Meet PETA and the PETA Foundation Leadership

Ingrid Newkirk
President, PETA

Since founding PETA, president Ingrid Newkirk has grown the group into the world’s largest animal rights organization. Her passion and dedication to making this world a better place for all living beings has inspired countless others to do what they can to help animals.

Ingrid and PETA believe that animals deserve the most basic rights—in particular, consideration of their own best interests regardless of whether they are useful to humans. Like humans, they are capable of suffering and have interests in living their own lives. Therefore, they are not ours to use for foodclothingentertainmentexperimentation, or for any other reason.

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Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President, PETA

Tracy ReimanAs PETA’s executive vice president, Tracy Reiman oversees the organization’s international grassroots campaigns, online marketing and social media, corporate affairs, and youth outreach divisions.

Among her many roles, Reiman leads PETA’s successful efforts to pressure entities to adopt animal-friendly policies. Under her guidance, more than 100 top fashion brands have stopped selling fur, angora, wool, down, and exotic skins. She has led successful campaigns to stop Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from using animals and to end SeaWorld’s orca-breeding program, convinced all the top 10 advertising agencies in the U.S. to pledge never to use great apes in their ads, and pushed Hallmark to stop featuring chimpanzees dressed in degrading costumes on greeting cards.

Reiman spearheads the planning and implementation of extensive—and sometimes controversial—publicity and educational initiatives to promote vegan food and clothing. As a result, vegan products like dairy-free ice cream and vegan chicken have gone from virtually nonexistent to available in every grocery store in the U.S. and beyond. Her oversight of PETA’s work to ban glue traps has led hundreds of companies and institutions to ban their use and sale and to the first citywide bans on their use in Ojai and West Hollywood, California. Reiman has been instrumental in creating and implementing new ways to mobilize young activists through online marketing and innovative, interactive technologies. She also oversees PETA’s online presence, which consistently engages more people via social media than any other nonprofit organization by a wide margin.

Early in her career at PETA, Reiman led successful efforts to persuade major oil companies—including Mobil, Texaco, and Shell—to cap their oil stacks in order to prevent thousands of birds and bats from burning to death. She also helped persuade Calvin Klein to become the first major clothing designer to abandon fur and helped stop NASA’s Bion project, which involved sending primates into space. She oversaw PETA’s precedent-setting campaign against McDonald’s, which led the fast-food giant to make groundbreaking changes affecting the treatment of animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. Her investigative and rescue work resulted in the first-ever cruelty charges against and conviction of a factory farmer for the mistreatment of chickens.

Reiman has been with PETA since 1991. She lives in Los Angeles.

Kathy Guillermo 
Senior Vice President, Laboratory Investigations Department

As a senior vice president of PETA, Kathy Guillermo’s many duties include heading up the organization’s work to end the use of animals in nonrequired experiments, leading its campaign calling for reform in the horse-racing industry, overseeing production of The PETA Podcast, and working with national and international news media to publicize PETA’s landmark investigative, legal, and behind-the-scenes corporate work exposing and ending cruelty to animals in the food, experimentation, and entertainment industries.

Guillermo was originally hired to head up PETA’s cosmetics-testing campaign in 1989—a campaign that she still oversees—and went on to head up the organization’s Laboratory Investigations Division. Some of her major victories include pressuring NASA to scrap plans to irradiate monkeys, persuading the U.S. military to end all chemical-casualty training on monkeys, ending the Coast Guard’s shooting and stabbing of goats and pigs in medical trauma training drills, shutting down the construction of a massive monkey-breeding facility in Puerto Rico, and exposing the abuse of animals at a North Carolina product-testing laboratory, Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc.—which led to the closure of the facility and the release of hundreds of dogs and cats, who were put up for adoption.

Guillermo’s 1993 book, Monkey Business: The Disturbing Case That Launched the Animal Rights Movement, with a foreword by Oliver Stone, details the cruelty case that launched the then-fledgling PETA into national prominence. The landmark Silver Spring monkeys case also led to the first-ever conviction of an animal experimenter on cruelty-to-animals charges.

Lisa Lange
Senior Vice President of Communications

Lisa LangeAs the senior vice president of communications for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights organization in the world, Lisa Lange devises effective and eye-catching ways to get the animal rights message out to as many people as possible.

Lange has coordinated the production of some of PETA’s most successful videos and public service announcements, including the hugely popular “BWV—Boyfriend Went Vegan” ad, which generated more than 2.5 million views online; a vegetarian ad featuring Alicia Silverstone in the nude that was seen by millions of people; and a series of provocative videos for PETA’s spay-and-neuter and “Adopt, Don’t Buy” campaigns. She oversaw the production of PETA’s 30th Anniversary Gala and Humanitarian Awards show, which was hosted by Alec Baldwin at the Hollywood Palladium, and also facilitated the production of I Am an Animal, an award-winning HBO documentary about PETA founder Ingrid E. Newkirk.

