Conference 2019

Shifting the balance: the potential and limits of using law to support the growth of veganism.

Our conference this year will be hosted by Dr Carlo Prisco (author of "The right to Vegetarianism") and the University of Milan, and we are delighted to once again be supported by The Vegan Society.

Milan UniversityThe theme of the conference this year explores how vegan rights can help bring about a society that respects, rather than exploits other animals.

The theme of this year’s conference is the utility of using law to contribute to the social conditions required for the growth of veganism and, thus, contribute to dismantling speciesist prejudice. Veganism is a way of life that is directed by deep convictions regarding the moral standing of nonhuman animals. The life-directing convictions of vegans require practical manifestation which makes veganism relevant to the human right to freedom of conscience.

The primacy and importance of the human right to freedom of conscience impose very strict limitations on permissible state interference and, additionally, influence the development and implementation of equality law. These human rights and equality measures can be used to protect vegans from any unlawful interference that would require them to compromise their ethical convictions and participate in the practices of the dominant majority. The Vegan Society, the IVRA, other advocacy services and individual lawyers regularly use human rights and equality measures to ensure that vegans can live their lives practically, with compassion for other sentient life. The Vegan Society, for example, has ensured that vegan school children, patients in hospital and those in detention have been provided with vegan food, students have been permitted to use vegan friendly materials in their assessments, vegans in the workplace have been given the option to source vegan friendly uniform items, accessories and personal protective equipment, and private sector service providers understand their legal duty to accommodate non vegans and vegans equally.

Milan UniversityThe right to freedom of conscience and its representation in equality legislation, therefore, create space in law where veganism challenges normalised, entrenched prejudice against nonhuman animals. The vegan legal movement works in this space to contribute to a paradigm shift in the social practices that perpetuate nonhuman animal exploitation. It seeks the legal recognition of veganism, protection for the vegan way of life and the necessary measures that would allow veganism to be institutionally supported, widely adopted and sustained: such as, the mandatory provision of vegan food in the public and private sector, adequate food labelling, provisions for vegans in the workplace and for veganism to be included in educational curricula.

Provisions made for vegans honour the human right to manifest the moral values that give effect to nonhuman rights. They also encourage a social dialogue that confronts prejudice against nonhuman animals and, arguably, contribute towards the normalisation of living with compassion for other beings. But what is the scope of law in different regions to protect vegans and support veganism, and to what extent can the creation of vegan law contribute to the conditions needed to dismantle widespread prejudice against nonhuman animals?

The conference seeks to explore specific issues identifiable at a threshold in law where the exclusion of rights for nonhuman animals meets the human rights of vegans. These issues may be international, regional or domestic legal challenges or the resulting practices and policies of lawful prejudice against nonhuman animals. The overriding questions concern how a creative vegan legal movement, and the arguments of individual lawyers, vegan policy makers and academics, can push the boundaries of this threshold and positively impact on the potential for veganism and animal liberation.

Paper submissions

If you want to be considered for a presentation slot at the IVRA Conference 2019, please send your abstracts to Dr Jeanette Rowley, no later than the 12th of April 2019. The selected submissions will be contacted soon after. For all queries regarding abstract submissions, please contact Dr Jeanette Rowley.

Submission Deadline

The submission deadline for abstracts is the 12th of April 2019. Please make sure you submit your abstract within the deadline.


This page will be updated regularly with more information and details about the IVRA Conference 2019. However, if you have any questions, please send your queries to Katherine Anderson.


This year's conference catering is provided by The Vegan Society. For any dietary requirements, please let us know by contacting Katherine Anderson.


University of Milan

Via Festa del Perdono,7, 20122 Milano, Italy


Dr Carlo Prisco has kindly sent us details of the hotels affiliated with the University of Milan. Obviously you are free to stay in the hotel of your choice but Carlo has suggested it might be worth checking out the rates as attendees at a conference at Milan state university.

