Barbara Gardner – Founder and CEO
Barbara Gardner BA (Hons) FCA is the founder and Chief Executive of the Animal Interfaith Alliance. She is also a board member. She is a former Treasurer of the national society of the RSPCA and a former 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 edited 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 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 Thomas BA 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 is a Laudato Si’ Animator and an active member of her local Justice & Peace Group and of her local Climate Action Group. Her animal interests range from native wildlife to her two pet cats.
Rev. Feargus O’Connor – Chair – Unitarian Universalists
Rev. 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 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
Rev. Prof. Fr Martin Henig MA. DPhil. D.Litt is Vice President of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals. He 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 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 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
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
Dr Christina Nellist is the Co-Founder and Chair of Pan Orthodox Concern for Animals. She 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 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.
Prof. Atul Shah PhD ACA – Culture and Diversity Advisor
Prof. 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 is a highly experienced lawyer in both the commercial and voluntary sectors and is a part-time judge. He is the co-founder of Advocates for Animals, a law firm that works to protect animals. 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 Cruelty Free International. 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.
Sarah Dunning – 1943 – 2021
We are extremely saddened to report the passing of our much loved board member Sarah Dunning on 3rd September after a battle with cancer.
Sarah had been a member of the AIA board since its inception in 2014 and had contributed hugely to its success. She was also a trustee of Catholic Concern for Animals and had been its membership secretary for several years. She had previously served on the committee of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, representing them on the committee of the interfaith group, Week of Prayer for World Peace.
A wonderful advocate for peace and ahimsa, Sarah was always there for the animals. She gave so much to achieve a world where all animals are loved and respected and can live a good life. We really appreciate her support and friendship. Sarah’s was a life well lived. We will miss her terribly.
Sarah leaves behind her husband Darrell (Daz) and two children, Claire and Paul. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
A full obituary can be read here.
The Animal Interfaith Alliance is a registered not-for-profit company number 8958588.
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