About the Founder
Rebecca Moore was born and raised in NYC, and became an animal rights activist at the age of 10 (when she met a chicken for the first time at summer camp, and promptly informed her family she was no longer going to eat animals); that was in 1978. Before founding the Institute, Rebecca had another life, as a singer, musician and performing artist, having spent more than two decades working with experimental artists of all kinds (music, dance and experimental theater) during the heyday of NY’s lower east side performance and art scene.
Over a decade ago, she left behind her years of work in urban art and activism realms to go in a very different direction and devote her life to farm animals - their rescue, care and advocacy. She started as a volunteer and then gained experience as a staff member at several organizations over a ten year phase.
The Institute was unofficially founded in 2009 when Rebecca brought home the first bird in need: Nelly, a 6 year old rooster with horribly deformed feet. Propelled by a love for the power of humane education, compassionate living and the vegan lifestyle, Rebecca created the Institute For Animal Happiness initially as an advocacy and fundraising website in 2015, and raised money via the online sales of a vegan ski hat and a song she wrote, for various charities. Over the decade of working and training at sanctuaries and rescues, Rebecca found herself continually drawn to special-needs chickens. Chickens are abused and killed in unthinkable numbers (68 billion per year and often sent to slaughter when rescued. She began bringing home these proud and intelligent birds from the rescues where she worked to provide them with more individualized, critical care. After moving many times, the opportunity to have a yard and build one, two and then three coops for rescued birds and expand her own efforts led to the Institute becoming an official 501c3 Non-Profit in 2019. Rebecca oversees the daily operations and animal care work as a volunteer, wearing the Executive Director hat. She also co-founded and co-produces Hudson Valley Vegfest and the up-coming Kingston Animalia art event, both of which support the Institute’s mission to bring more vegan education, access and visibility to the region, and whose proceeds help keep the Institute going.
About the Co-Founder
Brian Normoyle (also President of the Board) met Rebecca in 2012 while volunteering at a farm animal sanctuary where she was working; he helped her create a pen for chickens and the rest, as they say, is history. Whether he is building beautiful quality coops for the residents, or assisting with taking a resident to the veterinarian, Brian has been an unwavering and crucial support to the Institute and it’s residents, as the Institute has grown. Brian’s own history in Educational Publishing has informed many of his current endeavors which center around supporting Humane Education. These endeavors include the work he does here at the Institute for Animal Happiness, as well as being on the Advisory Council of The Humane Education Coalition, as well as the work he does with various learning institutions and individuals in supporting recovery and wellness. In addition, Brian consults in publishing and business and co-produces Hudson Valley Vegfest.