Who We Are

Christine Stevens, AWI Founder

Our Vision

A world where no animal suffers because of humans. 

Our Mission

The Animal Welfare Institute is dedicated to alleviating animal suffering caused by people. We seek to improve the welfare of animals everywhere: in agriculture, in commerce, in our homes and communities, in research, and in the wild. 

What We Do

Through the lens of animal welfare, we work to protect animals from suffering and/or extinction that result from:

  • the use of animals for food, clothing, health products, experimentation, education, entertainment, companionship, or other purposes;
  • the means used to breed, raise, capture, manage, transport, or kill them; 
  • cruelty to or neglect of individual animals; and/or
  • human activities that threaten species’ survival.

How We Work

Since 1951, AWI has advanced its mission through strategically crafted policy and legal advocacy, educational programs, research and analysis, and engagement with policymakers, scientists, industry, educators, other NGOs, the media, and the public. We seek scientifically grounded protections for animals in all settings, and robust enforcement of those protections.

Christine Stevens

AWI works in eight programmatic areas to achieve its mission:

In addition, AWI's Communications, Legal, and Operations Teams support the programmatic work and the focus on mission.

Christine Stevens, Founder of AWI

Christine Stevens has long been called the “Mother of the Animal Protection Movement” in America. For over half a century, she dedicated her life to reducing animal suffering both here and abroad. In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall: “Christine Stevens was a giant voice for animal welfare. Passionate, yet always reasoned, she took up one cause after another and she never gave up. Millions of animals are better off because of Christine’s quiet and very effective advocacy.”

Christine founded the Animal Welfare Institute to end the cruel treatment of animals in experimental laboratories. Inevitably, her work expanded to take on other animal welfare causes, including, preventing animal extinctions due to anthropogenic causes,  reforming methods used to raise animals for food, banning steel-jaw leghold traps, ending commercial whaling, and much more. Christine supported wildlife management programs that were “win-win” situations—such as highway underpasses to facilitate wildlife movements, wildlife birth control, beaver bafflers to minimize or prevent beaver-caused flooding, and perching platforms that protect raptors from electrocution.

Join Us

We need your help to continue our efforts, will you join us by making a membership donation? The minimum donation for AWI membership is $35, except for a $10 student or senior citizen membership. Members enjoy many benefits, including a subscription to the AWI Quarterly magazine and an opportunity to receive free copies of our books and other materials as they are published. AWI consistently receives high ratings from charity watchdog organizations for its wise use of contributions. To become an AWI member, click here. For more information, call (202) 337-2332 or email [email protected].

Join Now

Lynx by Matt Knoth

AWI Logo

AWI logo The AWI logo, created in 1975, represents animals in their appropriate, life-sustaining environments of land, air, and water, enclosed in interlocking hexagons, which symbolize bee architecture.


While AWI’s mission is to alleviate suffering of nonhuman animals, the principle followed by AWI of compassion and nonviolence applies to human animals as well as nonhuman animals. The Animal Welfare Institute condemns violence directed against all living creatures. There are no exceptions.