The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida was founded in 1989 to promote and protect the rights of animals in Florida. Since our founding, we’ve recognized that change never happens fast enough, and victories are rarely complete, but when we look back we can see that—through persistence and patience—the situation for animals in Florida has improved.
ARFF reaches out to the public through demonstrations and outreach events, letters to the editor, and personal appearances by our spokespersons on radio, television, before civic groups and in school classrooms. We also promote the well-being of animals through meetings with, and campaigns directed at, industry and community decision-makers.
Our volunteers are the heart of our organization. An active e-mail list and quarterly newsletter alerts members to upcoming demonstrations and the need for targeted letters.
The following are some of the major accomplishments that ARFF, and our dedicated members and volunteers, were a part of.
• 2018: Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 13 which will phase out greyhound racing in Florida by 2020. Florida’s 11 tracks will close as a result. During the Amendment 13 campaign, millions of voters were educated about the cruelty of greyhound racing.
• 2018: Over the last five years, ARFF has distributed over 40,000 Vegan Shopping Guides to students, teachers, and adults, helping them transition to a healthier and more compassionate lifestyle.
• 2017: Fort Lauderdale joined a growing list of communities in Florida (more than 50 as of the end of the year!) that have banned the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores.
• 2017: The year began with the surprising announcement that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, America’s largest circus, would close after 146 years. The owners of Ringling Bros. attributed the decision to close the circus to declining ticket sales and the growing number of cities and counties that have passed “anti-circus” ordinances. (In 1990, Hollywood, Florida enacted an animal display ban that prohibits circuses, the first such ordinance in the nation.)
• 2016: The Cole Bros. Circus cancelled its 2016 tour and closed up shop forever! Cole Bros. performed more shows in more Florida cities than any other circus. The circus was the target of numerous ARFF protests dating back 25 years.
• 2016: Following a widely publicized incident in which dozens of Muscovy ducks were taken from ponds, canals and mobile home parks in Davie, ARFF successfully pushed the town council to declare the town to be a bird sanctuary, which will put an end to the cruel trapping and sale of ducks by disreputable trappers.
• 2016: Responding to public outrage over the deaths of 304 black bears during a bear hunting season in 2015, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced it would not hold a bear hunt in 2016 (the FWC later decided not to consider holding another bear hunt until at least 2019).
• 2015: ARFF continues to work alongside community leaders to stop the sale of dogs and cats from large-scale, commercial breeders (“puppy mills”). More than 35 cities in South Florida have passed ordinances that restrict the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores, and encourage adoption of animals from animal shelters and rescue groups.
• 2014: ARFF was voted “Best Local Activist Group 2014” by the readers of Orlando Weekly.
• 2014: ARFF’s “101 Reasons to Go Vegan” video, which has been subtitled in Spanish, German, French and Turkish, among other languages, reached an impressive milestone with over 1 million total views on YouTube.
• 2014: The City of Miami Beach approved a ban on the use of bullhooks, electric prods, bucking straps and other cruel devices. The ordinance also prohibits the constant chaining of elephants.
• 2013: After close to two years of campaigning, ARFF celebrated when the Florida Park Service announced that it would no longer allow a trapper to remove wild monkeys from Silver Springs State Park for sale to laboratories.
• 2013: A bill to prohibit the artificial coloring and sale of baby chickens, ducklings and rabbits as pets, was adopted with unanimous votes by the Florida Legislature.
• 2012: ARFF worked with local activists and city leaders to cancel a planned performance of the Cole Bros. Circus in Hallandale Beach (2012 was the first in at least 15 years that Cole Bros. did not perform in Broward or Miami-Dade Counties). A month later, the Hallandale Beach City Commission approved a ban on the use of bullhooks, electric prods, bucking straps and other cruel devices.
• 2012: Seminole County passed an ordinance restricting the cruel chaining of dogs. The local newspaper described ARFF as the “driving force” behind the ordinance.
• 2012: The City of St. Augustine finalized an ordinance that includes protections for carriage horses that ARFF had demanded for many years, including a requirement that horses be provided water after every tour, and a rule that horses must be pulled off the streets if the temperature reaches 95 degrees. Although ARFF would like to see carriage horses off the streets altogether, the new ordinance will make a real difference for horses.
• 2011: The City of Margate adopted an ordinance banning the use of bullhooks and other “painful techniques and devices” by circuses.
• 2011: The City of Lake Worth passed a landmark ordinance banning the sale of dogs and cats from puppy mills in pet shops.
• 2011: The Miss Florida USA pageant confirmed that fur would no longer be included in the pageant, after several years of campaigning by ARFF. (Each year since at least 1999, a full-length mink coat had been awarded to the pageant winner.)
• 2011: Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill that makes sexual contact with animals a crime. Beginning in the 2008 legislative session, ARFF had strongly supported legislation to criminalize bestiality.
• 2011: Three Florida-based airlines— Monarch Air Group, IBC Airways and Amerijet International— made commitments to stop the transport of non-human primates for the research industry.
• 2010: During the legislative session in Tallahassee, ARFF helped to win important victories for animals, including a groundbreaking prohibition on Burmese pythons, anaconda, Nile monitors and other dangerous reptiles as pets.
• 2010: The St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners approved a plan by the National Elephant Center, a partnership of dozens of U.S. zoos, to create an elephant holding and breeding facility in the county. But, following pleas from animal advocates, the vote came with an important condition: no bullhooks would be allowed on site.
