Speaker Biographies

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Ryke Longest

Ryke currently serves as the Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and a Senior Lecturing Fellow at the Duke University School of Law. He supervises students practicing in the clinic and teaches the seminar portion of the clinic.

Ryke received his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1987 and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1991. After graduation from law school, Ryke worked as a solo practitioner doing criminal defense work as well as small civil cases. In 1993, he began to work for the North Carolina Department of Justice in the Environmental Division. During his 14 year career at Justice, he served as lead counsel to state level environmental agencies, boards and commissions. Ryke litigated cases before administrative agencies, state courts, federal courts and appellate courts at all levels. He also drafted legislation and advised agencies on rulemaking. In addition, Longest represented the State of North Carolina in complex criminal appeals.

Don Butler

Don is the Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs for Murphy-Brown LLC in Warsaw, N.C. Murphy-Brown is the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., the world’s largest producer and processor of pork and pork products. In addition to his other responsibilities, he was recently appointed Chief Sustainability Officer for the company. Don’s duties include internal and external communication, interaction with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies, elected officials and other government and non-government organizations. He is responsible for public policy development for the company.

Don was responsible for the development of Murphy-Brown’s Environmental Management System (EMS) which has been certified to the international ISO 14001 Standard, the first livestock operation in the world to achieve this distinction. He is the chairman of the Murphy-Brown Animal Care Committee through which he developed a comprehensive Animal Care Program for the company’s 840,000 sow production system. The Murphy-Brown Animal Care Program is widely regarded as the most robust program of its kind in the industry

He was recently appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for animals and animal products.

Josh Balk

Josh is Director of Corporate Policy for the Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization. Josh primarily focuses on working with companies in the food industry to improve their purchasing practices in order to advance farm animal welfare. He has helped create the purchasing polices of restaurant chains, grocery stores, food manufacturers, food service providers, hospitals, and universities.

Kay Johnson Smith

Kay is a native Virginian who has worked professionally with agriculture promotion and education for more than twenty years. She joined the Animal Agriculture Alliance as Executive Director in 1994 and was recently promoted to President and CEO in November 2011.

Smith is the industry liaison to USDA on matters related to farm animal welfare and serves as the industry coordinator for input to the World Health Organization for Animals’ (OIE) initiative developing international farm animal welfare guidelines. She also served as the coordinator for the Animal Agriculture Alliance Coalition that addressed the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, and continues to coordinate coalition responses to numerous other anti-ag campaigns, such as Meatless Monday. She is also a leading spokesperson on farm animal welfare issues and has provided hundreds of presentations and media interviews on related matters.

Ray Starling

Ray grew up on a diversified family farm in Sampson County. Ray received a B.S. in Agricultural Education from North Carolina State University in May of 1999, magna cum laude, and received his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in May of 2002, with honors. He has served as a National FFA Officer, a law clerk to a NC Supreme Court Justice, and an associate at Hunton & Williams, LLP.

Ray is now the General Counsel and a legislative liaison at the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and he also teaches agricultural and food law at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Produce Safety Alliance, was a 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellow, and received the 2011 Honor Award from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. In 2010, he was an NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Young Alumni.

Calley Gerber

Calley is the founding attorney of the Gerber Animal Law Center, a firm dedicated solely to animal legal issues. Her practice includes such things as assisting persons when their companion animals have been wrongly harmed, advising nonprofits and other entities engaged in animal-related activities, and speaking and writing on animal legal issues. Ms. Gerber was the program planner and a speaker at the first Animal Law continuing legal education seminar at the North Carolina Bar Association in 2008. She has authored/co-authored various articles, regularly speaks on animal law topics and sits on the Board of Directors for several animal organizations. She also is an adjunct professor, teaching Animal Law at Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law and the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Pam Fulk

Pam has worked in the nonprofit field for 30 years, and has spent much of that time in resource development, program planning and evaluation, policy, and management. Along the way, she has helped birth 10 nonprofits, served on local and national boards of nonprofits, and has done private consulting as well. Pam began her nonprofit education by working for John Carver, the “father” of the Policy Governance Model, and is an alumna of trainings through the Foundation Center, Stephen Covey, and the Center for Creative Leadership. She has been with Carolina Tiger Rescue for 9 years.

Amanda Arrington

Amanda is the Associate Director of the national Pets for Life program at The Humane Society of the United States and previously served as the North Carolina State Director for The HSUS, lobbying for humane state legislation. In her current role, Amanda leads initiatives designed to reach and improve the lives of people and pets in under-served communities by expanding animal welfare resources, services and information. The ‘boots on the ground’ work and the approach of meeting people where they are in their communities is a novel concept for many in the companion animal welfare field and Amanda is determined to push the field in a new, exciting and diverse direction.

