our history

FARM Animal Rights Movement (FARM) is the world’s first and longest-operating organization dedicated to ending the use of animals for food.

FARM’s roots date back to 1976.

In 1976, chemist, environmental consultant, social justice organizer, and Holocaust survivor Dr. Alex Hershaft, founded the Vegetarian Information Service (VIS) to disseminate information on the benefits of plant-based eating on consumer health, animal protection, and environmental integrity. VIS participated in hearings before the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, leading to publication of the original Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and testified before Congress in favor of the 1978 National Consumer Nutrition Information Act.

In August of 1981, Dr. Hershaft invited seasoned leaders of the established vegetarian movement as well as animal rights advocates influenced by Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation to explore opportunities for cooperation at a conference in Allentown, PA. Participants included animal rights pioneers Cleveland Amory, Ingrid Newkirk, Alex Pacheco, Peter Singer, Henry Spira, Gretchen Wyler, and radio host Thom Hartmann. This Action for Life conference effectively launched the U.S. animal rights movement.



Launched a program to coordinate Western support and encourage local vegan advocacy in India, Nepal, and China.


The Vegan Support program grew out of a survey showing that five in six vegans revert back to eating animals.


Our 10 Billion Lives program had up to three vehicles screening graphic farm animal footage and collecting vegan pledges at college campuses, rock concerts, and street fairs.


Vegan Earth Day calls public attention to the devastating environmental impacts of animal agriculture. 


Consumers for Healthy Options in Children’s Education (CHOICE) advocated for healthy (vegan) school lunches until 2009.


The Great American Meatout (now MeatOut) was launched with the modest request that people explore vegan eating for a single day, March 20th, first day of spring.


World Farm Animals Day (now World Day for Farmed Animals) is the longest-running annual effort to call attention to the tragedy of killing animals for food. It is observed annually with dramatic demonstrations outside of slaughterhouses and government buildings. 


The Veal Ban Campaign (through 1986) was the first U.S. campaign on behalf of farmed animals. By focusing on what was then seen as the most egregious form of factory farm cruelty, FARM brought farmed animal suffering into public view. 


The Action for Life Conferences (annually through 1991) provided the only national platform for animal rights leaders and activists to network with and learn from one another.


Organized the first public (vegan) Gentle Thanksgiving in an Indian restaurant near the White House. The program now includes a recipe plan for home celebrations and a database of dozens of public dinners.



FARM launches the Planet Series Events in the DMV reaching non-vegans with the plant-based food festival for people who aren’t (yet) plant-based.


Most recently at Animal Outlook, Eric C Lindstrom was recruited as FARM’s Executive Director in 2020. Lindstrom’s roles include developing organizational culture, revitalizing FARM programs, extending staff benefits, establishing program budgets, collaborating with Board of Directors, and assisting Dr. Hershaft with full retirement.


As part of a gradual retirement process for Founding President Hershaft, turned over most of our  programs and staff to Compassion Over Killing (now Animal Outlook).


Thanks to a generous donor, we were able to multiply our Sabina Fund support for Israeli vegan groups.


We turned our attention to duplicate the 10 Billion Lives program online, mostly by boosting graphic footage on Facebook.


Changed our name to Farm Animal Rights Movement to emphasize our commitment to ending the use of animals for food, rather than just reducing their abuse.


Launched Equal Justice Alliance, a national effort to repeal the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which was signed into law that year.


Launched Meatout Mondays, a colorful weekly e-newsletter with recipes, health tips, product reviews, and inspirational news. 


The Sabina Fund, named after FARM President Alex Hershaft’s mother, provides grants to organizations across the world that promote vegan eating. 


Took over running of the national animal rights conference from the Animal Rights Alliance, which organized the celebrated 1990 March for Animals in Washington.


Letters from FARM reach millions of newspaper readers every year with messages tying the merits of a vegan diet to national holidays and news developments. 


FARM’s Compassion Campaign (through 1992) brought the concept of veganism and animal rights to key U.S. legislators, executives, and journalists through Congressional hearings, national party conventions, and polls of candidates for public office. 

Two national organizations were conceived and nurtured at FARM:
Farm Sanctuary (1986) and A Well-Fed World (2009)

Prominent supporters of FARM’s campaigns through the years have included notable names: Ed Asner, Bob Barker, David Carter, James Cromwell, Doris Day, Casey Kasem, Mary Tyler Moore, Alicia Silverstone, Elaine Hendrix, Russell Simmons, Steve-O, and Jane Velez-Mitchell, as well as social reformers Senator Corey Booker, Cesar Chavez, Thom Hartmann, Michael Jacobson, Heather Mills, Congressman Jamie Raskin, and Jeremy Rifkin.