In its podium discussions, talks and workshops, the 1st International Animal Welfare Summit 2018 will see international experts from the fields of commerce, science, environment, politics, and nutrition sharing their views on the subject of how animal welfare fits in to other concerns.

This overview of speakers will be updated regularly.

Bundespräsident Alexander Van der Bellen

// PATRON //

>> Alexander Van Der Bellen <<

President of the Federal Republic of Austria

The President of the Federal Republic of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, is the patron of the 1st International Animal Welfare Summit 2018 in Vienna. www.bundespraesident.at

// HOST //



VIER PFOTEN (FOUR PAWS) is an international animal welfare organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Founded by Heli Dungler in 1988, the organisation strives for improvements in animal welfare through sustainable campaigns and projects. www.vier-pfoten.at

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Heli Dungler was dedicated to Animal Welfare from an early age. First, he worked for Greenpeace in the field of environment and species protection. Later, he freelanced on a study for the Austrian Environment Ministry. On 4 March 1988, together with a group of students, he founded VIER PFOTEN in Vienna and has since then had a huge impact on Animal Welfare in Austria.

His campaign against the keeping of laying hens in battery cages was very successful and brought consumers to change their buying habits. Food retailers reacted to this development and delisted eggs from battery cages. Eventually, in 2009, Austria became a pioneer within the European Union as the first country that officially banned battery cages.

Over the years, VIER PFOTEN has become an international organization running several sanctuaries, offering bears and big cats from bad keeping conditions a new home. Lately, the VIER PFOTEN Emergency Response team made global headlines with the rescue of the last lions, tigers and bears from war-torn zoos in Mosul and Aleppo.

Vytenis Andriukaitis


>> Vytenis Andriukaitis <<

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety

Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis was appointed the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety in November 2014.  Through this position he is responsible for animal welfare matters in the European Union. www.ec.europa.eu

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Vytenis Andriukaitis was born on 9 August 1951 in Kyusyur in Siberia, where his family was deported in 1941 from Lithuania. He returned to Lithuania in 1957 together with his mother and two brothers. His father was permitted to return one year later.

Andriukaitis went on to graduate from medical school in 1975 and had been a practicing surgeon, gaining specialisation in cardiovascular surgery in 1989, for more than 20 years. He also holds a degree in History from Vilnius University acquired in 1984.

From 1969 onwards the Commissioner was active in the anti-Soviet movement, while his political career began already in 1976. In 1990 Andriukaitis was elected to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania which preceded Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament), and was a co-author and a signatory of the Independence Act of Lithuania on 11 March 1990. Vytenis Andriukaitis was also one of the co-authors of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania adopted in 1992, and one of the founders of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party.

Andriukaitis was a Member of the Lithuanian Parliament for six terms. During that time he served as a Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs, including during the accession to the EU in 2004; as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; as a Vice- and later President of Social Democratic Party; and as a Deputy Speaker of the Parliament. The Commissioner was also the Head of the Lithuanian delegation to the Convention on the Future of Europe. From 2012 to 2014 Vytenis Andriukaitis was a Minister for Health in the Lithuanian Government.

Raj Patel



Award-winning writer, activist and academic

Raj Patel is an award-winning writer, activist and academic. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a Senior Research Associate at the Unit for the Humanities at the university currently known as Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa. www.rajpatel.org

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Patel has degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. Raj co-taught the 2014 Edible Education class at UC Berkeley with Michael Pollan. In 2016 he was recognized with a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award. He has testified about the causes of the global food crisis to the US House Financial Services Committee and was an Advisor to Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

In addition to numerous scholarly publications in economics, philosophy, politics and public health journals, he regularly writes for The Guardian, and has contributed to the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Times of India, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Mail on Sunday, and The Observer. His first book was Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. His second,  The Value of Nothing, was a New York Times and international best-seller. His latest, co-written with Jason W. Moore, is A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things.

He can be heard co-hosting the fortnightly food politics podcast The Secret Ingredient with Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott, and KUT’s Rebecca McInroy. He is currently working on a ground-breaking documentary project about the global food system with award-winning director Steve James.

Nadja Bernhard


>> Nadja Bernhard <<

Journalist and presenter

Nadja Bernhard will guide through the programme of the 1st International Animal Welfare Summit 2018.

