and protecting the rights of animals in Florida has been the mission
of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) since 1989.
Since our founding, we've recognized that change never happens
fast enough, and victories are rarely complete, but when we look
back we can see that—through persistence and patience—the
situation for animals in Florida has improved.
reaches out to the public through demonstrations and outreach
events, letters to the editor, and personal
appearances by our spokespersons on radio, television, before
civic groups and in school classrooms. We also promote the well-being
of animals through meetings with, and campaigns directed at, industry
and community decision-makers.
volunteers are the heart of our organization. An active e-mail
list and quarterly newsletter alerts members to upcoming demonstrations
and the need for targeted letters. Please
check the Action Alerts and Campaigns
pages for what you can do to help the animals!
ARFF's 20th Anniversary Gala
On March 14, 2009, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida celebrated its 20th Anniversary. The event featured 300 guests, including such celebrities as Bob Barker and Pamela Anderson, and congratulatory video appearances by Paul McCartney and U.S. Congressman Robert Wexler.
• Message from Paul McCartney
(Windows Media) (Quicktime)
• Message from U.S. Congressman Robert Wexler
(Windows Media) (Quicktime)
• "Face to Face with ARFF's President"
(Windows Media) (Quicktime)
Officers and Coordinators
President and Founder:
Communications Director: Don
Coordinators: Bryan and Carla Wilson
The following are some of
the major accomplishments that ARFF, and our dedicated members
and volunteers, were a part of.
• 2013: A video of ARFF's "101 Reasons to Go Vegan" presentation by Humane Educator James Wildman has been viewed more than 100,000 times since it was uploaded to YouTube in 2011.
• 2012: ARFF worked with local activists and city leaders to cancel a planned performance of the Cole Bros. Circus in Hallandale Beach (2012 was the first in at least 15 years that Cole Bros. did not perform in Broward or Miami-Dade Counties). A month later, the Hallandale Beach City Commission approved a ban on the use of bullhooks, electric prods, bucking straps and other cruel devices.
• 2012: Seminole County passed an ordinance restricting the cruel chaining of dogs. The local newspaper described ARFF as the "driving force" behind the
• 2012: The City of St. Augustine finalized an ordinance that includes protections for carriage horses that ARFF had demanded for many years, including a requirement that horses be provided water after every tour, and a rule that horses must be pulled off the streets if the temperature reaches 95 degrees. Although ARFF would like to see carriage horses off the streets altogether, the
new ordinance will make a real difference for horses.
• 2011: The City of Margate adopted an ordinance banning the use of bullhooks and other "painful techniques and devices" by circuses.
• 2011: The City of Lake Worth passed a landmark ordinance banning the sale of dogs and cats from puppy mills in pet shops.
• 2011: The Miss Florida USA pageant confirmed that fur would no longer be included in the pageant, after several years of campaigning by ARFF. (Each year since at least 1999, a full-length mink coat had been awarded to the pageant winner.)
• 2011: Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill that makes sexual contact with animals a crime. Beginning in the 2008 legislative session, ARFF had strongly supported legislation to criminalize bestiality.
• 2011: Three Florida-based airlines— Monarch Air Group, IBC Airways and Amerijet International— made commitments to stop the transport of non-human primates for the research industry.
During the legislative session in Tallahassee, ARFF helped to win important victories for animals, including a groundbreaking prohibition on Burmese pythons, anaconda, Nile monitors and other dangerous reptiles as pets.
The St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners approved a plan by the National Elephant Center, a partnership of dozens of U.S. zoos, to create an elephant holding and breeding facility in the county. But, following pleas from animal advocates, the vote came with an important condition: no bullhooks would be allowed on site.
ARFF’s humane educator is a
familiar sight in school classrooms and summer camps. In the past
three years, we have given over 600 presentations.
2008: ARFF launched VegSouthFlorida.com,
an online dining guide that makes it easy to find healthy, delicious
and animal-free meals in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe
2007: Five Florida cities passed resolutions
condemning the intensive confinement of egg-laying
hens in cages.
2007: Exotic animal auction shut down
in Sumter County out of concerns for public safety and animal
2007: City of Altamonte Springs decided
not to offer horse-drawn carriages after impassioned pleas by
2007: ARFF convinced a state park in
Dania Beach to cancel plans to trap and kill hundreds of raccoons.
2006: Festival in Orlando cancelled plans
for a live penguin display.
