Skip to content

Animal Rights Groups for Activists: What to Join and Where to Donate

Animal rights groups are popping up all over the country. These organizations have different focuses, but they all share one goal: to educate citizens about animal cruelty and help them make more informed decisions about spending their money.

brown elephant with chain
Photo by Stephan Streuders on

Introduction to Animal Rights Groups

Animal rights activist groups work to accomplish this by holding rallies, distributing pamphlets, creating social media campaigns, and even providing vegan alternatives in public places like restaurants or grocery stores.

  • The end goal is for every citizen who cares about animals to be an advocate of these causes.
  • Animal rights are a set of moral principles that can be applied to the treatment of animals.
  • Some people believe it is morally wrong to kill and eat animals and that humans should control or eliminate their need for meat.

What are the different types of animal rights groups?

There are many different kinds of animal rights groups. One person could be a vegan and protest by handing out pamphlets at grocery stores, while another may be a member of an organization that protests with illegal direct action.

Animal rights groups are activists fighting to protect the lives of animals, and you can help too. You may not think that your actions have an impact, but they do! If you’re reading this, then it’s clear that you care about animals enough to take a few minutes out of your day.

Animal rights activist groups

How many animal rights groups exist

Thousands of animal rights groups protect animals from being mistreated or abused, including organizations fighting against fur farms and puppy mills.

Animal activists believe that nonhuman animals should be treated with compassion, empathy, respect, and love just as humans do because we share this planet with them; therefore, they deserve to be protected just like people who are oppressed or discriminated against.

It’s been a rough year for animal rights activists. The recent suicides of PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk and vegan cookbook author Kathy Freston have left the movement without its most visible leaders. But fear not, compassionate people! There are plenty of great animal rights activist groups to choose from to take up the slack. Here are just a few:

Animal Rights Groups List

Mercy For Animals

It is an international organization that strives to “create a humane and sustainable world.” They work with law enforcement and universities, schools, churches, and other organizations to promote healthy living through vegetarianism or veganism.

Mercy for Animals is a group of people trying to stop animals from being hurt and killed. They do not want to eat them, wear them, or use them in experiments.

  • They think that animals are wrongfully treated.
  • Mercy for Animals wants people to know that meat is bad for them, but it is also bad for the environment.
  • They say that it takes a lot of grain and water to get one pound of beef, and when you compare it to how much is in a pound of potatoes, it’s stupid to eat meat because we can eat way more healthy things with fewer resources if we just cut down on meat!

They also want people to realize the horrible ways livestock are treated. They have hidden cameras going behind closed doors to expose how animals are tested on or killed. Mercy For Animal has documented every stage from birth until death at these facilities, which they encourage everyone to watch, so they don’t buy meat from these companies.

There are many ways we can help stop this problem. The most obvious way is to become a vegetarian. This gives the animals a chance, and it’s a great thing to do for you too! There are so many alternatives to meat that taste great, but if you would rather have fish or chicken instead, then try going to places like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s because they sell humanely raised meats!

There are also things everyone can do, like signing petitions, so the owner of Smithfield farms will change his mind about changing the living conditions of his pigs. Mercy For Animals has plenty more ideas that anyone can participate in on their website at

Animal Defense League

The Animal Defense League is an organization that is based in Chicago, Illinois. The Animal Defense League’s mission is to voice the voiceless and provide for animals in need. They rescue and promote the adoption of homeless animals by providing vaccinations, sterilization, and rehabilitation when indicated. They also educate the public on animal care and how they can help end animal cruelty.

The Animal Defense League has received the following awards for its outstanding work: The National Federation of Humane Societies, First Place Award for Community Outreach; The City of Chicago, Mayor’s Award for excellence in community service; and Illinois Department of Agriculture, Certificate of Recognition.

Dorothy Heydt founded the Animal Defense League on September 21, 1971. In an interview with Mrs. Heydt, she said that she started rescuing animals at the advice of a good friend who told her to “rescue one” Animal before she died. A couple of months later, she saved her first cat (Tippy) from an abandoned house infested with rats and cats dying from distemper and starvation. Soon after, she realized the problem was too big for her to handle on her own, so she went looking for help.

Animal Abolitionist Movement [AAM]

Animal Abolitionist is the organization that most people believe is dedicated to the abolition of animal species. The Animal Abolitionist Organization has been working toward eliminating herd and flock animals ever since its inception. Their goal is to make sure humans live in harmony with nature again and stop exploiting it.

  • The Animal Abolitionist Organization considers killing animals for food, clothes, or any other purpose inhumane.
  • They push for a lifestyle with veganism as a core principle to stop harming animals through our actions.
  • The Animal Abolitionist Organization is one of the largest animal rights groups worldwide.
  • Their goal is to end all animal suffering caused by humans who believe they have dominion over them.

Their current mission is to give breeders alternative livelihoods to stop their harmful farming practices and become part of nature again, instead of the destroyers they are at present. Through agricultural subsidies, everyone has access to plant-based alternatives, which will make it easier for farmers to switch from meat production to sustainably grown crops.

Animal Abolitionist is a non-profit organization, and all donations go directly toward the fight for animal rights. The Animal Abolitionist Organization doesn’t have any employees because they prefer to use active members of their community.

Their voting system is what makes this organization so unique. All work that needs to be done goes through an open vote in their forum where all members can participate. Even high-ranking officials can get voted out if they don’t perform as expected and are replaced by someone else with better ideas or results.

