I’ve been involved in the Animal Rights National Conference in many ways over the the last 14 years: as an attendee, exhibitor, and speaker. In 2019, I served on the Program Advisory Committee to help determine who would speak. I also was the Moderator Manager. In 2020, I was asked to lead the new Equity Advisory Committee.
Unfortunately, I, along with the entire committee, disbanded because of reports of sexual harassment within FARM. Carol Adams’ description of what took place is helpful and accurate. The conference staff did their best to address the situation, but unfortunately Alex Hershaft, the president of the Board of Directors and founder of FARM is not accountable to anybody and refuses to address his behavior. See what Ethan said about what happened to them, and read more about their history here. Indeed, when I said to disinvite Alex to the conference (in the old location of my blog) in 2018, rather than address his behavior he said, “I request a retraction and apology in your blog.” Other folks have also written about his behavior. At the same time, Alex has clearly been through a lot of suffering that I empathize with, though that does not excuse his behavior.
I believe in redemption and restoration. At this time, I do not see any hope to create a conference that is in alignment with my values. As long as Alex is involved, I will not attend, speak, exhibit, or help plan the Animal Rights National Conference. I encourage you to do the same.