• 2008: ARFF’s humane educator is a familiar sight in school classrooms and summer camps. In the past three years, we have given over 600 presentations.
• 2008: ARFF launched VegSouthFlorida.com, an online dining guide that makes it easy to find healthy, delicious and animal-free meals in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
• 2007: Five Florida cities passed resolutions condemning the intensive confinement of egg-laying hens in cages.
• 2007: Exotic animal auction shut down in Sumter County out of concerns for public safety and animal welfare.
• 2007: City of Altamonte Springs decided not to offer horse-drawn carriages after impassioned pleas by ARFF members.
• 2007: ARFF convinced a state park in Dania Beach to cancel plans to trap and kill hundreds of raccoons.
• 2006: Festival in Orlando cancelled plans for a live penguin display.
• 2006: Plans to kill hundreds of vultures at a landfill in Palm Beach County stopped in favor of non-lethal methods of discouraging these gentle birds.
• 2006: City of Winter Park cancelled plans to allow horse-drawn carriages on city streets.
• 2006: ARFF purchased a year-long billboard on Florida’s Turnpike heading into Orlando targeting the cruel display of whales and dolphins at marine parks.
• 2005: ARFF celebrated when a circus which had performed at Fort Lauderdale’s Swap Shop almost uninterrupted since 1989 was evicted by the flea market’s owner. The campaign against the Swap Shop circus was one of ARFF’s longest.
• 2005: The Florida Bar approved formation of an Animal Law Committee, an important step towards acknowledgment by the legal community that animals deserve and are entitled to protection under the law.
• 2005: South Florida car dealership agreed to pull television commercial featuring a young chimpanzee.
• 2004: After protests, City of Boca Raton denied a proposal from a cryonics company to open an animal research facility in the city.
• 2003: Legislation enacted turning Florida’s weak animal fighting law into one of the strongest in the country. Animal fighting, along with the possession of animals for the purpose of fighting, is now a felony in Florida.
• 2003: After a performance by the Universoul Circus, Orange County schools pledged not to allow circuses with animals on any school properties in the future.
• 2002: ARFF’s mobile spay/neuter clinic hit the road to combat south Florida’s dog and cat overpopulation crisis. Over 5,000 free and low-cost surgeries performed.
• 2002: Over 2 ½ million Floridians voted to prohibit the use of gestation crates to confine pregnant pigs in factory farms. It was the first time in United States history that voters had banned a farming practice because of its cruelty.
• 2002: EMS/Paramedic program at Valencia Community College stopped using live cats to teach intubation and worked to put non-animal alternatives in place.
• 2001: South Florida Fair enacted policy requiring people who buy chicks, ducklings and bunnies to come back at the end of the fair to pick up their animals; policy intended to discourage impulse purchases.
• 2000: “College night” promotion at Orlando-area greyhound track discontinued after years of protests.
• 2000: City of Pompano Beach amended its animal control ordinance to prohibit the use of electric prods, bucking straps, bullhooks and other painful devices, in effect banning circuses and rodeos.
• 1998: TV personality Bob Barker led hundreds of people in a march demanding a better life for “King,” a gorilla living alone at Monkey Jungle, a roadside zoo in Miami.
• 1997: Sarasota County banned live bird shoots, making an event at a Sarasota ranch in which thousands of doves died the county’s first and last bird shoot.
• 1995: Cruel chicken-plucking contest in Spring Hill discontinued after protests.
• 1995: Monroe Regional Medical Center discontinued an endotracheal intubation class using live ferrets after pressure from ARFF.
• 1995: ARFF joined successful protests against inclusion of circus animals in Orange Bowl festivities in Miami.
• 1994: Campaign to free a pair of dolphins from captivity was successful. The dolphins, Bogie and Bacall, were returned to the waters off Florida’s Atlantic coast where they were captured years before.
• 1994: Ocean World, a miserable marine park in Fort Lauderdale announced it would close due to poor attendance, after years of regular demonstrations.
• 1993: Infamous primate dealer Matthew Block sentenced to 13 months in federal prison for smuggling endangered baby orangutans. ARFF activists attended the trial and sentencing to make sure that Mr. Block was sent to prison.
• 1993: Collier County amended its animal control ordinance to prohibit the sale of impounded dogs and cats for use in research or testing.
• 1992: ARFF supplied emergency disaster relief for dogs and cats following the devastating Hurricane Andrew.
• 1992: City of Pompano Beach banned horse-drawn carriages. Similar bans exist in Key West, Palm Beach, Treasure Island and Panama City Beach.
• 1991: ARFF worked with County Commissioner Nicki Grossman to close a roadside zoo in western Broward County where cougars, a bear and other animals were kept in small, barren cages.
• 1990: 200 people joined ARFF in protesting the annual meeting of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association in Boca Raton; ARFF’s protest against the needless suffering of animals in product testing attracted 300 participants the following year.
• 1990: ARFF campaigned against a greased pig contest at the Martin County Fair. Due to activist pressure, the event was replaced by a lumberjack contest.
• 1990: Landmark animal display ban enacted in the City of Hollywood prohibiting the public exhibit of animals for entertainment or amusement. City of Lauderdale Lakes passed a similar ban in 1992.
Animal Rights Foundation of Florida
PO Box 39352, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33339
Promoting respect and compassion for animals in Florida has been the mission of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida since 1989.
The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.