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Nadja Bernhard is an Austrian TV journalist. She studied Journalism, Communication and Art History. In 1999, she joined Austrian broadcaster ORF. From 2005 until 2008 she was the second ORF correspondent in Rome, afterwards she reported from Washington, D.C., until 2010. In 2011, she returned to ORF headquarters in Vienna, first within the foreign desk. From March until December 2012 she hosted the cultural programme “Kulturmontag”, from September 2010 onwards also the “Matinee” morning show. Since the end of 2012, she has been the anchorwoman of ORF’s evening news “Zeit im Bild”.

Nicky Amos


>> Nicky Amos <<

Executive Director Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW)

Nicky Amos is a recognised corporate responsibility professional and Executive Director of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW).

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Nicky advises multinational organisations and leading non-governmental organisations on the development and implementation of sustainable development strategies and measurement frameworks, materiality assessments, stakeholder dialogue and disclosure practices.

Nicky played an instrumental role in the development of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) and is Executive Director of the BBFAW. She has been involved in conducting a scoping study on the wildlife sourcing practices of luxury goods, tourism and transportation sectors on behalf of an investor client and has co-written a series of white papers on supply chain ethics.

Other recent work includes preparing a group human rights policy and management framework for a multinational company, conducting a benchmark study on the disclosure practices of pharmaceutical companies, drafting a series of international case studies on women in leadership, and writing multiple sustainability reports and integrated annual reports for market leading companies.

Nicky has founded and manages two companies, Nicky Amos CSR Services Ltd, which offers all aspects of CSR strategy and communications services involving employee, customer and wider stakeholder audiences, and Chronos Sustainability Ltd, which provides sustainability intelligence to business, public and civil society sector clients.

Tarique Arsiwalla


>> Tarique Arsiwalla <<

Vice President International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF)

Tarique Arsiwalla is Vice President of IPIFF, and founder and chief commercial officer of Protix, which is active in the cultivation of insects.

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Tarique Arsiwalla is co-founder and chief commercial officer of Protix, a Dutch origin company founded in 2009, active in cultivation of insects for the purpose of providing more sustainable proteins in animal feed (eg. aquaculture and poultry) and for human consumption. Mr. Arsiwalla has a MSc. in mechanical engineering and before founding Protix worked at ING Bank and McKinsey.

Vidya Athreya


>> Vidya Athreya <<


Vidya Athreya has been working on the human leopard conflict issue since 2003.

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Athreya has a Masters degree from University of Pondicherry and Iowa in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is currently with Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - India program, Bangalore. She is recipient of the Kaplan Graduate award and has been extensively supported by grants from the Rufford Foundation U.K and the Royal Norwegian Embassy to India. Her work has been essentially to work with the local Forest Department officials so that human leopard conflict can be reduced, especially attacks on humans. She is also a member of the IUCN cat specialist group.

Her recent research work has led to a better understanding of leopard ecology when they live among humans in agricultural landscapes. She also is very interested in the interplay between socio-politics of conflict and the role of cultural tolerance towards wildlife in India. Her work also questions known paradigms of large cats living among humans and she believes that persistence of large carnivores has a lot to do with the acceptance of local people towards these species. She has written extensively on this issue and all the material is online at www.projectwaghoba.in

She is now mentoring a team of young conservation biologists that are working on human wildlife relationships - of leopards, wolves and elephants that share space with humans. She is also trying to understand the human dimension aspects of these relationships. She works extensively with the wildlife managers in order to bring about management practices that are rooted in the knowledge of human wildlife interactions.

>> Video message from Vidya Athreya


Guillaume Betton


>> Guillaume Betton <<

Farmer, « Pôle Viandes Locales »

Betton runs the « Pôle Viandes Locales » (« Local Meat Center »), an initiative of 60 members that combines all steps of production « from field to plate ».

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Guillaume Betton has been a sheep farmer in the department of Creuse (center of France) for over fifteen years, with an emphasis on respect for animals, the environment and humans. He sells his products exclusively and directly to local consumers.

Betton runs the « Pôle Viandes Locales » (« Local Meat Center »), an initiative of 60 members that combines all steps of production « from field to plate ». It means not only entrepreneurial freedom to the farmers but also maintains the values of co-operation, a strong local economy, as well as animal welfare from birth to death. Entirely free from industrial factory farming, the animals can experience a slow and healthy life cycle.