University accommodation is also available.
For information, please contact:
Canzio residence
via Stefano Canzio 4, 20131 Milano - M1 e M2 Loreto.
Reception (aperta 24 ore) tel. 0229524035.
Email: Canzio residence


Closest airport
Malpensa Airport - Milan
Address: 21010 Ferno, VA, Italy
Code: MXP
Website : Malpensa Airport


Information about transportation to and from the airport is available on the Malpensa Airport website.
Website : Transportation

Useful Links

Weather :
Exchange rate :
Restaurants : HappyCow
Sightseeing : Viator


Dr Jeanette Rowley

IVRA and The Vegan Society, UK

Jeanette is a Master of Laws with Distinction and has a PhD in law specialising in the relationship of veganism to human rights. In her PhD she identifies that human rights claims of vegans bring the idea of exclusive rights to a threshold where the moral standing of nonhuman animals is visible.She founded the IVRA in 2012 to encourage the use of law to advance veganism on the grounds that the claims of vegans bring to democracy the suffering of other animals and their natural rights.She is a long standing vegan with roots in animal liberation activism.She collaborated with the Animal Think Tank to identify the ‘principles and values’ required for animal liberation in one generation. She is an advisor to The Vegan Society, manages the development of the legal network and oversees the Society’s advocacy service.She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and supervises research projects on veganism and law.She is a published author on veganism and law and member of the UK Equality Commission's Network. She assists vegan organisations around the world, is an honorary member of the Hungarian Vegan Association, and an advisor to Vegan Option Canada.She is currently examining how the development of machine learning features in animal exploitation, and assessing the scope of proposals for the regulation of artificial intelligence to support the emancipation of nonhuman animals.

Dr Carlo Prisco


Carlo Prisco is a lawyer and PhD in Philosophy of Law, assistant professor at the State University of Milan in Philosophy of Law and in Bioethics. Author of “Eusebism: Moral and Right”, "The duty of vegetarianism" and of "The right to vegetarianism", published in Italy and in U.S.A. (Hamilton, 2016), Italian translator of "Animals as Persons" by Gary L. Francione. He is the creator and founder of the moral philosophy Eusebism.

Prof. Gary Francione


Gary L. Francione is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law at Rutgers University (U.S.A)and Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia(U.K.).He was the first academic to teach animal rights theory in an American law school. With his colleague and partner,Anna Charlton, he started and directed the first animal rights law clinic anywhere at Rutgers University from 1990-2000.He has developed the abolitionist approach to animal rights, which is centered around six principles, including that veganism is a moral imperative.He is the author of a numerous books and articles on animal ethics and animal law, including:"The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?"(2010),"Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation" (2008),"Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?" (2000),"Rain Without Thunder:The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement"(1996); and "Animals, Property, and the Law"(1995). With Anna Charlton, he has co-authored three books directed to the advocacy community and focused on creative, non-violent vegan advocacy:"Advocate for Animals!: An Abolitionist Vegan Handbook"(2017); Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach"(2015); and "Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals"(2013).He is presently working on a book with Professor Gary Steiner of Bucknell University on the philosophy of veganism.He has two websites:How Do I Go Vegan and Abolitionist Approach

Nuno Alvim

IVRA and AVP, Portugal

Nuno Alvim is the board director of the Portuguese Vegetarian Association. He has a masters degree in Law and Criminology. He´s been engaged in active lobbying and campaigning for promoting the right to plant-based meals in public facilities. His petitioning work has resulted in the approval of ground-breaking legislation for the provision of strict vegetarian food in public canteens.

