Mission

We Animals Media recognizes the invisibility of animals in our world and seeks to give their lives and stories a place in the public conscience.
 
Through compelling photography, journalism, and filmmaking, We Animals Media illuminates the lives of animals used for food, fashion, entertainment, work, religion, and experimentation. We are committed to telling these stories through an empathic lens – collectively widening our circle of compassion to include all animals.
 
We Animals Media also seeks to mentor the next generation of media makers, create bridges between social movements, and inspire solutions that will result in a kinder and healthier world for all.
 
Thousands of photographs and videos are available to individuals, organizations, and media outlets around the world via our We Animals Archive.

History

In 1998, while backpacking through Ecuador, Jo-Anne McArthur passed a house where a macaque was tied to a windowsill by a short chain. The monkey was small enough to be able to move back and forth between the security bars on the window and had been trained to pick the pockets of passersby, and drop the loot inside the house. Tourists would stop to take photos while the monkey reached inside people’s pockets. Everyone present seemed to find this hilarious except for McArthur, who thought it was humiliating and belittling for the macaque and the humans around him. Surely there could be ways to relate to animals that were more honest, less exploitative and more informative than this.

McArthur’s interaction with the monkey and the humans laughing at him planted the seed for her career in photojournalism. Since then, she’s travelled to over fifty countries, documenting animals trapped in the human world: animals in zoos and on factory farms, at animal fairs and in puppy mills, in sanctuaries and circuses; as well as images of the people who stand up for animals.

In 2003, McArthur officially launched the We Animals project. The images and stories of animals that our society tries so hard to keep in the dark have inspired countless others not just to look at these animals, but to truly see them.

In 2013, McArthur was the subject of Liz Marshall’s award-winning documentary, The Ghosts in Our Machine, and in 2014 published her first book, entitled We Animals.

In 2016, McArthur teamed up with Brock University Professor Keri Cronin to launch the Unbound Project, a documentary project recognizing and celebrating women working at the forefront of animal advocacy. Unbound has since come under the We Animals umbrella and continues to tell the stories of women changing the world for animals.

Also in 2016, We Animals became a completely donor-based project, growing into a small organization with the addition of our first staff members. We’re excited to continue on our journey with a growing team and larger, focused projects.

In 2017, McArthur’s second book, Captive, was published. The team launched the We Animals Archive, which allows free use of thousands of images for anyone fighting for animals.

In 2019, We Animals relaunched as We Animals Media (WAM): a media agency focused on the stories of animals trapped in the human world.

Our Team

What started as one woman and her camera has now grown into a media team using images, film, and journalism to tell the stories of animals around the world.

Jo-Anne McArthur

Jo-Anne McArthur

Founder and Director

Jo-Anne is an award- winning photojournalist and the founder of We Animals. She has been documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents for over a decade. She is the author two books, We Animals (2014), and Captive (2017) and was the subject of Canadian filmmaker Liz Marshall’s acclaimed documentary, The Ghosts in Our Machine. Jo-Anne is based in Toronto, Canada and travels six to eight months a year to document the stories of animals around the world.
Vanessa Garrison

Vanessa Garrison

Photo Editor, Archivist, Designer

Vanessa has been a photographer and photo editor for over sixteen years, working closely with Jo-Anne since 2006. Vanessa’s work with We Animals began with development of the We Animals Archive but has branched out to include photography, image and video editing, project management, print and web design. Vanessa lives with her son in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada.

Kelly Guerin

Kelly Guerin

Filmmaker and Multimedia Producer

Kelly is a documentary filmmaker based in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her partner and two rescue dogs. Since joining the We Animals team in 2015, Kelly has directed, filmed, and edited dozens of short films ranging in topics from farmed animals, to environmentalism, to the shared path of human and animal rights.
Odette Lours

Odette Lours

Development Manager

Odette is a professional fundraiser and an animal rights advocate. She joined the We Animals team after working for several years for the Montreal SPCA as the event coordinator and development officer. Deeply passionate about animal rights, she lives in Montreal where she spends her free time with her own cat and dog, her multiple foster dogs and sometimes, her husband.
Anna Pippus

