The Team

Barbara Gardner BA FCA – Founder and CEO

Barbara Gardner

Barbara Gardner BA (Hons) FCA is the founder and Chief Executive of the Animal Interfaith Alliance. She is also a board member. She is currently Treasurer of the national society of the RSPCA and also works as Editor of Catholic Concern for Animals’ magazine, The Ark.  She is the author of The Compassionate Animal: an Interfaith Guide to the Extended Circle of Compassion (Animal Books & Media 2013) and edits AIA’s magazine Animal Spirit.  She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, having trained with and worked at Ernst & Young, and holds an honours degree in Business Studies from Kingston University. She has previously worked as a Group Financial Controller and as an accountant & company secretary.  

Marian Hussenbux – International Campaigns Secretary

Marian HussenbuxMarian Hussenbux is a multi-lingual translator and teacher of modern languages, who is responsible for the international campaigning and letter writing for AIA. Before joining AIA, Marian had been Clerk of Quaker Concern for Animals and editor of its newsletter for many years and is a member of Birkenhead Quaker Meeting. Marian is also a Green Party Member, an RSPCA volunteer and has supported animal welfare and rights groups and campaigned on these issues since the 1970s. Having Muslim and Jewish members in her extended family, she is committed to working for the animals from an interfaith perspective.

Sheila Thomas – Membership Secretary

sheila-thomasSheila Thomas BA FCLIP MBCS is an information professional who worked in engineering and joining technology for over 40 years. Now retired, she is Treasurer of Catholic Concern for Animals and has a couple of freelance part-time jobs based on her experience in industry. Her animal interests range from native wildlife to her two pet cats.


The Board

Rev. Feargus O’Connor – Chair – Unitarian Universalists

Feargus O'ConnorRev. Feargus O’Connor, MA is a Unitarian Universalist and the Unitarian Minister at Golders Green Unitarians.  He is Secretary of The World Congress of Faiths, a trustee of Quaker Concern for Animals and also a member of Barnet Multifaith Forum.  Feargus has been holding Interfaith Celebrations for Animals at Golders Green Unitarians since 2003 where members of all faith traditions come together to celebrate the interconnected web of creation and their shared love of animals.

Chris Fegan – Deputy Chair – Catholic Concern for Animals

Chris Fegan

Chris Fegan BA is Chief Executive of Catholic Concern for Animals.  He holds a degree in Politics from Essex University and is currently studying for an MA in Christian Theology at Heythrop College in London.  He has worked extensively in Government and Policy development and is a very keen chess player and has represented England in World Senior Championships.

Rev. Prof. Fr Martin Henig – Anglican – Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals

Martin Henig 3Rev. Prof. Fr Martin Henig MA. DPhil. D.Litt is Vice President of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of AnimalsHe has taught and researched in Oxford for many years on Roman art, especially on Roman gems and Roman Britain.  A deep concern with theology and ethics led him to study at St Stephen’s House, Oxford to pursue a vocation as a minister in the Anglican Church.   He is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and a founder member of the Voice for Ethical Research in Oxford.  Between 1997-2009 he was a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and is still a member of the Common Room of the college.  He is also Honorary Visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London.  He has written a huge number of papers on both of his key subjects of Roman art and animals in theology.

Bob Isaacson – Buddhist – Dharma Voices for Animals

Bob Isaacson

Bob Isaacson is the President and Co-Founder of Dharma Voices for Animals He was a civil rights-human rights attorney for twenty-five years, specializing in defending people against the death penalty. He presented and won a landmark case in the Supreme Court of the United States, which limits the power of the police to arrest people without sufficient grounds, when he was 27, the second youngest attorney in history to appear before the nation’s highest court. Bob Isaacson was drawn to the Buddha’s teachings on the path to the end of suffering 24 years ago and continues to be inspired. Since he began Buddhist practice, Bob has participated in 25 meditation retreats of one month or longer. Bob currently teaches the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings), leads two Sanghas (on-going groups of practitioners), and leads day-long and weekend retreats in the San Diego area, having been trained in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leader Program. It did not take Bob long to realize the disconnect between the Buddha’s teachings of compassion and non-harming toward all sentient beings and the actual practice of Buddhist teachers and followers who continue to eat animals. This disconnect led Bob to join with several friends in 2011 to launch the non-profit organization, Dharma Voices for Animals (DVA).DVA is the only international Buddhist animal rights/animal advocacy organization in the world. DVA relies on the Buddha’s teachings to engage Buddhist centers and communities around the world, especially in Asia where over 98% of Buddhists live.

