In the summer of 1981, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) helped launch the U.S. animal rights movement by bringing its leading authorities together at a conference in Allentown, PA. With very few exceptions, FARM has been stewarding our movement’s national conferences ever since.
In recent years, the Animal Rights National Conference has grown into the world’s largest and longest-running animal rights event. It attracts nearly 2,000 attendees representing 90 organizations from a dozen countries, with 100 exhibitors and 170 speakers presenting in 80 sessions.
The Animal Rights National Conference is dedicated to the vision that animals have the right to live free from human exploitation. It provides a forum where the relative merits of the multiple paths, strategies, and tactics for advancing that vision may be aired in an atmosphere of mutual respect. It offers eye-opening glimpses into animal exploitation, useful activist guidance, encouraging inspiration, and unparalleled networking opportunities.
The typical four-day program features five concurrent tracks:
- animal abuses
- personal activism
- group organizing
- event management
- and technical innovations
Click here to purchase the AR 2019 audio recordings.
Well attended morning and evening plenary sessions address issues of general interest and have featured some of the movement’s most prominent thought leaders.
The individual hour-long workshops feature 2-3 speakers and a moderator, leaving ample time for Q&A and discussion. Workshops on controversial issues invite participation by all attendees, with no formal presentations.
Each day begins with a choice of physical workouts and ends with a networking reception offering an amazing variety of plant-based snacks. Saturday evening ends with a three-course banquet followed by a lively charity auction and awards ceremony. Over the decades we have presented awards for outstanding grassroots and youth activism as well as the year’s inductees to the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame. The conference ends with a celebratory party on Sunday evening as attendees unwind and reflect back on this life-changing experience.
Open to the general public, more than a hundred organizations and food, crafts, and merchandise vendors exhibit at each conference. Other program features have included film screenings, entertainment, meditation sessions, special interest meetings, and “speed touting,” where attendees have one minute to address all attendees with animal rights news, personal opinions, announcements, and other points of interest to the movement.
Each year, the conference is held in a large hotel offering discounted rooms and crowd-pleasing vegan meals. A friendly hospitality staff welcomes conference attendees, provides badges and program booklets, and answers any questions. The program staff operates the program sessions. Some attendees work off their registration fees by helping with operational activities.
Host cities have alternated between Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. Portland, OR, and San Francisco have been considered in recent years.
The 2020 event in Portland was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FARM is exploring the possibility of hosting an online conference in 2021 and hoping to return to in-person events in the near future. Want more information? Contact us here.