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Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:55 -- staplegun

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, FEBRUARY 11, 2015 – The Kirkpatrick Foundation will host The ANIMAL Conference at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel March 30-31. The first of its kind, the two-day forum will focus on Ideas, Impact, and Inspiration by bringing together the brightest minds in science, journalism, research, and sustainability to convene and discuss current and future trends affecting animals.

“Our vision for The ANIMAL Conference is to convene those who are professionally or personally part of the animal wellbeing and leadership community and discuss current topics and concerns, including community wellness,” says Louisa McCune, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation.

In 2012, Kirkpatrick Foundation started the Safe & Humane initiative with the goal of making Oklahoma one of the safest and most humane places to be an animal by 2032, and The ANIMAL Conference is a key element in achieving the Safe & Humane goal. The mission of the conference is to inspire those attending toward active compassion and advocacy, which can result in measurable change for animals and for the communities in which they live. 

“We believe that the conference—a festival, really—and our Safe & Humane initiative will educate and inspire Oklahomans to translate their love for animals into positive action and compassion toward animals and, in turn, other humans,” says McCune. “We believe that this type of action can create amazing change in individual lives as well as the community in which we live.” 

Featured speakers for the conference include:

  • Vint Virga, DVM: Author, The Soul of All Living Creatures
  • Charles Siebert: Journalist, New York Times
  • Jonathan Balcombe: Director, Animal Sentience with the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy
  • Tim Harrison: Public Safety Office, featured in The Elephant in the Living Room
  • Dr. Aysha Akhtar: Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats of the Food and Drug Administration

Additional speakers include: Diana Webster, president of the Native American Humane Society; Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer; Nicole Forsythe, president and CEO of RedRover; Dr. Lisa Lunghofer, director of AniCare and Rapid Response for Animals and Society Institute, and many more.

The goals for this inaugural conference, which will be held once every three years, are to: 

  • Inspire improved quality of life for animals and our communities
  • Engage in dynamic conversations about animals including companion, wildlife, farm animals, and exotics
  • Provide a thought-leadership forum about the value of increasing animal wellbeing in our communities
  • Learn about animal behavior and recent discoveries about the animal brain
  • Obtain strategies for improved animal treatment in industry, neighborhoods, and communities
  • Meet leaders in the fields of animals and public health, the human-animal bond, disaster relief and rescue
  • Discover new programs for children and youth to increase empathy, compassion, and character
  • Build awareness of the value of animals in service, therapy, and rehabilitation
  • Develop a sense of active compassion that will allow attendees to view their world, fellow humans and animals in a different or enhanced way

Who will be there?

  • Thought and opinion leaders, policymakers, community advocates and leaders, social workers and government officials including legislators and city councilors
  • City and county animal shelter staff, animal rescue employees and volunteers, farmers and ranchers
  • Veterinarians and animal science professionals
  • Nonprofit staff and board members
  • Corporate and for-profit industry representatives
  • Students and retirees

Why should you attend the ANIMAL Conference?

  • Because you care about animals and the people who love and care for them!
  • Because the social, emotional, and physical health of animals is intricately tied to that of humankind in our cities, in our state, and in our region
  • Because you want to join the dialogue and learn and share how to improve the quality of life of all animals whether on the farm, in the wild, in neighborhoods, in communities, or in our homes
  • Because you will meet and interact with members of the Oklahoma Roundtable for Animal Welfare and Oklahoma Link Coalition
  • Because it will be fun! For the two days of the conference, business and organizations in downtown Oklahoma City will play host to many animal-friendly activities and efforts. 
  • Lee Fairchild will present his world-champion disc dog demonstration at the Myriad Gardens. Plus, the Cat Café and Pop-Up Bookstore (run by Full Circle) will feature adoptable felines and coffee drinks. 

TO REGISTER: Visit and click Register Now. The early-bird deadline for conference registration ($250) is February 16, and the deadline for the hotel conference rate ($159) is February 27. For registration, contact Factor 110 at (405) 604-0041.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit for a complete listing of featured speakers and sessions, or call the Kirkpatrick Foundation at (405) 608-0934. 

PHOTOS: Photographs should be credited to Joel Sartore.

ALSO ATTACHED: PDF of the Conference Invitation

CONNECT WITH US: Follow us on Twitter at @oklahomaanimals, using hashtag #animal2015.

Founded in 1955 by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick, the Kirkpatrick Foundation makes grants in the areas of arts, culture, education, animal well-being, environmental conservation, and historic preservation.