Based out of PETA’s Los Angeles office, which she established, Lange works closely with celebrity PETA supporters, including Joaquin Phoenix, Bill Maher, Eva Mendes, Casey Affleck, and Alec Baldwin. She also networks with Hollywood directors, producers, and writers, convincing them to incorporate animal-friendly messages into TV programs and movies. In 2012, Lange oversaw the launch of PETA Latino, which—with its huge social media presence and bilingual website,—is the preeminent resource for information on animal rights issues relevant to the Latino community.

A gifted speaker, Lange is a regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor and has debated animal rights opponents on Today, Larry King Live, Nancy Grace, and countless other television and radio programs. She has appeared many times on entertainment shows such as Access Hollywood, The Daily Show, and CNN’s Showbiz Tonight as well as on E! to discuss PETA’s work in Hollywood. Her efforts to save animals have made headlines in major publications throughout the country, including The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and USA Today.

In her previous position as PETA’s manager of international campaigns, Lange led PETA’s negotiations with clothing companies Gap Inc., Nordstrom, and J.Crew, which agreed to stop using cruelly produced leather from India and China. Lange worked extensively with Dateline NBC producers on an hour-long puppy-mill exposé that was based on a PETA undercover investigation. Under Lange’s leadership, General Motors, L’Oréal, and Gillette all stopped testing on animals.

Lange’s involvement in animal rights began when she went vegetarian as a teenager after seeing how animals are raised on factory farms. Before joining PETA, she organized anti-captivity campaigns for a marine-mammal conservation organization in California. Lange graduated cum laude with a degree in political science from Loyola University New Orleans.

Colleen O’Brien
Senior Vice President of Media Relations

Colleen O’Brien is the senior vice president of media relations for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She oversees PETA’s media and advertising divisions and their efforts to get the animal rights message into the news and out to the public. Under her guidance, PETA’s activities and campaigns have made headlines in major newspapers and magazines and on radio stations and television networks around the world.

Daphna Nachminovitch
Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations

As the senior vice president of PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department, Daphna Nachminovitch has overseen countless cruelty cases and many eyewitness investigations. Her staff fields hundreds of calls every week from concerned citizens around the world.

In one high-profile case, Nachminovitch worked with state and federal officials in what may be the largest animal seizure in history: Nearly 27,000 animals were confiscated from international exotic-animal dealer U.S. Global Exotics in Texas. The company was shut down overnight, and its operator is now a federal fugitive.

In another of Nachminovitch’s record-breaking cases, PETA’s investigation of Global Captive Breeders prompted law-enforcement officials to charge the company’s owner and manager with 106 counts of felony cruelty to animals. Sixteen thousand rats and 600 reptiles were seized from the facility in the largest seizure of rats in U.S. history and the largest-ever seizure of animals in California.

Nachminovitch oversaw PETA’s investigation of Professional Laboratory and Research Services (PLRS), a North Carolina product-testing company that closed within a week of the release of PETA’s findings to the public and put hundreds of animals up for adoption. A grand jury indicted four former PLRS workers, marking the first time in U.S. history that workers faced felony cruelty charges for abuse of animals in a laboratory.

Nachminovitch also directed PETA’s investigation of a pig factory farm that supplies Hormel, which resulted in six workers’ admitting guilt in the neglect and/or abuse of pigs—the first convictions of their kind in Iowa, the top pork-producing state. She also helmed PETA’s investigation of turkey factory farms in West Virginia, which resulted in the first-ever felony indictments for abuse of factory-farmed birds. The case led to five convictions and the stiffest penalty ever imposed in U.S. history for cruelty to any farmed animal.

Based on evidence supplied by a PETA undercover investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Pennsylvania-based Triple F Farms for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act for leaving baby ferrets who had fallen through cage floors to die on the ground and depriving ferrets with painful, life-threatening injuries of veterinary care or euthanasia.

Evidence collected by Nachminovitch’s team at a so-called animal “hospice” named Angel’s Gate, Inc., in New York led to 22 counts of cruelty-to-animals charges against the owner. PETA’s investigator documented that animals kept in filthy conditions were denied medical treatment for pain, seizures, tumors, open wounds, and infections. Nachminovitch also oversaw a landmark hoarding case involving Caboodle Ranch, a filthy “sanctuary” in Florida from which nearly 700 cats—many of them severely ill—were seized.

Under Nachminovitch’s direction, PETA investigators have documented abuse at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, PETCO and PetSmart suppliers Rainbow World Exotics and Sun Pet Ltd., and a Pennsylvania dairy farm that supplies milk to Land O’Lakes.

Nachminovitch also oversees PETA’s low-cost spay/neuter clinics, which have “fixed” more than 150,000 animals since the program’s inception in 2001. She directs PETA’s Community Animal Project and doghouse program, which gives custom-made doghouses, straw bedding, toys, and other services to neglected dogs in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. She has successfully worked with government officials to pass laws banning or restricting the chaining of dogs in several cities.

