What We Stand For // History
It began with a news story about a theatre performance. It became the groundwork for a different type of animal advocacy organization.
In 1985, Nancy Regan heard about LA-based performance artist Rachael Rosenthal who brought animals on stage to open people’s hearts and minds to the “others” with whom they share the earth. Nancy was struck by the celebratory nature of the event—animal advocacy that used art and culture to raise awareness. Nancy’s vision, complemented by Tom’s academic leadership as a philosopher, helped Culture & Animals Foundation take shape.
“Once you take the first step,” says Nancy, “you realize there is more to be done.” Beyond performance, Tom and Nancy wanted to explore the entire cultural language of animal rights, including music, dance, film, poetry and philosophy.
They began by producing “animal awareness week,” the predecessor to the International Compassionate Living Festival that CAF produced for twenty consecutive years, and co-produced with the Animals & Society Institute from 2005 to 2008. The largest animal advocacy event in the southeast, ICLF brought animal advocates together for dialogue, presentations and performances.
In later years, CAF began funding grants to support others who used cultural advocacy to raise awareness of animal rights. Today the foundation continues with annual grants in three categories: Research, Creativity and Performance.