longtime colleague, Dawn Moncrief, Jen is now taking on primary leadership of AR2019. She is building a diverse collaborative team of experienced individuals to work with her in crafting the program schedule (stay tuned for additional details).


The Animal Rights National Conferences have been organized since 1981 by Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) with some breaks between 1987 and 2000, then every year since 2000. FARM’s Founding President, Alex Hershaft, served as Conference Chair for more than thirty years. In 2018, Alex passed along his responsibilities to longtime colleagues Jen Riley and Dawn Moncrief.

This year, Jen Riley is heading up conference leadership alongside a highly dedicated team of experienced conference managers. With institutional knowledge of conference programming and operations, Alex remains available for consultation as the new leadership operationalizes the priorities and programming for the next generation of animal rights advocates and movement-builders.


While the conference still runs under the financial wing of FARM, it operates on a separate budget independently of the organization as a whole. The conference is self-sustaining financially and relies on donations from generous supporters in an effort to make the conference accessible through low registration rates, discounts, scholarships, and more. We operate on a sliding scale model and invite those who can afford to pay more or donate to do so.