About the Founder
Rebecca Moore was born and raised in NYC, and became an animal rights activist at the age of 10 after 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 was a singer, musician and performing artist, having recorded two CD’s on the Knitting Factory Record label and done small self-funded small tours with own band. She also appeared in the works of dozens of experimental artists over two and a half decades: primarily playwrights, but also avant garde filmmakers and choreographers, during the heyday of NY’s lower east side art scene.
One day, 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 2008 when Rebecca brought home the first bird in need: Nelly, a 6 year old rooster with 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 2013, and raised money via the sales of a humble vegan message ski hat and a song for not only the animals in her care but several other organizations. Over the decade of working to help farm animals, she had found herself continually drawn to chickens: one of the true “underdogs” of the animal kingdom, abused and killed in unthinkable numbers and desperately in need of advocates and friends. In time she was regularly bringing home these proud and intelligent birds from the rescues where she worked to provide them with more individualized, critical care. The opportunity to build three coops for rescued birds and expand her own efforts led to the Institute becoming an official 501(c)(3) Non-profit in 2019. Rebecca also co-founded Hudson Valley Vegfest and the up-coming Kingston Animalia art event, events which support the Institutes mission to bring more education and visibility about veganism to the region, and whose proceeds help support the animal care work of the Institute.
About the Co-Founder
Brian Normoyle met Rebecca in 2012 while volunteering at a farm animal sanctuary where she was working, and helped her create a pen for chickens; the rest, as they say, is history. Whether he is building beautiful quality coops for the resident’s, 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.