Jake Conroy is an American animal rights activist who has been involved in the movement since the mid-1990s.
In 1999, alongside Josh Harper, Conroy co-founded Ocean Defense International and campaigned against the Makah whale hunt. While disrupting a hunt, both were arrested and charged for intervening in the killing of a grey whale.1Harper, J. 1999. Whale Hunt Update. Available: https://mail.all-creatures.org/aro/nl-19990908-whale.html [Accessed 29 October 2021]. It was the first direct action against a whale hunt in US waters.
In 2019, Conroy was featured in the documentary The Animal People, produced by Joaquin Phoenix. The film tells the story of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) pressure campaign in the US. Conroy and other activists, known as the SHAC 7, were trying – and often succeeding – to disrupt the work of the pharmaceutical company Huntingdon Life Sciences, who used dog, rats and primates in animal experimentation and vivisection. The pressure campaign was so successful that the whole weight of the law was brought down on the activists who were labelled as domestic terrorists and Conroy was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
Conroy now works for the Rainforest Action Network and has a YouTube channel under the moniker of The Cranky Vegan, on which he discusses the latest happenings in the world of animal rights activism and offers his unique critiques of the movement and thoughts about how we can become stronger and more effective. The channel encourages open discussion about the tactics and strategies we use and how we can direct our energy to move forward.
“I’ve spent the last 20 years doing something I believe in. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong. But if we start talking about them and listening to one another, if we start sharing ideas… then I think we start to grow into a really exciting movement, and that’s what I want for all of us. And that’s why I do these things, That’s why I do the talks. That’s why I do the travel. That’s why I do the videos… Because together we can grow something big, we can grow something exciting and we can grow something successful.”2The Cranky Vegan. 2020. The Cranky Vegan: The Primer. [online video] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPgM0EPNG1I [Accessed 29 October 2021].