This ambitious and innovative approach has already been the target of numerous scientific studies, done by animal welfare organizations, universities and other research institutions. All aspects of the initiative are dedicated to the needs of the animals. It is therefore only consistent that the farmers want to be with their animals in their last and most important moment of their lives.

Hanna Denes


>> Hanna Denes <<

Senior Standards Manager, Textile Exchange

Hanna Denes works in the Industry Integrity team to develop and manage the TE-owned standards and provide support and education on integrity in textile value chains.

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Denes has been directly involved in the development of the Responsible Wool Standard. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, London, and 17 years’ experience in environmental management and sustainable development. Hanna joined Textile Exchange in 2010.

Pamela Ravasio


>> Katerina Jacob <<

Katerina Jacob, Actor

The actor Katerina Jacob was born in Munich, Germany, and now lives in Vancouver, Canada. She has been committed to animal welfare for many years and advocates the responsible handling of our resources.

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From a very young age Katerina Jacob never wavered from her goal of becoming an actress. Her parents, actors themselves, were quick to recognise her talent, and enabled her to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York.

Katerina’s first television appearance, at 15, was in the mini-series “Der rote Schal”. Her later role as Detective Superintendent Sabrina Lorenz in the German crime series “Der Bulle von Tölz” saw her gain celebrity with a wide public.

Katerina Jacob has received several awards, including the BAMBI and the German Film Prize. She also provides the voiceovers for British actresses Emma Thompson and Elisabeth Hurley.

Alongside acting and painting, Katerina’s greatest passion is Canada, her second home, where she spends half of the year whenever she can.

For many years she has also been active on behalf of animal welfare. Together with FOUR PAWS, she helped transfer two illegally kept bears, Standy and Boyka, from a mini-zoo in Lesopark Lipnik near the city of Ruse in northern Bulgaria to DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa in the south-west of the country. The park is run by FOUR PAWS, and provides a home where the bears can live a life appropriate to their species.

The responsible use of our Earth’s resources is important to Katerina, so she uses her celebrity to appeal to people to think about their consumption, and to raise awareness about sustainability.

Jörg Luy


>> Jörg Luy <<

Veterinarian and expert in animal ethics

Luy's research focuses are political questions of animal-, nature and environment ethics.

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Jörg Luy was born in Germany in 1966. He is a veterinarian, philosopher and expert in animal ethics. His interdisciplinary dissertation is titled “The question of killing in animal welfare ethics”.

At Freie Universität Berlin he was a junior professor for Animal Welfare and Ethics between 2004 and 2010, after that he was head of the Institute for Animal Welfare and Animal Behaviour until 2013.

Since 2013, Jörg Luy has been heading his own Research and Consulting Institute for Applied Ethics (INSTET) in Berlin. His research focuses are political questions of animal-, nature and environment ethics.

Marc Pierschel


>> Marc Pierschel <<

Filmmaker and Author

In his latest films "Live and Let Live" and "The End of Meat" (in cinemas now) Marc Pierschel raises the question of human-animal-interaction and a meatless world.

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Marc Pierschel was born in 1978 in Hildesheim, Germany. After studying sociology and cultural studies, he filmed "EDGE – perspectives on drug free culture", a documentary about the US American youth subculture of Straight Edge.

In 2013, "Live and Let Live" followed – a documentary about the human-animal relationship and the history of the vegan movement. The film deals with the current debate on the morality of livestock farming and its impact on the environment and health and illuminates the essential perspectives in an impressive and emotionally subtle way. Half financed by crowdfunding, the film ran nationwide in cinemas as well as at film festivals in Germany, Italy and Austria. In 2014, the film was picked up by german distributor mindjazz pictures and in 2016 released worldwide on Netflix. 

In the summer of 2015, Marc Pierschel accompanied the Berlin activist group 'Hard To Port' on a two-week campaign against commercial whaling in Iceland. The resulting documentary, 184, gives an insight into the work of the activists, who are trying to document the brutal whale hunt off the coasts of Iceland.

In his new film "The End of Meat", Pierschel continues the ideas and reflections from "Live and Let Live" and raises the question of a meatless world. 80% financed through crowdfunding, the film was released in German cinemas by mindjazz pictures on September 14th 2017.