2006: Plans to kill hundreds of vultures
at a landfill in Palm Beach County stopped in favor of non-lethal
methods of discouraging these gentle birds.
2006: City of Winter Park cancelled plans
to allow horse-drawn carriages on city streets.
2006: ARFF purchased a year-long
billboard on Florida’s Turnpike heading into Orlando targeting
the cruel display of whales and dolphins at marine
2005: ARFF celebrated when a circus which
had performed at Fort Lauderdale’s Swap Shop almost uninterrupted
since 1989 was evicted by the flea market’s owner. The campaign
against the Swap Shop circus was one of ARFF’s longest.
2005: The Florida Bar approved formation
of an Animal Law Committee, an important step towards acknowledgment
by the legal community that animals deserve and are entitled to
protection under the law.
2005: South Florida car dealership agreed
to pull television commercial featuring a young chimpanzee.
2004: After protests, City of
Boca Raton denied a proposal from a cryonics company to open an
animal research facility in the city.
2003: Legislation enacted turning Florida’s
weak animal fighting law into
one of the strongest in the country. Animal fighting, along with
the possession of animals for the purpose of fighting, is now
a felony in Florida.
2003: After a performance by the Universoul
Circus, Orange County schools pledged not to allow circuses with
animals on any school properties in the future.
2002: ARFF’s mobile spay/neuter
clinic hit the road to combat south Florida’s dog
and cat overpopulation crisis. Over 5,000 free and low-cost
2002: Over 2 ½ million Floridians
voted to prohibit the use of gestation
crates to confine pregnant pigs in factory farms. It was the
first time in United States history that voters had banned a farming
practice because of its cruelty.
2002: EMS/Paramedic program at Valencia
Community College stopped using live cats to teach intubation
and worked to put non-animal alternatives in place.
• 2001: South Florida Fair enacted policy requiring people who buy chicks, ducklings and bunnies to come back at the end of the fair to pick up their animals; policy intended to discourage impulse purchases.
2000: "College night" promotion
at Orlando-area greyhound track discontinued after years of protests.
2000: City of Pompano Beach amended its
animal control ordinance to prohibit the use of electric prods,
bucking straps, bullhooks and other painful devices, in effect
banning circuses and rodeos.
1998: TV personality Bob Barker led hundreds
of people in a march demanding a better life for “King,”
a gorilla living alone at Monkey Jungle,
a roadside zoo in Miami.
1997: Sarasota County banned live bird
shoots, making an event at a Sarasota ranch in which thousands
of doves died the county’s first and last bird shoot.
1995: Cruel chicken-plucking contest
in Spring Hill discontinued after protests.
1995: Monroe Regional Medical
Center discontinued an endotracheal intubation class using live
ferrets after pressure from ARFF.
1995: ARFF joined successful protests
against inclusion of circus animals in Orange Bowl festivities
1994: Campaign to free a pair of dolphins
from captivity was successful. The dolphins, Bogie and Bacall,
were returned to the waters off Florida’s Atlantic coast
where they were captured years before.
1994: Ocean World, a miserable marine
park in Fort Lauderdale announced it would close due to poor attendance,
after years of regular demonstrations.
1993: Infamous primate dealer Matthew
Block sentenced to 13 months in federal prison for smuggling endangered
baby orangutans. ARFF activists attended the trial and sentencing
to make sure that Mr. Block was sent to prison.
• 1993: Collier County amended its animal control ordinance to prohibit the sale of impounded dogs and cats for use in research or testing.
1992: ARFF supplied emergency disaster
relief for dogs and cats following the devastating Hurricane Andrew.
1992: City of Pompano Beach banned horse-drawn
carriages. Similar bans exist in Key West, Palm Beach, Treasure
Island and Panama City Beach.
• 1991: ARFF worked with County Commissioner Nicki Grossman to close a roadside zoo in western Broward County where cougars, a bear and other animals were kept in small, barren cages.
• 1990: 200 people joined ARFF in protesting the annual meeting of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association in Boca Raton; ARFF's protest against the needless suffering of animals in product testing attracted 300 participants the following year.
1990: ARFF campaigned against
a greased pig contest at the Martin County Fair. Due to activist
pressure, the event was replaced by a lumberjack contest.
1990: Landmark animal display ban enacted
in the City of Hollywood prohibiting the public exhibit of animals
for entertainment or amusement. City of Lauderdale Lakes passed
a similar ban in 1992.