Hope for Animals Summit

Sustainable Activism home

Hope for Animals Summit Inspires Activists

Thank you for participating in the Hope for Animals Summit, presented by In Defense of Animals and Animal Communicator Joan Ranquet. This free online summit featured two speakers each week for a month including activists, scientists, sanctuary founders, authors, a therapist, a veterinarian, and an animal communicator. Each speaker provided an advocacy kit, full of resources to get active for the animals.

May these webinar replays and advocacy kits provide the uplift you need to continue your vital work for animals. Share the links below with fellow activists to shine rays of hope throughout our community!

Watch all of the webinar and bonus replays on the Hope for Animals Playlist.

Webinars, Bios, and Advocacy Kits

Holistic Energy Medicine with your animal friends - Now and Beyond with Cheryl Schwartz, DVM

Cheryl Schwartz, DVM - Advocacy Kit

Bringing our animal family and ourselves into balance creates health and wellness. Through energy medicine techniques like acupressure, Qi Gong, homeopathy, sound and color therapy, as well as foods and herbs, you can guide your animal companions toward a healthy lifestyle that can add comfort and longevity to their lives. Join us to learn more about how you and holistic approaches to animal health can bring hope to the now and future!

Dr. Schwartz is an international educator, holistic veterinarian and a founding member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. A graduate of Washington State Veterinary College, she has been in practice in California since 1978, interacting with cats, dogs and horses. Dr. Schwartz uses integrative energy medicine for healing – acupuncture, acupressure, Qi Gong, herbs, homeopathy, color and sound therapies, as well as western medicine, when appropriate. She is also the internationally known author of Four Paws Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs and Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats A – Z.

Holding the Light for Animals with Ellie Laks, Founder, The Gentle Barn Foundation

Ellie Laks - Advocacy Kit

Each of us is not only responsible for knowing the truth, but for holding the hope and love and light for animals as well. We can approach and educate others lovingly, while creating more spiritual freedom. Let’s transform from animal rights activists to light workers to bring about positive change with open hearts and minds.

Ellie Laks is the Founder of The Gentle Barn Foundation, a national organization that rescues and rehabilitates unwanted animals, and heals people with the same stories of abuse and neglect. She is a celebrated animal welfare advocate, humane educator, and the author of “My Gentle Barn: Creating a sanctuary where animals heal and children learn to hope.”

Ellie founded The Gentle Barn in 1999. She invented her own “Gentle Healing method” that allows old, sick, injured and terrified animals to fully recover using a mixture of Western medicine, holistic healing modalities, holding therapy and lots of love. Ellie is an expert in healing orphaned and sick animals, like puppies with Parvo and calves from veal crates. Ellie has hosted hundreds of thousands of at-risk, inner city and special needs children, war veterans, seniors, victims of domestic violence, and those in recovery from drug, alcohol, and gang affiliation.

Ellie has appeared on some of the most influential media outlets including The Ellen Show, People Magazine, Life Magazine, Animal Planet, The Huffington Post, Turning point, Women’s World, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, The NY Times, and many more. Ellie is a highly sought after and very effective guest speaker who has presented at Animal Rights conferences, Environmental conferences, Eco Feminism summits, Veg festivals, Pet expos, universities and high schools, Self discovery conferences, and corporate functions that serve to motivate the audience towards higher awareness, profound compassion, realizing dreams, greater sense of trust, and an enhanced sense of purpose. She was the keynote speaker at The Difference Maker series, Phoenix House, and the Los Angeles Green Fest.

To date Ellie has saved hundreds of animals and hosted over 300,000 guests. The Gentle Barn is currently home to approximately 200 animals. The Gentle Barn has two locations in Santa Clarita, California and Knoxville, Tennessee. It is her goal to build Gentle Barns in every state in America, “Teaching people kindness and compassion to animals, each other and our planet.” For more information, please visit:

What A Fish Knows with Jonathan Balcombe, PhD, Director for Animal Sentience, The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD - Advocacy Kit

This illustrated, dynamic, and provocative presentation takes audiences under the sea, through streams and estuaries, and to the other side of the aquarium glass to reveal the surprising capabilities of fishes. Although they exceed thirty thousand species―more than all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined―fishes are rarely considered by us to be individuals with thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

What a Fish Knows upends our typical biases toward fishes as unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines, showing them instead to be sentient, aware, social, and even Machiavellian. Highlighting breakthrough discoveries from scientists and fish enthusiasts around the world, and pondering his own encounters with fishes, Balcombe presents a fresh look at these remarkable creatures in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty. What a Fish Knows may forever change how you regard your distant aquatic cousins.