Amanda is also the founder and Executive Director of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, a group based in Durham, NC and with chapters across the Southeast that addresses the issue of dogs living outdoors on chains. The group lobbies for tethering restrictions, builds relationships in communities by providing free spay/neuter and free fences and provides training and mentorship to other individuals and groups interested in doing similar work. The Coalition has a philosophy of treating everyone with dignity and respect and has freed over 1,200 dogs from their chains and is planning to start more chapters nationwide.

Goat House Refuge: Mary Ruth Coleman, Ph.D, Larry Vellain, & Diane Spotz

The Goathouse Animal Refuge is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, located in Chatham County NC. It is a no-kill animal sanctuary dedicated to providing cage-free care for cats regardless of age, medical issues or disposition until a permanent loving home can be found. The founder, Siglinda Scarpa, a world recognized artist, established the refuge to care for cats who would otherwise be neglected or killed. Over five years of operation, they have sheltered over 700 cats and have found forever homes for over 500. The refuge is committed to public awareness, education, and policy development to stop inhumane practices and to promote compassionate caring for all animals.

Kindra Mammone

Kindra is the Executive Director of CLAWS, Inc. Kindra was nominated and made Animal Planet's 20 national semi-finalists for Hero of the Year in both 2007 and 2008! She has also received many local awards, such as Home Town Heroes, for the work she does with CLAWS. Kindra has spent a lifetime working with wild and exotic species as well as horses and other domestic animals. Thanks mostly to her father and grandfather, she spent the majority of her life living with raccoons, skunks and other native species as pets. She has over 20 years of experience rehabilitating wildlife and has worked with several exotic animal rescues and sanctuaries, working in fundraising and direct animal care. Prior to moving to North Carolina, she specialized in rabies vector species and bear rehabilitation. She has also had the opportunity to teach several classes on rehabilitation of these species and has collaborated on a document for the USDA on keeping raccoons safely and happily in captivity. She still collaborates with rehabilitators across the country on the safe rehabilitation of these species. Once coming to North Carolina and realizing that it is not legal to rehabilitate these species here, she set out to volunteer at other organizations, working with young tigers and "smaller cats", such as servals, caracals and ocelots as well as other lesser known species of carnivores. She now rehabilitates small mammals, all species of birds and is one of very few individuals in NC licensed to rehabilitate fawn.

David Cobb

David received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from North Carolina State University in 1983, a M.S. degree in Biology/Applied Ecology from Eastern Kentucky University in 1985, and a Ph.D. in Zoology (Wildlife) from NCSU in 1990. After graduate school, he worked for over 8 years with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in positions varying from statewide wild turkey management program coordinator, to surveys and research coordinator and then Assistant Chief for the Bureau of Wildlife Diversity Conservation. In 1998, he returned to North Carolina as, and remains, Chief of the Division of Wildlife Management for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. In this position, he oversees programs dealing with wildlife conservation issues on private lands, management of game lands, wildlife surveys and research, wildlife diversity, and administration; with a budget of >$12M and 140 employees. In addition, David is a National Conservation Leadership Institute Fellow; and has adjunct Assistant Professor appointments in the departments of Zoology and Forestry, is a member of the Fisheries and Wildlife and Graduate faculties, and currently serves on five graduate committees at NCSU. David is a TWS Certified Wildlife Biologist and member of the North Carolina, Southeastern Section (currently serving as President), and National TWS chapters. An avid hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, David and his family lives in the rural Piedmont.

Geoff Fleck

Geoff is a contract attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program. Geoff has most recently been employed as an Assistant State Attorney for the State Attorney's Office, 8th Judicial Circuit, Gainesville, Florida, where he has worked since May of 1997. During that time, he has had trial responsibility for complex white collar crimes as well as felony cases including homicides and other violent crimes and offenders. He has also served as the office's Training Supervisor and co-ordinated internal training in trial preparation and practice for the attorney staff. His passion, however, is the prosecution of animal cruelty and fighting cases.

Prior to joining the State Attorney's Office, Geoff practiced in the Miami-Dade County area of the state as a partner in the law firm of Friend & Fleck, P.A. and as a sole practitioner where he specialized in criminal defense and post-conviction litigation. Geoff is a 1972 graduate of Emory University (B.A.) and a 1975 graduate of the University of Miami Law School. In the past several years, Mr. Fleck has prosecuted dozens of felony animal cruelty cases, many through verdict after jury trials, often resulting in substantial sentences of incarceration. He speaks regularly on animal protection issues, has recently been appointed Vice Chair of the Florida Bar Animal Law Committee, and was recognized by the Animal Legal Defense Fund as one of the nation's top animal rights prosecutors in 2009.

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106
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