About Us

Friends of Animals (FoA) is a non-profit, international animal advocacy organization, incorporated in the state of New York since 1957. Friends of Animals advocates for the rights of nonhuman animals, free-living and domestic. Our goal is to free animals from cruelty and institutionalized exploitation around the world.

The organization has evolved from its beginnings as the most comprehensive low-cost spay neuter program in the country which has to date facilitated more than 2.8 million spay/neuter procedures. Friends of Animals now places critical habitat, wildlife protection and veganism at the core of animal advocacy.  We also address the biggest contributors to climate change caused by human activity—deforestation, animal agriculture and fossil fuels. Our work includes legislative outreach to get laws passed (some drafted by us) that will protect animals or to stop bills that harm animals in their tracks.

But FoA goes beyond advocacy with hands on work as well. We operate a San Antonio-based animal sanctuary, Primarily Primates, which cares for more than 400 primates, birds and other animals in Texas. The primates are all victims of the exotic pet trade, research and the entertainment industry. And we also have two important projects in Africa. We sponsor the remarkable Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project in The Gambia in Africa. This incredible project has been in existence for more than three decades and it’s Africa’s longest running chimp rehabilitation project. More than 100 chimpanzees live freely within their own family groups on three isolated, forested islands in the middle of the River Gambia set within the River Gambia National Park. In 1979 there were orphaned chimps whose parents had been poached, and a sanctuary was needed. This project provided as natural a life for them as possible.

Our second project in Africa funds the protection and recovery of three endangered African antelope species. FoA has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining a recovery program for the Scimitar-horned Oryx and Dama Gazelle in Senegal. FoA has worked with the Direction des Parcs Nationaux (Senegal’s National Park Agency) to restore the Scimitar-horned Oryx and Dama Gazelle to two reserves managed by the agency. Another project in Senegal involves digging wells to reduce competition between humans and chimpanzees over water. In return for leaving the natural water source for chimpanzees, villagers get a well and latrines.

We inform members about animal advocacy issues and our progress in addressing them through our magazine, Action Line, and our website.

The projects and services provided by Friends of Animals are entirely supported by membership contributions, bequests and grants. Our continued strength depends upon the generosity of our members and donors. We encourage our members to get involved in their own communities as volunteer activists and as representatives of our spay/neuter project. With the loyal support of our members and friends from all walks of life throughout the world, each year we actively meet the needs of more animals on more fronts than any animal advocacy group of our kind.

Request a free copy of our “Who We Are, What We Do, How to Join” brochure that you can view here.


Latest Advocacy and Achievements

We’re currently on the front lines, fighting and righting wrongs so that change is possible. We are so grateful for your support because it has enabled us to:

• Publicly press the United Nations Security Council, U.S. officials and Congressional lawmakers to use their power to shut down worldwide wild animal meat markets—COVID-19 has been linked to a meat market in Wuhan, China— and we’re getting results. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act with a provision calling on federal agency officials and the Secretary of State to “provide assistance to foreign countries to end the trade of wildlife that pose a risk to humans because of transmission of pathogens that cause disease” and Sen. Cory Booker introduced a bipartisan bill, “The Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2020,” also calling for closure and addressing the public health risks posed by wildlife markets.

• Surpass 2.8 million procedures with our low-cost our spay-neuter program. Spay-neuter is the most effective way to prevent pet homelessness in America. Pet adoptions are soaring because of the pandemic, but many shelters were forced to suspend their spay and neuter programs, creating problems for people trying to rescue cats and dogs. Our low-cost certificates have been a boon to families who had to get their pets altered on their own. During  the pandemic, we have provided close to 14,000 certificates, a 30% hike from the same period last year.

• File a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service for approving a research permit that would allow Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut to import five more beluga whales from Marineland, a facility in Canada, because it violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the National Environmental Protection Act.

• File a lawsuit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for making hunting imagery mandatory for the federal Duck Stamp Contest. Wildlife artists annually vie for the prestige of seeing their art grace each new Duck Stamp, which waterfowl hunters are required by law to purchase and carry with their general hunting license.  Ninety-percent of the annual $25 purchase price goes directly to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to acquire and protect wetland habitat vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl and purchase conservation easements for the wildlife refuge system. The beauty of the stamp is that anyone can contribute to conservation by buying them and requiring a hunting image will turn off wildlife watchers who might not purchase them, decreasing funding for waterfowl.

• Win a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for denying FoA’s May 2015 legal petition asking the agency to consider new scientific evidence demonstrating the need to cancel the registration of the pesticide porcine zona pellucida (PZP). The win forces the EPA to review compelling evidence on the detrimental impacts of the use of the pesticide to decrease the population of wild horses on federal public lands.

• File a lawsuit in state court against Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) over its requirement of a valid hunting or fishing license to access any State Wildlife Area or State Trust Land even if someone just wants to hike, birdwatch, take photographs or simply get their nature fix.

