Science has illuminated the health and environmental impact of factory farming, confirmed the benefits of plant-based living, and increased awareness of the inhumane treatment of farm animals. It’s within the context of this elevated public consciousness that Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization, names Kendra “Kera” Melrose Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director.
The announcement comes at a time of unprecedented growth for the 32-year-old organization, with plans in place to broaden its impact through the acquisition of additional acreage at its upstate New York sanctuary, expanded visitor offerings at its Los Angeles-area sanctuary, and a partnership with Jon and Tracey Stewart to open a highly anticipated education center at the historic Hockhockson Farm in Colts Neck, NJ.
For her part, Melrose was first introduced to Farm Sanctuary when President and Co-founder Gene Baur, guest lectured in her Animal Law class at Columbia Law School. Inspired by Baur, whom TIME has called “the conscience of the food movement,” and his organization’s mission to change the way society views and treats farm animals, the longtime vegetarian and animal advocate immediately went vegan. Soon after, she embarked on a trip to visit the group’s bucolic flagship sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY, where she bonded with the rescued animals and cemented her commitment to improving their lives.
As a nonprofit leader, Melrose has excelled in her strategic, professional, and mission-centered approach to helping farm animals. She brings many years of animal advocacy and nonprofit management experience to the role, serving most recently as Farm Sanctuary’s general counsel. Prior to joining Farm Sanctuary in 2016, Melrose was counsel at the PETA Foundation, and before that an associate at the litigation boutique Brune & Richard LLP, where she focused on white-collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement actions, and securities and complex commercial litigation. She was also an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP, where her practice included litigating pro bono cases on behalf of animal protection groups.
Melrose holds an A.B. from Princeton University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she graduated a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and co-founded the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She resides in Manhattan.
Founded in 1986, Farm Sanctuary works to change how our society views and treats farm animals through rescue, education, and advocacy. The organization provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at sanctuary locations in New York and California; promotes compassionate vegan living; and advocates for legal and policy reforms. To learn more about Farm Sanctuary, visit farmsanctuary.org.