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD, is a biologist, author, and a life-long animal advocate. His 2006 book Pleasurable Kingdom is the first in-depth examination of animals’ capacity to enjoy life. His subsequent books Second Nature, and The Exultant Ark also present animals in a new light and presage a revolution in the human-animal relationship. His new book, the New York Times bestseller What a Fish Knows, explores the private lives of the planet’s most misunderstood and maligned vertebrates. Balcombe is Director for Animal Sentience with The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, and Associate Editor for Animal Sentience, the first scholarly journal of animal feeling. He recently moved to Florida, where in his spare time he enjoys swimming, snorkeling, biking, baking, birding, Bach, and trying to understand the lizards on his patio.

From Yulin to Busan with Marc Ching, Founder, The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation and Kiana Kang, Ditch Dog Meat Campaign Director, In Defense of Animals

Marc Ching - Advocacy Kit
Kiana Kang - Advocacy Kit

We will be discussing what we are doing to end the dog meat festival in Yulin Dog Meat Festival occurring in June. The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation will be discussing their Animal Welfare programs in China, e.g. microchipping and other awareness campaigns. We will then discuss our collaboration with the Busan Gupo Market - Shutting down the meat vendors including dog, chickens, rabbits, and sheep – and some of the logistics entailed in this transition.

Marc Ching is the founder of The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused solely on rescuing abused and neglected animals, providing full rehabilitation services and, ultimately, working to help find them their fur-ever families. After learning about the brutal practice of torturing dogs before slaughtering them for meat during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China, Ching knew that his life would never be the same. Posing as a wealthy American buyer, Ching goes undercover to slaughterhouses and secretly videotapes the torture of innocent dogs. Ching’s heroic efforts are followed by one million people on social media and featured on CNN, CBS News, ABC News, Entrepreneur, The New York Daily News, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, The Dodo and more.

Kiana Kang has been involved in the dog and cat rescue world since first volunteering for Animal Avengers in the late 1990s. On her own time, she has rescued and rehomed numerous stray dogs and actively managed numerous cat colonies by using the TNR method. It wasn’t until late 2015, that she turned her concentration towards the dog and cat meat consumption in Asia. She is currently spearheading the Ditch Dog Meat Campaign for In Defense of Animals.



Three Decades of Rural Outreach: People, Pens, & Puma Concolor with Lynn Cullens, Executive Director, Mountain Lion Foundation

Lynn Cullens - Advocacy Kit

Over more than a decade, the Mountain Lion Foundation has built 20 demonstration pens in five states to protect livestock kept by rural homeowners from depredation by Puma concolor. Working within communities that have experienced significant losses to lions, the Foundation has learned a great deal about what works and what doesn't in terms of pen design and placement, features for particular species of livestock, special considerations for climate and habitat, and adding additional measures to deter depredation. Equally important, we've experimented with ways to engage small towns and urban-edge neighborhoods in depredation prevention and to maintain lasting interest in livestock protection and carnivore conservation. We'll share our experiences and insights, including community demographics, depredation recording, consideration of responses to the trauma of pet and livestock loss, home and ranchette assessment, and development of a model community program for long-term lion conservation.

Lynn has been working with the Mountain Lion Foundation since 1989, first as a volunteer during the Proposition 117 Campaign. After moving to Sacramento in 1990, Lynn worked for Environmental Campaigns including Big Green, Forests Forever and Parks and Wildlife Bond Acts. After serving as Regional Director for the Archaeological Conservancy for nearly a decade, Lynn returned to the Mountain Lion Foundation in 2001. Lynn created MLF's cutting edge livestock protections programs, the community outreach efforts, and the design and coding of the Mountain Lion Foundation website. As Executive Director, she leads the organization's fight to end trophy hunting in 14 states and to reduce the number of mountain lions killed as a result of depredation, poisons, traffic, poaching and habitat loss.

Cultivating Compassion Satisfaction with Jennifer Blough, LPC

Jennifer Blough, LPC - Advocacy Kit

Fight compassion fatigue and build resiliency by establishing healthy boundaries, conquering unhelpful thinking styles, managing anger, and creating work/life balance with self-care. In this presentation, Jennifer Blough offers self-care tools and guides participants through an easy, effective stress management exercise.

