Animal Equality Is Thrilled To Welcome Toni Shephard On Board!
January 4, 2016
Toni is a declared animal lover and has always felt the need to defend them against cruelty. During her adolescence, she began collaborating on campaigns after she learned about the suffering caused by the fur industry and vivisection. She quickly stopped eating meat and started a vegetarian diet, expanding her knowledge on the ways in which different industries harm animals.
Her first contact with activism was when she joined a local group that put on protests outside of fur shops and zoos and aquariums where whales and dolphins lived imprisoned lives. Both campaigns achieved their goal, and several fur stores, zoos, and aquariums were closed!
Shortly after these protests she joined PETA and spent many years campaigning against different types of abuse toward animals around the world. During this time, she organized and coordinated many campaigns, including the first protests against the use of fur in Russia, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. She also organized events to raise awareness in schools throughout the UK and Ireland. She has been a media spokesperson for PETA in demonstrations and debates.
Toni is familiar with investigations, having filmed from inside many fur farms and farms where animals are raised for food. She has documented the inhumane conditions in which mink, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and cows have had to endure day after day.
Toni spent several years with the vegetarianism group Viva!, denouncing the horrors of factory farming and helping people to adopt a healthy diet without meat. More recently, she joined the League Against Cruel Sports, working to denounce the suffering that millions of wild animals endure as a result of hunting training with hounds, traps, and the lucrative weapon industry.
Some of the spectacular successes Toni has achieved as head of campaigns and protests have been helping to achieve the ban on fur farms in the UK, the calling off of a NASA program that would send primates into space, the closure of one of the largest pig farms in England as well as the closure of the largest pig farm in Scotland, and the commitment of thousands of people to reduce meat consumption or replace it completely in their diet. Impressive, right?
During her work leading all of these campaigns, she has also obtained a degree in Animal Behavior and a Ph.D. in Psychology (with a focus on animal behavior). Toni said that “this has helped me to defend animals more efficiently because now I have a better understanding of emotional and behavioral suffering endured when they are not allowed to be free. But also a better understanding of human psychology, allowing me to encourage changes in our behavior.”
In the words of our new Director in the UK, “I am excited to join Animal Equality, where I can combine these two facets of my life: working for an organization that denounces the horrors that factory farming hides from us, and also makes use of the latest investigations in the field of human behavior, to ensure that their campaigns and messages are as efficient as possible. A leading and innovative organization accustomed to devote time to evaluate their own work and adapt it for maximum impact. An organization that supports people who are taking compassionate steps in their lives and encourages them and helps them give even more decisive new steps to help animals.”
With Toni on our team, animals have gained the professionalism and tireless work of a woman who devotes her life to them. Amply qualified, Toni is an inspiration to all those around her.
Toni, we look forward to working with you. The whole Animal Equality team is excited about having you on board!