• Participate in the heroic rescue of 12 animals who are now safe at our Texas primate sanctuary, Primarily Primates. The primates were rescued from a “Tiger King” affiliated roadside zoo in Indiana that was shut down by the government. We will provide lifetime care for them in addition to the 300+ animals who already reside at the sanctuary. Prior to that, we were also able to rescue 11 animals who needed to be relocated from a California sanctuary that was closing due to financial struggles and bring them to PPI. Additionally, we won a lawsuit on behalf of Primarily Primates, to stop Chimps, Inc. in Oregon from moving chimpanzees to a research lab in Iowa. The chimps will get to stay together on the same property where they’ve lived for more than a decade under the supervision of the newly formed nonprofit Freedom for Great Apes.

• Begin a project in Africa to reintroduce critically endangered red-necked ostriches to the Ferlo North Wildlife Reserve in Senegal. This is part of a much larger project that includes rehabilitating 12,355 acres of land for the benefit of wildlife that has been decimated by livestock, a greater focus on plant-based diets through a community garden project and the continued work with oryxes we began a decade ago. Scimitar-horned oryxes had gone extinct in the wild but our work has helped the population grow to 550 today. The success of the oryx project provides a beacon of hope for ostriches we are also working with partners to reintroduce.

• Win an important appeals court victory in our efforts to protect barred owls from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service experiment that was aimed at killing them to save spotted owls. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit appeals court overturned a district court dismissal of the case FoA brought against FWS concerning the killings.

• File an emergency rulemaking petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restrict U.S. zoos’ ability to import African elephants. The petition states that FWS has superficially relied on three premises to determine zoos’ imports of wild elephants are not for commercial use: the zoos’ status as nonprofits, their plan to breed animals and their role in educating the public as part of their mission. There’s plenty of evidence zoos are big business.

• Continue to pressure NYC, the heart of the fur trade, to ban the sale of fur. FoA’s efforts to spur the city council to introduce fur ban legislation paid off when City Council Speaker Corey Johnson introduced legislation in 2018 and FoA is continue to press for passage of the bill. In the meantime, we were bolstered that Macy’s, whose flagship store is in the heart of NYC, announced that it will stop selling fur by the end of the 2020 fiscal year along with other major New York-based fashion houses and retail stores.

• Win a ruling for our lawsuit, which moves the queen conch back to fair and full consideration under the Endangered Species Act.

• File a lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Land Management for its decision to not return 779 of the wild horses it rounded up from the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in Oregon in 2018 to their habitat. FoA is challenging the decision’s new rule that virtually eliminates critical public participation in considerations about how to manage these and other wild horses in the future.

• Win a legal victory for the yellow-billed cuckoo. Under the settlement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to make a final critical habitat designation by 2021. There may be as few as 500 pairs left north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

• Fight for overdue protections for the scarlet macaw. FoA won a lawsuit and successfully obtained an order from federal court requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to finalize its Endangered Species Act Listing Rule for the brilliantly colored birds.

• Win a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management that halted a policy change that had allowed the agency to sell two dozen wild horses at a time with no questions asked to get around a Congressional ban on slaughter.

• Pursue transparency and public accountability among federal agencies with lawsuits challenging the Department of Interior’s failure to release numbers of elephant skins and giraffe parts being imported into the U.S. and the names of the importers.

• Pass important legislation in the New York State and Connecticut senates that would ban the importation, possession, sale or transport of the trophies of African elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes and black and white rhinos.

You can count on FoA for its continued integrity in its efforts to defend animals and the environment. Can we count on you to continue your support? You can make a donation here.


National Headquarters

777 Post Road Suite 205
Darien, CT 06820
Phone: 203-656-1522
Fax: 203-656-0267

Western Law Office

 7500 E. Arapahoe Rd., Ste. 385

Centennial, CO 80112

Phone: 720-949-7791

Key Staff:

Priscilla Feral, President
Bob Orabona, Director of Operations
Dustin Rhodes, Vice President of Development
Michelle Hopson, Director of Administration
Jane Seymour, Creative Director
Bob Bock, Accountant
Donna Thigpen, Assistant to President
Shelly Scott, Secretary to President
Belveley Russell, Bookkeeper
Meghan McIntire, Digital Content Director
Nicole Rivard, Editor/Correspondent
Dana Visi, Receptionist
Veronika Johnson, Membership
Michael Harris,
Wildlife Law Program Director
Jenni Best, Asst. Legal Director
Stephen Hernick, Senior Attorney
Andreia Marcuccio, Staff Attorney
Liz Holland, Office Manager
Bill Clark, Senior Policy Advisor

Friends of Animals Board of Directors:

Priscilla Feral, President
Sally Malanga, Secretary/Treasurer
Pamela McKenna, Chairperson
Elizabeth Forel, Director
Teresa D’Amico, Director
Phyllis Hawkins, Director
Barbara Sitomer, Director

Equal Employment Opportunity 

Friends of Animals is committed to equal employment opportunity.

Financial Information

Friends of Animals, Inc.
Federal ID # (EIN): 13-6018549















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