Mark Banahan

The Vegan Society, UK

Mark is part of the Campaigns, Policy and Research team at The Vegan Society. He works to promote the benefits of veganism to the wider public, support existing vegans, and campaign for more vegan friendly policy. He is currently leading on The Vegan Society’s ‘Catering For Everyone’ campaign, which aims to get a vegan option on every public sector menu. For more info visit The Vegan Society's Catering for everyone

Camille Labchuck

Animal Justice, Canada

Camille is a lawyer and Executive Director of Animal Justice Canada

Krystal Barber


Krystal Barber, JD Candidate 2020, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

Prof. Dr. Jan Wirsam


Prof. Dr. Jan Wirsam is a full-time professor for operations and innovation management at the University of Applied Science (HTW Berlin, Germany) with more than 10 years of experience instructing university students while simultaneously leading administrative and research activities.His background includes outstanding teaching experience at the University of Applied Science(HTW Berlin, Germany), University of Athabasca(Edmonton, Canada) and University of Mainz(Germany) instructing bachelor and master students to stimulate information interest and retention while invigorating classes through the use of new technologies and models.His research and lecturing activities include Innovation management,Entrepreneurship,Start-Ups,Mentoring plant-based start-Ups,Research in the field of plant-based value chains,Instructing a range of courses,especially innovation management and operations management,Developing and presenting weekly lectures,leading discussion sections,grading assignments,maintaining student records,creating and updating course websites,and overseeing teaching assistants,Consistently achieving top rankings in student experience surveys,Serving in an active role on numerous academic committees while concurrently advising senior students on research projects and continuing academic endeavors,Key-note speeches,participation on conferences,Performing in-depth research studies, conducting interviews,analyzing results,and presenting qualitative and quantitative data;publishing 10+ articles (as both author and co-author) in reputable academic journals.

Ralf Amenitsch

IVRA and PETA, Germany

Ralf Müller-Amenitsch is a German lawyer, solicitor, barrister, author and lecturer in Plant-based consumer law and animal-rights who works in his own law office in Berlin. He studied in Bonn, Germany and Lausanne, Switzerland, and is specialized in labour, social and family law. He was born in 1963 in Bavaria and is married. He is the author of the first German book on vegan law that has been published in 2016 under the name “Vegan im Recht” (Vegan Rights), and co-authored the Austrian version of the book, published in 2017.

Ralf has supported the work of the IVRA since 2016 and became the German representative for the organisation the same year. He co-organised the first International symposium on the right to a plant-based diet in 2016, Berlin, Germany. He also supports PETA-Germany in national and international conferences on vegan topics.

Matthew Overton


Matthew is University of Bristol Law Graduate who spent a study abroad year at the University of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong he studied a course in ‘Animal Law’, which awoke his passion for veganism and consequently the law surrounding it.

Matthew is currently working as a paralegal in an international commercial law firm in Bristol, UK, with an ambition to becoming a practicing solicitor.

Matthew has taken part in vegan outreach and activism in the UK, and acted as the Treasurer of the University of Bristol’s Animal Law society. He also partook in pro-bono legal activities as part of his extra-curricular endeavours at university.

In his free time Matthew enjoys running, cooking, and Film and TV.

Sorin Ionescu

Vegan Option Canada

Sorin holds a Master in Software Engineering from Concordia University in Montreal and has a background in artificial intelligence. A social activist, he believes that love is the most powerful engine in the pursuit of alleviating suffering, and he strives to create bridges and partnerships between social change groups with diverse approaches. Alyssa and Sorin are co-founders of the Gatineau Vegetarian Association, members of the Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS) and of the Algosphere Alliance. Alyssa and Sorin will discuss how VOC went from a couple of activists working on a petition to one of the largest member ran vegan organization in Canada.

Alyssa Berris

Vegan Option Canada

Alyssa holds a master’s degree in sociology. She is a social activist for the recognition of vegan rights, for the fight against climate change and the improvement of animal condition. Alyssa is involved in the collective effort for a healthy, sustainable and socially responsible global ecological transition. Alyssa is working on the convergence of struggles to safeguard biodiversity and calmed relationships with life.

Sandra Higgins

Go Vegan World

Sandra Higgins founded Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary in 2008. It was the first vegan sanctuary in Ireland. Eden is now home to almost two hundred residents, all of whom have been rescued from human use.