Pamela Ravasio


>> Pamela Ravasio <<

Pamela Ravasio is the European Outdoor Group (EOG)’s Head of CSR & Sustainability

Pamela has accumulated around 20 years of global experiences, working for leading businesses, academia, and as a consultant, liaising closely with textile businesses, as well as NGOs.

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Pamela joined the European Outdoor Group (EOG) as Head of CSR & Sustainability in 2014. Under her leadership the EOG and the European Outdoor Industry have acquired a global reputation for being a leader in future-proofing an industry dominated by SMEs, private capital and family companies.

Pamela took on the role as Chair of the Sustainability Committee, as well as Vice-Chair for the Personal Protective Equipment committee, for the Federation of the European Sports Goods Industry (FESI) in June 2014. FESI is a Brussels-based policy engagement organisation for the sporting goods industry.

In January 2016 she joined the Steering Committee of the Global Social Convergence Project - a global collaboration of 160 high-profile brands representing over 40% of global sales and manufacturing volumes.

In July 2016 she joined the Advisory Board of Textile Exchange, the leading not-for-profit organisation in the textile space for driving change towards preferred fibres, transparency/integrity and standards.

She is a widely published author in the textile field, and holds professional qualifications in corporate governance, textiles, CSR and sustainability, along with a PhD in industrial and production management.

Kurt Schmidinger


>> Kurt Schmidinger <<

Food scientist and geophysicist

Kurt Schmidinger founded the project Future Food which focuses on alternatives to animal products.

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After he finished his studies in Graz and Vienna in 1995, Schmidinger worked in Animal Welfare for several years before working as a software developer, a job he has been doing until now. In 2005, he founded the Future Food project which focuses on alternatives to animal products (meat, dairy and egg products). Future Food on the one hand presents the most innovative existing technologies and products and on the other hand prospective future technologies as in vitro meat. From 2009 on, Schmidinger was writing on this topic as his dissertation in food science which he completed in 2012. As a geophysicist, food scientist and animal rights activist, Kurt Schmidinger covers extensively the problems of global farm animal keeping and meat consumption: environment & climate, global nutrition, human health and animal welfare.

Paul Waldau


>> Paul Waldau <<

Professor and Author

Paul Waldau is an educator who works at the intersection of animal studies, law, ethics, religion, and cultural studies.

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A Professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, Paul has been the senior faculty member for the Master of Science graduate program in Anthrozoology since its founding in 2011, and was the Program Director from 2014-2017. Paul also taught Animal Law at Harvard Law School from 2002 to 2014, and he has been teaching courses since 2009 in Harvard’s Summer School through which he will offer the online course “The Animal-Human Divide” in Summer 2018. Paul was one of the organizing members of The Great Ape Project-International, and served from 1995 through 2008 in the capacity of board member, Vice-President and Executive Director. After helping to found the Animals and Religion group at the American Academy of Religion, Paul spent a decade teaching ethics and public policy at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, where he also was the Director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy until 2009. He has completed five books, the most recent of which are Animal Studies—An Introduction (2013 Oxford University Press) and Animal Rights (2011 Oxford University Press). He is also co-editor of the groundbreaking A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics (2006 Columbia University Press). His first book was The Specter of Speciesism: Buddhist and Christian Views of Animals (2001 Oxford University Press).

Matthias Wolfschmidt


>> Matthias Wolfschmidt <<

International Campaign Director at foodwatch.org

Matthias Wolfschmidt is a trained veterinarian. He is International Campaign Director and Deputy International Executive Director of the non-profit organisation foodwatch that fights for safe, healthy and affordable food for all people.

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Food law in the EU is harmonised to a greater extent than practically any other field of policy. foodwatch, as a campaign organisation anchored in the member states, seeks to influence European legislation to promote the rights and interests of Europe’s consumers.

Matthias Wolfschmidt was born in 1965 and studied veterinary medicine in Munich. As a licensed veterinarian, he earned a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Medicine at Witten/Herdecke University between 1998 and 2001. From 1995 to 2002 he worked as a scientific assistant at the German Bundestag, e.g. for the Enquete Commission “Law and Ethics of Modern Medicine”. At foodwatch he has been responsible for strategy and campaigns since the founding of the organisation in 2002. In April 2017 he was appointed to the position of International Campaign Director and Deputy Executive Director of foodwatch International.