Dr. Bronner’s Stands Up for Animals

Over $2.5 Million donated to the animal rights movement since 2013

With World Vegan Day approaching on November 1st, we’re marking the sixth year of our dedicated philanthropy program to support animal advocacy.

Dr. Bronner’s makes this commitment alongside other core causes, outlined in our six cosmic principles, under “fund & fight for what’s right.” Other issues include: regenerative organic agriculture, drug policy reform, fair pay & fair trade, and community & youth programs.

By the end of this year, we will have donated over $2.5 million to the animal rights movement since 2013. Wow! This is especially meaningful to me—I became vegan in 1998 because I started to learn about how cruel and senseless factory farming was. I wanted to do something concrete to reduce my role in the suffering of animals and do what I could to withdraw my support from a food system that was unsustainable for the planet. Refusing to consume animal products felt tangible and achievable and a way to model a better path. These days, I’m still vegan, and another way I play a part in modeling meaningful change is through directing Dr. Bronner’s animal advocacy giving program (and our PR department).

Dr. Bronner’s CEO, David Bronner, went vegan in 1997. This has always been a point of connection for the two of us. Around 2010, David and I began to talk about what it might look like to create a dedicated program within the company to support the many organizations and activists who work to expose and reduce the suffering of animals and combat climate change, while advocating for healthier and more sustainable food systems—especially through the lens of an animal rights analysis. In 2013, Dr. Bronner’s growth made it possible to start this program.

“In 1997, I committed to living a vegan lifestyle out of respect for the well-being and dignity of animal life and wild ecosystems. Now, awareness of the ethical nightmare and disastrous consequences of factory farming is on the rise. The first vegan IPO broke unprecedented records on the stock market earlier this year. Generally, the demand for and availability of plant-based alternatives to animal products seems to be exploding at fast-food chains, in the grocery aisle and beyond. The taste and affordability of these foods is continuously improving too, making it easier and easier for people to adopt more compassionate eating habits,” said David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s.
“In this spirit, Dr. Bronner’s offers free, daily, 100% plant-based lunches to our 200+ employees at our headquarters. I’m proud of my family and our company for standing up for animals in this historic moment of climate crisis, both with our free vegan lunch program, and our dedicated giving to support the animal advocacy movement, now in its seventh year. We need to end factory farming now!” continued Bronner.

Supporting the Movement Since 2013

Under this dedicated program we support a variety of approaches to address the horrors of animal exploitation, primarily focusing on the plight of cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). In addition, we are also a supporter of Sea Shepherd, the direct-action oriented marine wildlife conservation organization. Learn about the ship we bought them further down!

As a company we strive to take a holistic approach to our funding and support of animal advocacy. We believe that strong movements create the most meaningful and lasting change. My own 20+ years as an activist has shown me this as well. When we decide where to give money and who to partner with, we view the animal advocacy movement as an ecosystem, and seek to help maintain the vitality of that ecosystem in order to increase the movement’s collective impact and success.

Through this program, our grantees and partners utilize a myriad of strategies to reduce animal suffering, increase public awareness, and create lasting change to better the lives of non-human animals. These strategies include:

  • Engaging in advocacy and education on animal rights and plant-based eating
  • Expanding the markets for alternatives to factory farm products
  • Pursuing legislative changes to ban the worst practices on factory farms
  • Working with major corporations on policies to eliminate or reduce the use of factory farm products
  • Conducting undercover investigations that generate mainstream media coverage to expose the public to the worst abuses occurring on factory farms
  • Operating animal sanctuaries that provide safe haven for victims of animal abuse, and educational opportunities for the public

“Dr. Bronner’s supported our Question 3 ballot measure in Massachusetts that passed in 2016, which successfully banned cruel confinement practices for egg laying-hens, breeding pigs, and calves, thereby creating—at the time—the most progressive law regulating protections for these farmed animals in the world. This victory set the stage for the successful Prop 12 victory in California two years later which created an even stronger law,” said Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States.

Legacy of Accomplishment

Throughout the past seven years, our donations have helped fuel policy change, establish multiple new organizations, and sustain a host of others with critical resources. Notable accomplishments include:

  • The passing of Question 3 in Massachusetts (2016) and Prop 12 in California (2018) – two landmarkpieces of legislation that banned cruel confinement practices for chickens, pigs and calves
  • The funding of the Good Food Institute and Plant Based Foods Association in 2016, and Encompass in 2018, allowing each organization to prove concept in their initial years and attract other donors in the years to follow
  • The support of filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn (Cowspiracy, What the Health, Running for Good) whose films have helped educate millions about the problem of factory farming, as well as the benefits of plant-based eating. The company also provided funds to Farm Forward to support the production of the Natalie Portman-produced film adaption of the best-selling book, Eating Animals,by Jonathan Safran Foer.
  • The purchase of a ship for Sea Shepherd, the international non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization. Their German operation christened the MV Emanuel Bronner in 2017, which has enabled them to protect the threatened harbor porpoise in the Baltic Sea. This ship continues to be used to protect ocean wildlife off European shores.
  • The partnership with Compassion in World Farming along withThe Rodale Institute, Patagonia, and other allies to form the Regenerative Organic Alliance and create Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) in 2018.

“Support for animal advocacy is at the core of our philanthropic and activist agenda, and we are fully committed to this program,” said Michael Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s.

“We are doing this not just for the animals, but also for the earth and our fellow human beings, as current rates of meat consumption and industrialized animal slaughter are a major contributor to climate change,” Michael continued.

Engaging Across the Movement in 2019

By the end of 2019, Dr. Bronner’s will have donated more than $390,000 to the following organizations: Black Vegans Rock, Compassion Over Killing, Compassion in World Farming, Encompass, Good Food Institute, Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, Farm Forward, Humane Society of the United States: Farm Animal Protection Department, Our Hen House, Plant Based Foods Association, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, Reducetarian Foundation, Sea Shepherd, Sistah Vegan Project, VINE Sanctuary, and Vegan Outreach.

“I have used Dr. Bronner’s products for a very long time, so it has been such an incredible experience to receive grants from them for my project, Black Vegans Rock,” explained Aph Ko, founder of Black Vegans Rock.

“Their support sustains my work on racial justice and animal rights, and simultaneously provides me with a sense of confidence,” continued Ko.

In addition to financial donations, we also donate soaps and other products to festivals, conferences, educational events, fundraisers, animal sanctuaries, and direct-action campaigns regularly. In fact, this year we made a very special and limited edition soap label that declares “End Factory Farming!” in big letters. Not available in stores or for resale, these free 4-oz Almond Pure-Castile Liquid Soaps were distributed freely at animal advocacy and plant-based advocacy events, and generally via our partner organizations in the movement throughout the year. The messaging on the bottle underscores the problem of industrialized animal production and summarizes why our food choices matter.

Thanks Dr. Bronner’s and the Bronner family for Standing Up for Animals!

Author Profile

Ryan Fletcher

Ryan Fletcher is Dr. Bronner’s Director of Public Relations and leads the company’s animal advocacy and international philanthropy programs. Ryan has worked with Dr. Bronner’s since 2006.

See all stories by Ryan Fletcher