Jennifer Blough is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist. She owns a small private practice in southeast Michigan called Deepwater Counseling, which provides mental health services to individuals, couples, and groups. Jennifer, who has been involved in animal welfare/rights for three decades, is also the author of To Save a Starfish: A Compassion Fatigue Workbook for the Animal Welfare Warrior, and the host of The Compassion Fatigue Podcast. She shares her home with her husband and their nine rescued companion animals.



Learning From and Living With, Dolphins, Orcas, and Elephants: A Sea Change for All Beings with Dr. Toni Frohoff, PhD, Elephant and Cetacean Campaigns Director, In Defense of Animals

Toni Frohoff, PhD - Advocacy Kit

The central question of our time is how humans can better cohabitate with other life forms, as integral parts of ecological systems towards salvaging the remaining environmental integrity that all species need to survive. In particular, dolphins and whales (cetaceans) are somewhat unique among wild animals in that it is not uncommon for certain individuals and groups to initiate highly sociable interactions with humans in the absence of food or other resource provisioning. Elephants are distinctive in many ways, including extraordinarily complex, inter-generational societies with matriarchal societies and cultures. Cetaceans, orcas in particular, share with elephants many of these ancient, wise, and collaborative societal aspects that humans can learn much from and apply to our own societies.

It is time that we adopt a more expansive, multidisciplinary, species-inclusive approach to our perceptions about other animal life that embodies myriad forms of awareness, intelligence, culture, sentience, and even personhood. As scientific data about the sentience of other species burgeons, the human-devised “personhood” boundary is gradually waning and many nations’ governments and legal frameworks are acknowledging these rights in some other animals and life systems. This mutually expansive and equalizing movement is rooted in indigenous human society’s relationships with nature but also, optimally, acknowledges the indigenous cultures of whales, dolphins, and other species. Models of positive co-habitation and collaboration with cetaceans and elephants provide exceptional opportunities to inform conservation and wellbeing studies for humans and all species, as it is becoming increasingly clear that the ties that bind involve a unique dependence on mutual thriving.

Toni Frohoff, Ph.D. is a wildlife behavioral-biologist who has studied the lives, loves, and liberties of cetaceans and elephants for 30 years. She specializes in the study of interspecies psychology, ecology, and wellbeing of non-human animals in the wild and captivity. Dr. Frohoff spearheads In Defense of Animals’ Elephant and Cetacean campaigns, exposing the conflict between captivity and conservation, and championing the psychological, ecological, cultural, and physical wellbeing of elephants and cetaceans.

Dr. Frohoff has authored many papers, two books: Between Species (Sierra Club Books/University of California Press) and Dolphin Mysteries (Yale University Press), and has contributed chapters to over a dozen anthologies and encyclopedias. Most recently, with Dr. Marc Bekoff, she co-authored the section on Ethics for the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Her pioneering research and advocacy has contributed to legislation protecting wildlife in over a dozen countries and has been featured extensively in the media. Dr. Frohoff is a world-class lecturer, sharing her knowledge at eminent establishments including the Smithsonian Institute, TED Global in Oxford, and the upcoming Symposium on Interdependence in Belgium.

The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, Coexistence, and Hope in the "Rage of Inhumanity" with Marc Bekoff, PhD

Marc Bekoff, PhD - Advocacy Kit

A large number of people who claim to work on behalf of nonhuman animals (animals) rely on the science of animal welfare for guidance as to what types of treatment are permissible and those that are not. However, animal welfare science, while offsetting some of the worst aspects of animal suffering, falls far short of promoting true animal wellbeing and freedom with a focus on individual animals. Indeed, animal welfare science patronizes other animals and allows for deep pain, suffering, and death "in the name of humans." We currently are living in an epoch called the Anthropocene, or "the age of humanity." During this period of time, nonhuman animals are experiencing an unprecedented "rage of inhumanity," and we need to evolve as fast as possible toward more peaceful and less violent ways of interacting with our animal kin in an increasingly human-dominated world. The science of animal well-being, compassionate conservation, and personal rewilding offer viable solutions for coming to the rescue of other animals. The time has come -- indeed, it is long overdue -- to use what we know about the fascinating and diverse inner lives of other animals on their behalf. There really are many reasons to maintain hope and to keep our dreams alive.

Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has published more than 1000 essays (popular, scientific, and book chapters) and 30 books. His latest books are Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence and The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age. Marc's homepage is, and, with Jane Goodall, You can read a recent interview with Marc here.

Bonus Webinars

Exclusive Interview with Carl Safina, PhD, Founder and Director, The Safina Center

Carl Safina, PhD - Advocacy Kit

Carl Safina works to show that nature and human dignity require each other. His recent works probe the ways in which our relationship with the natural world affects human relations, and how the scientific facts imply the need for moral and ethical responses. Carl’s writing about the living world has won a MacArthur “genius” prize, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships; book awards from Lannan, Orion, and the National Academies; and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals.

His seabird studies earned a PhD in ecology from Rutgers; he then spent a decade working to ban high-seas drift nets and to overhaul U.S. fishing policy. Safina is now the first Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and runs the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the PBS series Saving the Ocean. His writing appears in The New York Times, TIME, Audubon, and on the Web at National Geographic News and Views, Huffington Post,, and elsewhere. He is author of the classic book, Song for the Blue Ocean. Carl’s seventh book is Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel. He lives on Long Island, New York with his wife Patricia and their dogs and feathered friends. Learn more about Carl at

Leading into Hope with Lisa Levinson, Sustainable Activism Campaign Director, In Defense of Animals & Lorrin Maughan, Personal Coach

Lisa Levinson - Advocacy Kit

Now is the time for each of us to step into our personal leadership and be a beacon of hope for each other and for the animals. Personal coach Lorrin Maughan presents some tips for effective leadership in advocacy that can help us grow hope into powerful action for positive change. In Defense of Animals’ Lisa Levinson provides emotional and spiritual resources to support activists on their journey.

Lorrin Maughan - with the help of companion horses Gift and Fella - coaches people to develop their personal leadership and build deeper connections with other humans and non-humans, in order to be more sustainable and effective advocates for the Animals, the Earth, and each other. Her mission is to help people create a more compassionate world, starting with themselves.

Lisa Levinson is the Director of In Defense of Animals’ Sustainable Activism Campaign, a trained movement therapist, museum exhibit designer, and mosaic artist. Lisa promotes self-care for animal activists through IDA’s Animal Activist Helpline and monthly online events. She also organizes local Vegan Spirituality Groups and regional retreats to explore veganism as a spiritual practice. For fun, Lisa develops exhibits for The Animal Museum. She co-founded Public Eye: Artists for Animals to teach compassion for animals through the arts and founded the Toad Detour to help migrating toads safely cross the road in Philly.




The Forgotten Power of Animal Communication and its rightful place in Animal Advocacy with Joan Ranquet, Animal Communicator

Joan Ranquet - Advocacy Kit

This presentation reviews the history of animal communication in its original form (going back to indigenous cultures) and reveals why science and/or religion would have a need to take the focus off of the deep human/animal connection. All the while, animal lovers have experienced a soul connection with animals and haven’t needed science or religion to verify that. Slowly but surely, science and religion are catching up. Meanwhile, intuition/animal communication and animal advocacy have shot miles ahead of both religion and science. Joan shares stories from her nearly 25 years as an animal communicator and energy healer, often resulting in animals being saved, because of animal communication. Joan will end the session with an experiential energy technique for humans, EFT. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping helps mitigate “big feelings” or unresolved feelings. Joan will take the audience through a round of tapping on compassion fatigue.

Animal communicator, speaker, founder of Communication with all Life University (CWALU), and author of Energy Healing for Animals, A Hands-On Guide for Enhancing the Health, Longevity & Happiness of Your Pets (Sounds True) and Communication with all Life, Revelations of an Animal Communicator (Hay House). Joan is also a contributor in the upcoming book out in June of 2017, The Dharma of Dogs (Sounds True) by Tami Simon. Joan conducts private sessions and teaches Animal Communication in Teleseminars and weekend workshops. Joan speaks all over the country on animal communication, human/animal relationships, energy healing and wildlife. She has been featured in dozens of media including Pet Nation on Dateline NBC, The Today Show on NBC, Good Morning America on ABC, Animal Planet, the National Enquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The Sun Sentinel, and The Palm Beach Post. She was the “celebrity animal communicator” in a short documentary on the AMC Channel. Joan lives with her large animal family of horses, dogs and cats. Learn more about Joan at

You can support our work by donating