Anna Pippus

Strategic Advisor

Anna is an animal rights lawyer and strategist specializing in farmed animal law, policy, and advocacy, and the animal rights movement more broadly. She currently serves as director of farmed animal advocacy with Animal Justice, Canada’s leading animal law organization, and maintains a vegan blog helping people to make easy, plant-based food choices. Anna lives in Vancouver with her husband and two sons.
Kale Ridsdale

Kale Ridsdale

Director of Operations

Kale has worked in the social sector for nearly a decade in project management, and program development and evaluation. Prior to joining We Animals Media in spring of 2019, Kale worked with Animal Charity Evaluators. Outside of her professional roles, Kale has produced multiple media arts projects. She holds a master’s degree in Philosophy from University College Dublin, and a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food from Ryerson University.

Sally Thompson

Sally Thompson

Social Media Manager

Sally is a UK-based animal advocate with a passion for communication. She studied environmental and physical geography at the University of Worcester and has been involved in activism for ten years now—her work has spanned from grassroots community organizing to online campaigning and content creation. Before joining the We Animals team, Sally worked in marketing and communications at Veganuary and VegFund. A great believer in the power of collaboration, she is hugely thankful to be working alongside such a dedicated team of advocates striving towards a more just and compassionate world for all.

Our Contributors

 Corinne Benedict

Corinne Benedict

Journalist

Corinne is a writer based in the U.S. As a journalist, she reported for The Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star, The Virginian-Pilot, and The Washington Post, mostly covering the military. She also writes for non-profits. A native of California, she has worked in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Kate Fowler

Kate Fowler

Writer

Kate has worked in animal protection for 25 years, has authored books, led on successful political campaigns, managed media and PR for international organizations and worked on around 50 undercover investigations. She has been vegan since 1992.

Aaron Gekoski

Aaron Gekoski

Photojournalist and Filmmaker

Aaron is an environmental photojournalist, filmmaker and TV presenter, specializing in human-animal conflict. He has hosted films across a number of networks and aims to make conservation accessible to all through entertaining and educational content. Aaron is founder and lead investigator at Raise the Red Flag, a global campaign to end cruelty in the Wildlife Tourism industry. His articles and images regularly appear in the international press and have won numerous awards, including the coveted Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Alex Lockwood

Alex Lockwood

Filmmaker

“I’m a passionate documentary and narrative film maker with a focus on issues of ethics. I recently received a BAFTA win for my documentary 73 Cows which was a no budget short film. It’s hugely important to me that I work on the right kind of project. Ultimately, films have a huge impact on the world, and the idea that through film I myself could make an impact is the reason I make films.”

Anna Mackiewicz

Anna Mackiewicz

Writer

Anna is an animal advocate and writer from Sydney, Australia. She worked in social justice and community development programs in Australia, Mexico and Tanzania, before turning her focus to animal rights issues. Through her writing, she hopes to empower others to engage in kinder, more thoughtful relationships with other people, other animals, and the Earth. She is currently travelling around Australia in a van, teaching yoga and writing poetry.  

Jessica Scott-Reid

Jessica Scott-Reid

Journalist

Jessica Scott-Reid is a Canadian journalist and animal advocate. She covers and opines on animal rights and welfare, vegan culture and plant based foods topics for major media across North America, including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, New York Daily News, Maclean’s Magazine, CBC, Tenderly Magazine and others. She is a mom to two senior chihuahuas and one small human named Clover Lee. 

Chris Shoebridge

Chris Shoebridge

Photographer, Filmmaker and Activist

Chris is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker based in the UK and Europe. Originally working with organizations like the BBC, the National Trust and Swim England, Chris is now focused on animal protection and veganism, producing short documentaries, undercover investigations and promotional films to help bring about a kinder world. His work has appeared internationally, in more than thirty magazines, and has been exhibited at the BFI in London.

Sayara Thurston

Sayara Thurston

Writer

Sayara is a Montreal-based animal advocate and writer. She has worked on social justice issues for a decade and previously worked as the farm animals campaign manager with Humane Society International/Canada. Originally from Australia, Sayara holds a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney.

Share This