Who We Are

Beyond Carnism is a US-based, international organization dedicated to exposing and transforming carnism, the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals.

Credit: Edgar's Mission

Carnism causes extensive suffering. Animal agriculture is responsible for the unnecessary slaughter of 72 billion land animals and between one and three trillion fish and other aquatic animals worldwide per year, and it is a major contributor to environmental degradation, human disease, and human rights violations. However, the majority of people who eat animals are unaware that they are contributing to such destruction.

At Beyond Carnism, we believe that people need and deserve to know the truth about carnism, so they can make their food choices freely—because without awareness, there is no free choice.

Beyond Carnism seeks to empower both nonvegans and vegan advocates through awareness raising and training, to help create a more just and compassionate world for all beings, human and nonhuman alike.

And, because we recognize that relational dysfunction is the metaproblem that gives rise to carnism and other, intersecting problems—and that weakens the vegan movement—our metamission is to help create a more relational world.

Our Beliefs and Principles

  • Awareness Raising

    We believe that it is impossible to have an objective conversation about eating animals as long as carnism remains unexamined. We therefore believe that it’s essential to raise awareness of carnism so that the system becomes visible.

  • Effective Altruism

    We are committed to the principles of effective altruism, in that we employ evidence and reason to make choices that are as impactful as possible.

  • Acknowledging the Limitations of Free Choice

    We recognize that certain people, such as those who are economically disadvantaged or geographically dependent on eating animals, are unable to make their food choices freely.

  • Nonviolence

    We are committed to nonviolence in attitude and action. Beyond Carnism does not endorse physical violence or violent communication.

  • Transforming the “Metasystem” of Oppression

    Carnism is informed by the same mentality that drives all forms of oppression and abuse. This mentality lies at the core of the “metasystem,” the overarching belief system, which gives rise to other oppressive systems (such as patriarchy and racism). Melanie Joy sometimes refers to this system as powerarchy, which she describes as a “nonrelational” system. Transforming carnism is essential to both ending the problems caused by animal agriculture and to transforming nonrelationality more broadly.

  • Relational Literacy

    Carnism and other nonrelational systems condition us to relate to others—human and nonhuman—in a way that is dysfunctional, or harmful. Therefore, building relational literacy, the understanding of and ability to practice healthy ways of relating, is central to helping create a more just and compassionate world.

    Learn More About Carnism and Relational Literacy

Our Team

Dr. Melanie Joy

Founding President

About Dr. Melanie Joy

Melanie Joy, PhD, EdM, is a Harvard-educated psychologist specializing in the psychology of eating animals, social transformation, and relationships. She is widely recognized as a thought leader and is best known for her pioneering work developing her theory of carnism. Her analyses have helped explain why people engage in “nonrelational” behaviors—behaviors that harm other people, animals, the planet, and themselves—as well as how to change this pattern.

Joy is the award-winning author of six books, including the bestselling Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. She is also an internationally recognized speaker and trainer who’s presented her work in fifty countries across six continents. Her work has been featured by media outlets around the world, including the New York Times, BBC, NPR, and ABC Australia. She is the eighth recipient of the Ahimsa Award—previously given to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela—for her work on global nonviolence, and she also received both the Peter Singer Prize and the Empty Cages Prize for her work developing strategies to reduce the suffering of animals.

All of Joy’s work is designed to raise awareness of the obstacles preventing people from interacting in ways that create a sense of mutual connection, with human and nonhuman beings. These obstacles are both internal (psychological) and external (social), and they are a key reason why we act against our own interests and the interests of others—often without realizing that we’re doing so. With awareness, we are better able to think freely and act compassionately, to create healthier and more fulfilling relationships and a more equitable and sustainable world.

Flavia D’Erasmo

Executive Director

About Flavia D’Erasmo

Flavia D’Erasmo has been with Beyond Carnism since 2017 and has worked in many capacities to serve the mission of the organization, including strategic planning, fundraising, design, grant giving, and publishing. Flavia became the director of operations in 2019 and then executive director in 2021, after having helped construct and implement new operational guidelines and shape a novel and streamlined strategic plan which helped bring the organization to a new level. Passionate about mission-driven impact and creating healthy, effective teams, Flavia has a strong commitment to the principles of effective altruism and to organizational resilience. She makes sure that Beyond Carnism is running efficiently and sustainably, and she works alongside Melanie Joy shaping the strategic goals of the organization.

Roxy Velez

Art and Creative Director

About Roxy Velez

Roxy Vélez is an entrepreneur with over 10 years’ experience in the motion design industry. Originally from Cuenca, Ecuador, she has worked in many corners of the globe, including Savannah, Georgia; New York City; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dusseldorf, Germany; and Berlin, where she runs her creative motion design studio Vexquisit, which works exclusively for vegan brands. Roxy has collaborated with numerous agencies and businesses on high-profile projects for brands such as Beyond Meat, trivago, Wacom, Hoegaarden, Ferchau, Cadillac, and Volkswagen. She has worked on videos for Beyond Carnism since 2017.

Ed Startup

Program Manager

About Ed Startup

After nearly a decade working as an educator, Ed Startup joined the Beyond Carnism team so he could apply his skills to developing hi-impact curricula, trainings, and campaigns to further the mission of exposing and transforming carnism globally. Ed is primarily responsible for overseeing the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy, and he has been revamping the program to expand its reach, increase its impact, and enhance its offerings. He is passionate about developing informative and engaging learning experiences that not only help increase the impact of vegan advocates, but also help to shift consciousness to help cultivate a more relational and mindful world.

Alex Higson

Head of Communications

About Alex Higson

Alex Higson joined Beyond Carnism in 2020 with more than 10 years’ experience as an editor in the vegan movement and the publishing industry. As head of communications, she plays a key role in planning and implementing our communications in order to spread the word about Beyond Carnism’s mission and programs to people around the globe. Alex is passionate about practicing mindfulness in her professional and personal lives, and she is excited about the potential of effective advocacy to transform the world.

Jess Isaacs-Blundin

Executive Assistant

About Jess Isaacs-Blundin

Jess Isaacs-Blundin joined Beyond Carnism in 2021 as our executive assistant. Previously, Jess brought her eye for detail and passion for nonprofit strategy to a wide variety of roles, working in administration and fundraising for nearly a decade. Her desire to create a more connected and compassionate world also led her to found Philadelphia’s first forest therapy firm in 2019. At Beyond Carnism, she brings her entrepreneurial spirit to her work in ensuring the organization is as effective and impactful as possible.

Dawn Moncrief

Board Chair

About Dawn Moncrief

Dawn Moncrief is the founder and president of A Well-Fed World, an international hunger relief and climate advocacy organization advancing plant-based foods and farming. She has been a social justice advocate since the early 1990s and has two master’s degrees from The George Washington University: one in International Relations, the other in Women’s Studies, both focusing on economic development. Her work highlights the ways in which high levels of meat consumption in the U.S. and globally exacerbate global hunger, especially for women and children. She also draws attention to the negative consequences of animal agriculture on climate change and the deceptiveness of “humane” marketing.