Born in Israel, Nachminovitch has lived in the Ivory Coast and Paris and is fluent in Hebrew, French, and English. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a major in communications and theater.

Jeff Kerr
Chief Legal Officer, PETA Foundation

As chief legal officer to PETA and its international affiliates for over 26 years, Jeff Kerr built and leads the world’s largest legal team working for animal rights. His team was named Corporate Counsel magazine’s 2017 Best Legal Department, the first animal protection group and only the second non-profit to receive that honor. His high-profile cases have made headlines around the world and sparked a global conversation about the legal rights of animals.

Since 2013, his team has successfully mounted five constitutional challenges to defeat “ag-gag” laws, which are designed to prevent eyewitness investigations of animal abuse that are vital for exposing and ending cruelty to animals. In October 2011, he led the PETA legal team that conceived of and litigated the landmark case Tilikum v. SeaWorld, which sought the release—under the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—of five wild-caught orcas enslaved by SeaWorld. It was the first-ever lawsuit seeking constitutional rights for animals. He led the legal team in the groundbreaking case Naruto v. Slater et al., which sought copyright ownership of the famous “monkey selfie” photograph for the macaque who took the photo. This was the first case in legal history asking that an animal be declared the owner of property (the copyright) rather than being considered a piece of property himself. The case sparked international debate about animal sentience and creativity, and is being taught in law schools around the country. And his litigation team has eviscerated the big cat cub-petting and breeding industry with a string of precedent-setting victories under the Endangered Species Act and has put out of business, in jail or under indictment nearly every tiger abuser featured in the Netflix series Tiger King.

Kerr’s team has helped PETA set more precedents for animals than any other organization, including the first cruelty-to-animals convictions of factory-farm employees for abusing pigs and birds, the first U.S. and international crush-video convictions (including a life sentence), the first British case upholding the right to show eyewitness footage of animal abuse, the first Australian case upholding the right to call for a product boycott against animal-abusive practices, the first state supreme court decision recognizing the right to gather and publicize eyewitness animal-abuse video footage, and the largest seizure of animals in U.S. history.

Kerr also established and serves as general counsel for each of PETA’s international affiliates—in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, and the U.K. He has helped PETA and its affiliates defeat politically motivated attacks on their ability to speak out effectively in behalf of animals, including through the following accomplishments:

  • Thwarted three U.S. congressional inquiries—supported by industries that exploit animals—that attempted to revoke PETA’s tax-exempt status
  • Guided PETA and the PETA Foundation through a 20-month politically motivated IRS audit
  • Coauthored “friend-of-the-court” briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal and state courts to support the First Amendment rights of PETA staff members and volunteers
  • Defended the right to show the public eyewitness video footage of animal abuse in the Fairfax County, Virginia, laboratory Covance, Inc.—the world’s largest contract experimentation laboratory
  • Exposed the decade-long conspiracy by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to interfere with the activities of PETA and other animal-protection groups that oppose the cruel beatings and confinement of elephants, tigers, and other animals who are used by circuses
  • Defeated a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) brought by UniverSoul Circus that sought to silence PETA’s truthful publication of the circus’s deplorable record of supporting abusive exotic-animal exhibitors
  • Defeated the Australian wool industry’s lawsuit that sought to silence PETA’s international call for a boycott of Australian wool produced through the sheep-mutilation process known as “mulesing”
  • Fended off malicious prosecution charges brought by animal abusers in state and federal court in order to protect PETA’s ability to bring criminal and civil complaints against people who harm animals
  • Secured the org internet domain name from a cyber-squatter who sought to use it to support animal exploitation

Kerr has also defended “naked” activists and costumed protesters wrongly targeted by law-enforcement officers who attempted to silence their right to speak out for animals, and he protects PETA and its affiliates from libel and slander.

In addition, he oversees major operational projects—such as the renovation of the Bob Barker Building, PETA’s office in Los Angeles. He also serves on the executive team responsible for the organization’s strategic financial planning and management.

Kerr graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, which in 2018 recognized his body of public service work with the prestigious Shaping Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement. He completed his undergraduate studies at George Mason University, where he was a Weber scholar. He joined PETA in 1993, shortly after attending a lecture titled “Did Your Food Have a Face?” He has 35 years of litigation experience with corporate and exempt organizations and has lectured about animal law at law schools across the country, including Harvard, New York University, Columbia, the University of Virginia, Georgetown, and Lewis & Clark College. His legal career and work for PETA were profiled in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times, Time magazine, InsideCounsel magazine, and Corporate Counsel magazine as well as on the U.S. website and the U.K. website, together with scores of other national and international media outlets. He also served on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia for 10 years, chairing its policy and legal committees and serving as president for the last two.

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