Layoffs at NEAVS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1993:

BOSTON, Massachusetts––Financially drained, the New England Anti-
Vivisection Society laid off all but two of its staff August 24 at a reportedly stormy meeting
of the board of directors. According to former executive director Rebecca Taksel, who lost
her job at the meeting apparently because she resisted dismissing senior employees, “There
have been layoffs, and I was one of them. No, I resigned. NEAVS has been running at a
deficit for quite some time, and this was the board’s solution. NEAVS has been cut back to
just two projects, the education office and the legislative office.” Taksel declined to go into

The NEAVS education office will continue to be based at the organization’s Boston
headquarters, under Jon Schottland, while the legislative office, separately incorporated as
the Committee for Compassionate Governance, is in Washington D.C.
NEAVS had assets of more than $8.6 million as recently as 1987, and still had
more than $8 million in 1989, but spent $46,000 more than it received that year, lost
$719,162 in 1990, and lost $791,600 more in 1992. Funds were liberally dispersed to groups
and projects aligned with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Fund for
Animals after PETA founders Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco and Fund founder Cleveland
Amory won election to the NEAVS board in a bitterly contested 1987 election, along with a
slate of other candidates they supported. One of the principal beneficiaries was the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, headed by Newkirk’s longtime companion,
Dr. Neal Barnard, who is also on the NEAVS board. PETA-and-Fund-backed board mem-
bers’ groups reportedly received $600,000 at one 1988 board meeting alone.
Even before the PETA/Fund-led takeover, NEAVS’ financial structure was contro-
versial. Former probate judge Robert Ford of Norfolk, Massachusetts, headed NEAVS from
1983 until 1987. In December 1986, the Boston Herald revealed that Ford was paying him-
self, his daughter, and several close associates more than $100,000 a year in total for part-
time work. Convicted of misconduct in his administration of NEAVS, Ford was censured,
suspended from administrative duties, and fined a record $75,000 in March 1989 by the
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Taksel, a two-year NEAVS staffer, was executive director for approximately one
––Merritt Clifton
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.