In 2015 she founded Go Vegan Ireland, a public educational advertising campaign which quickly developed into the international campaign Go Vegan World. The campaign has been pioneering in the animal rights movement, bringing vegan education to the non-vegan public through advertisements at sports events, public transport, billboards and social media. The campaign provides vegan education that focuses on animal sentience and animal rights and promotes veganism as a social justice issue rather than an act of kindness or compassion. It challenges human speciesism and the property status of other animals, and its goal is the rapid and complete abolition of human use of other animals. Sandra promotes a very simple philosophy through Go Vegan World: other animals have feelings and interests: as a result they share our fundamental rights not to be owned, used or killed. Being vegan means that we protect those rights. Becoming vegan is a relatively easy transition for most people.

Sandra’s interest in animal rights stems from her career as a psychologist specialising in trauma. She studied Pure Psychology at The Open University, and at Trinity College, Dublin where she obtained an MSc in Counselling Psychology with Distinction. She also trained at The Positive Psychology Centre, University of Pennsylvania, The Human Animal Connection Unit at The University of Denver, Colorado, and The Institute for Humane Education, Maine, United States. Sandra is a Certified MB-EAT Instructor (Mindfulness Based Eating Awareness Instructor) and Intuitive Eating Instructor and has trained in working with Trauma and Dissociation with the UK ESTD (European Society for Trauma and Dissociation). She is also a Schema Therapy practitioner. She works in private practice in Ireland and offers online therapy to people in the animal rights movement who are experiencing distress. She is also the author of The Power of Compassion (2nd ed) in Halpin, M (2014) How to be Happy and Healthy, The Seven Natural Elements of Mental Health, Ashfield Press: Dublin.

Sandra is an international speaker and regular guest on radio and television. She credits the residents of Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary with the strength of the message of Go Vegan World.

Barbara Bolton

Go Vegan World

Barbara Bolton LLM, LLB (Hon) is in-house legal counsel for Go Vegan World, where she focuses on using the law to promote veganism, and thereby animal rights. She is co-author of the book Vegan Rights in the UK: Promoting Animal Liberation Using Vegan Rights (June, 2018) along with Jeanette Rowley.

Barbara has over 15 years' experience in litigation. She graduated from the University of Glasgow with 1st Class Honours in Public International law, specialising in human rights and humanitarian law. She secured the Hauser Global Scholarship, which enabled her to study a Masters degree in International Relations at New York University School of Law, following which she qualified in NY and spent her first years of practice with a NY firm. While in commercial practice she retained a keen interest in human rights, working on a range of pro bono projects including asylum applications, death row appeals and research for the international criminal tribunals. She also spent a year as a fellow with Human Rights Watch. On returning home to Scotland she qualified there and in England and Wales and spent 12 years working in litigation with an Edinburgh firm, becoming a partner in 2013. During that time she became vegan, realised animal rights and human rights stand alongside one another, and began to focus her pro bono time on using the law to promote veganism and thereby animal rights. At the end of 2018 she left her firm in order to join Go Vegan World and focus on this full time. Barbara assists Sandra Higgins, advising on matters such as campaigns for policy change, vegan rights challenges and defending complaints against GVW adverts.

Marie Laffineur-Pauchet


Marie is a PhD Student at the University of Montpellier (France) in Public Label Law. She has a Master’s Degree in Animal Law and Society, is a member of the European Institute of Human Rights (IDEDH), the IVRA, and the Vegan Society’s Research network.

Edwina Bowles

IVRA and Advocates for Animals, UK

Edie is a solicitor and co-founder of Advocates for Animals, the UK's first animal protection law firm. She is also a consultant for The Vegan Society and a trustee for both the UK Centre for Animal Law and The Humane League.

Previous IVRA Conferences

Some of our Participants...

An eye-opening and empowering conference. Wonderful to see people coming from different parts of the world stand up for the rights of animals and the rights of those who believe in them.


Many thanks indeed to everyone involved for the interesting event over the weekend


Thanks again for setting up such a good conference! It was a great experience


Thanks again for hosting such an amazing conference!