Sunita Mansigani – Hindu – The Sadhu Vaswani Centre UK

Sunita Mansigani

Sunita Mansigani is a member of the Sadhu Vaswani Centre. She works as a Regulatory and Business Risk Officer and a Compliance Officer at Danske Bank A/S in London.


Dr Andre Menache – Jewish

Andre Menache

Dr Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc MRCVS is a veterinarian who advises extensively on animal welfare matters.  He is director of Antidote Europe, based in France and is a patron of Quaker Concern for Animals.   He has been president of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (UK) and general manager of The Federation of Animal Protection Societies in Israel.  He currently provides scientific support to several grass roots organisations.

Dr Christina Nellist – Orthodox – Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals

Christina NellistDr Christina Nellist is the Co-Founder and Chair of Pan Orthodox Concern for AnimalsShe is an Eastern Orthodox theologian specialising in animal suffering and human soteriology. She is a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics; former Visiting Research Fellow/Guest Lecturer at Winchester University; Guest Lecturer on Veterinary Ethics at Chile’s Iberia-America University and advisor to the Chilean Government, receiving an award for her work on stray-dog control via public health education.  She is a former Educational Consultant and teacher in the Sciences and Special Education.  Dr Christina has over 50 years in animal advocacy both in the UK and abroad.  She is Co-founder of the Seychelles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and a former British government warden for the islands.  She is Honorary Chair and Co-founder of the Orthodox Society of the Seychelles. Her publications include Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Animal Suffering: Ancient Voices in Modern Theology (2018/2020) and articles in animal suffering in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review; Journal of Eastern Orthodox Theology and The Ark, Green Christian and Sarx magazines.  Her present initiative is editing a book on ‘Climate Crisis & Creation Care: Eco-Economic Sustainability, Ecological Integrity and Justice’ (forthcoming 2021).  Her ‘Creation Care: Christian Responsibility Course‘ is available on her charity’s website.

Keval Shah – Jain – Jain Vegans

Keval Shah is a Jain and a member of Jain Vegans.  He is a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and an animal rights campaigner based in North West London.  Annually, he and his wife visit Puttaparthi (India) to serve the less fortunate through the provision of dental care and treatment.  In 2011, he joined the Jain Vegans Working Group to raise awareness amongst the Jain Community of London about the suffering inherent in the dairy industry, and especially helped to educate the Gujarati-speaking Jains via talks at community centres and information stalls.  He visits secondary schools as part of the Animal Aid School Speaker Programme, and talks to students about the plight of animals, how we can help them and the urgency for environmental conservation. Occasionally, he joins the Anonymous for the Voiceless, doing street activism and public outreach in busy areas of London. In 2014, he adopted three chickens, rescued from an egg farm prior to their imminent slaughter, and nursed them back to health. They now live with him and his wife, and they hope to adopt more in the near future. 

Judith Wilkings – Quaker – Quaker Concern for Animals

judith-wilkings-2Judith Wilkings is a member of Quaker Concern for Animals and the RSPCA.  She has been Managing Director and Company Secretary of her Engineering and Technical Recruitment Agency and business, from which she is now retired.  Her home has always been shared with companion animals.


External Advisors

Prof. Atul Shah PhD ACA – Culture and Diversity Advisor

Dr Atul Shah 3Prof. Atul Shah is a Jain, a social entrepreneur and the founder and owner of the cultural and diversity advisory company Diverse Ethics Ltd He is a chartered accountant, a senior lecturer in accountancy and economics at Suffolk University and an active researcher and teacher in the fields of business ethics, accounting, diversity and banking reform.   He is the author of Celebrating Diversity and Boardroom Diversity and broadcaster on various BBC stations.  In 2010, Prof Shah completed a highly innovative Epic Masala Tour of Britain, examining the fusion of East and West through the activities of Indo-Brits.  His clients include Channel 4, the BBC, RSPCA, Procter & Gamble, Mann Group and EDF Energy.

David Thomas – Legal Advisor

David Thomas QC

David Thomas is a highly experienced lawyer in both the commercial and voluntary sectors and is a part-time judge.  He is a trustee of the national Council of the RSPCA, is currently its Vice Chair and has previously been it’s Chair for two years.  He is a former trustee of the Association of Lawyers for Animal Welfare and CIWF and has acted extensively in legal matters for most animal welfare charities, in particular the BUAV.  David gave evidence to the Burns Inquiry on hunting and was involved in the RSPCA’s opposition to legal challenges to the Hunting Act.  He recently prepared a detailed submission to the Law Commission on UK wildlife law and advised on the trade in primates and other exotic animals as pets.  As a commercial lawyer, he has acted for many FTSE 100 companies.

 The Animal Interfaith Alliance is a registered not-for-profit company number 8958588.         

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