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Winner of the Belton Mouras Grassroots Leadership Award Announced

While picketing at circuses or advocating against animal research may seem like relatively new activities to many, the animal protection movement has actually been a growing social movement for well over 100 years, with groundwork for the ethical consideration of animals being laid by philosophers over many centuries.

carolyn and wim

This year, the National Council for Animal Protection is proud to recognize this history in honoring Carolyn Merino Mullin with the 2016 Belton Mouras Grassroots Leadership Award for her work in bringing the animal protection movement’s rich history to life at the National Museum of Animals and Society (NMAS) in Los Angeles, California. The museum, which is set to reopen in its new location later this year, is dedicated to enriching the lives of animals and people by exploring our shared experience, particularly through the living history of the animal protection movement, animal studies and humane education. Prior to founding the museum in 2010, Carolyn Merino Mullin developed her museum expertise through her years with The Miami Science Museum, The Chico Museum, Casa Dolores (Center for the Study of the Popular Arts of Mexico), and the Miami Children’s Museum.

Mullin has over 16 years-worth of experience in the nonprofit sector, with special emphasis in animal protection. In her teens, she served as the Miami-Dade and Alachua County Organizer for the historic “Yes on 10” ballot initiative with Floridians for Humane Farms which effectively banned gestation crates for pregnant sows on factory farms. In 2008, she coordinated all of Northern California for the “Yes on 2” campaign, which banned gestation crates, veal crates and battery cages within the state. In addition to her legislative work, Carolyn has been involved from the ground-up in animal advocacy, leading community groups such as Animal Activists of Alachua in FL, of which she was President, and running the West Coast branch of Farm Sanctuary’s Education Department. She has been a longtime volunteer in local TNR efforts and wildlife rehabilitation.

Carolyn earned her Bachelor’s in Religion Studies, with a focus in Religion, Nature & Animals, from the University of Florida and a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Her writings have been featured in VegNews, Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat, The Art of the Animal: Fourteen Women Artists Explore “The Sexual Politics of Meat”, and the upcoming Mourning Animals anthology, among other publications. She also reviews children’s books from an animal protection standpoint at Vegbooks.org and organizes the annual Thanksgiving Tofurky Trot in Los Angeles.

The Belton Mouras Grassroots Leadership Award, formerly the Distinguished Grassroots Leadership Award, was first awarded in 2012 to Laura Bonar of Animal Protection of New Mexico for her work to bring chimpanzees to sanctuary. Subsequent winners of the award include Marc Johnson of Foster Parrots and Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH. In 2015, the award was renamed in honor of NCAP’s founder, Belton Mouras. NCAP Member organizations submitted their nominations for the award and voted to choose a winner in April 2016. Carolyn Merino Mullin was nominated by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS).

A close runner-up for the 2016 Award was Andrew Domzalski, PhD, for his work co-developing and co-directing the Humane Studies program and center at Madonna University, founding Caring for Cats, Inc., an organization caring for homeless cats in Michigan, and his work in humane education.

The award was formally presented at the annual Summit for the Animals in Arlington, Virginia Thursday, June 16 at 6:00 PM.