The Animal Abolitionist Organization has built up a massive global network of like-minded people who come together to discuss matters and plan actions that will help animals worldwide. They’ve donated millions of dollars to organizations that help freed animals from farms and zoos.

The Animal Abolitionist Organization is also responsible for the closure of many animal circuses around the globe. Their actions are often illegal as they try to sabotage places where animals are enslaved to fight their cause.

Animal Liberation Front [ALF]

Animal Liberation Front was established in 1976 and is an international, militant organization that opposes animal cruelty. It was started by British Animal Rights Activists Ronnie Lee and Cliff Goodman.

The organization is either anonymous or uses pseudonyms to identify members. ALF’s operation and tactics have changed over the years, and currently, they actively use property destruction, economic sabotage, and direct action against animal abusers.

ALF raids on laboratories are some of their most publicized activities. Still, other actions include postering in neighborhoods where vivisectors live, demonstrations at courthouses, government buildings, and businesses that use animals for testing.

They raid fur farms (investigation of fur farming leads to publicizing the conditions in which the animals are living)

ALF deploys arson attacks against meat-related businesses such as butcher shops, fast food restaurants that sell meat products, or restaurants that give out plastic toys with children’s meals (more people would be encouraged to become vegetarians if they knew how animals are killed for food).

ALF’s activities get extra attention in the UK because of its history and over 800 arrests made since 1976. British Animal Liberation Press Office (BALPO) was established in January 1984 as a public relations office for the animal rights movement. They print and distribute press releases whenever there is an action by ALF that gains media attention.

An example of this would be the raid on Oxford Laboratory Animal Colonies in August 1986, where 2,000 animals were removed or released from factory farms. This caused a lot of public outrage and led to a great deal of debate about vivisection policies. BALPO also publishes books, magazines, leaflets, pamphlets, and reports for anyone interested in AL F.

On January 1, 2006, Ronnie Lee was released on parole from prison after serving 24 years of a life sentence for arson against a fur farm and an animal research laboratory at the University of California. Many British Animal Rights campaigners celebrated the release of this hero but also felt a lot of anger that his freedom was granted by the legal system that he had fought so fiercely.

The ALF is not an organization that should be taken lightly because they have shown that they are willing to take serious risks to save animals from abuse. They have been active since 1976, and their goal is to put “a stop to all forms of animal abuse, whether it’s hunting, visection or any other form.”

They are far from the average animal lover that rescues dogs from shelters. They resort to extreme and illegal measures to improve animals’ lives. One of those methods is arson which has cost more than $125 million in damages since 1976. The ALF also publishes names, addresses, phone numbers of people they call “vivisectors” (people who perform or fund animal testing). This leads to harassment, such as calling them in the middle of the night, for example. The ALF’s most well-known slogan is taken from Ingrid Newkirk: “It is morally wrong to experiment on a nonhuman, whether it be a dog, cat or rat.”

Animal Liberation Front conducts direct actions across Great Britain and has confirmed attacks on property in more than 1,000 since 1976. They leave behind “ALF” or “one animal alive” for people to see.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

PETA is an organization that promotes animal rights. PETA is an acronym for “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.” PETA was founded in 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. The shorthand form of PETA is registry-approved as a trademark in Canada, Europe, Australia, and India.

PETA believes that animals have rights and deserve to be treated with respect, not as commodities or property. The campaign to promote themselves on many levels, including: through public education, undercover investigations, celebrity involvement, legislative lobbying, football star support (such as Ricky Williams), music and Hollywood productions (such as “Vegucated”), and street theatre at shopping malls.

The specific goals of PETA are:

  • To end animal suffering and exploitation in all forms, including in the clothing trade, at rodeos, circuses, theme parks, zoos, and other exploitative entertainment functions, as well as in scientific research and agribusiness.
  • To institute a “complete animal liberation” by which all animals would be liberated from all forms of human use, and PETA would no longer exist.
  • To reduce the ecological footprint caused by meat production and other harmful actions to animals or exploit them.
  • To train and offer people the ability to do something to end animal suffering in their own lives and encourage others to do likewise. This includes encouraging individuals who work in industries that harm animals to become vegans and encouraging everyone else they can influence to avoid products made from exploited animals.

PETA encourages its supporters in campaigns led by local activists on issues such as anti-fur protests against department stores, protesting against animal research at universities, etc. PETA condemns the use of animals in any form, but especially in these industries, and responds to this by targeting them with protests.

How you can help animal rights groups

-you can join protests against companies who sell products made from animal parts (like fur), such as Patagonia

-you can sign petitions in support of legislation that would protect farm animals from abuse and neglect

-You could donate money to organizations like Mercy for Animals or Animal Legal Defense Fund, or any other animal welfare organization


If none of these groups appeal to you, there are many more, including ones for vegans who want to take their activism beyond diet and into areas such as product boycotts or environmentalism. Just remember that when spreading veganism, you don’t always have to focus on happiness for people and violence against animals – sometimes, just making people aware of how we treat nonhumans can be enough to fuel a powerful movement.

Don’t be afraid to get creative in your activism, either! You don’t need to limit yourself to animal rights organizations. There are groups like “Meat Is For Pussies” dedicated to getting meat-eaters into shape, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose mission is “to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans.” If you’re looking for an organization that identifies as anti-humanist and/or eco-terrorist – or if you want a vacation – there’s even an activist cruise called “Spring Break for Whales.”

It doesn’t matter how crazy your idea is; someone out there will probably agree with it! So get out there, spread a little veganism, and make the world a better place for animals!

Viable Outreach | Activism for the 99%