The Culture & Animals Foundation (CAF) began in 1985 under the auspices of animal rights philosopher Tom Regan (1938–2017) and his wife, Nancy. Nancy heard about Los Angeles–based performance artist Rachel Rosenthal (1926–2015), 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 her husband Tom’s academic leadership as a philosopher, helped CAF 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. Thus, CAF’s unique combination of the arts and academic investigation was brought into the world.