My Sea Shepherd


Advisors - Animal Welfare, Humane, and Animal Rights

Board of Advisors

Animal Welfare, Humane and Animal Rights Advisory Board

Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni
James Costa
Dr. Alex Hershaft
Alex Pacheco

Sebastiano Cossia CastiglioniSebastiano Cossia Castiglioni

Born in Milan, Italy in 1966, Sebastiano has been a vegetarian and an animal rights activist for nearly thirty years. He is the owner and chairman of one of the most renowned and pioneering wineries in Europe, Querciabella, where organic viticulture implemented in 1988 led to a complete conversion to strict biodynamic practices in 2000. His Tuscan wines have garnered worldwide acclaim, including "Best Italian Wine" in 2004. Sebastiano is an industrial designer and the creator of a multinational business network encompassing fields as varied as agriculture, financial advisory, advanced technology, and real estate. He currently lives with his family in Northern Europe.


James CostaJames Costa

James Costa is on the board of The International Documentary Association. He is Vice Chair of the Board of Farm Sanctuary. He is also a board member of The International Fund for Animal Welfare, Benevolent, and Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals. He is on the Advisory boards of Physicians Committee for Responsible  Medicine as well as The Trustees of Liberia. He is also a filmmaker and producer. He is the director of the film Lunch Hour:America’s School Lunch Program. He is currently working on a film on The Native American Diet. He is also currently working on Comic Relief Wild.



Alex Hershaft, PhD

In the summer of 1981, Dr Alex Hershaft organized 'Action For Life,' a national conference that launched the US animal rights movement.

Shortly thereafter, he gave up a successful career in environmental management and an affluent suburban lifestyle to devote his full attention to exposing and ending animal abuse and other destructive impacts of animal agriculture.

Later that year, Dr Hershaft founded FARM (Farm Animal Reform Movement) which has become a major force in the struggle for vegetarianism and improved treatment of farm animals.

He launched World Farm Animals Day in 1983 and the Great American Meatout in 1985.

In addition to these annual campaigns, FARM also sponsors National Veal Ban Action, Letters From FARM, CHOICE (of plant-based meals in schools), and several other programs. FARM's nine national conferences turned hundreds of concerned Americans into animal rights activists.



Alex Pacheco

Alex Pacheco, a national leader in the movement for animal rights, is the co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) where he served as Chairman for 20 years before leaving. He has since founded The Cure for Animal Overpopulation and 600 Million Stray Dogs Need You to develop sterilization dog food capable of sterilizing, without surgery, the world's 600 million stray dogs who give birth to over one billion pups each year.

On the SSCS Advisory Board for decades, he crewed on the Sea Shepherds' first whale campaign and describes himself as "a proud and early day disciple of Paul...Paul W."

Alex became an activist during his teens in the 1970’s after a visit to a slaughterhouse, when he was studying for the priesthood. Before that, the FBI had accepted him to work towards becoming an agent. He later worked with the Hunt Saboteurs Association in England, sabotaging animal hunts, and also for the State of Alaska on a research vessel to protect humpback whales.

In 1980, he co-founded PETA and worked undercover in a federally funded animal laboratory leading law enforcement agents on a historic police raid of the Institute for Behavioral Research, known as The Silver Spring Monkeys case, resulting in:

  • the very first criminal conviction of an animal experimenter in the U.S. on cruelty charges
  • the first laboratory closed because of cruelty
  • the first termination of a federal research grant because of cruelty
  • the first confiscation of animals from a laboratory
  • landmark animal protection litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Congressional passage of animal protection amendments to the Federal Animal Welfare Act

His investigative work resulted in U.S. Secretary of Defense Casper Weinbergers' order to permanently close a Pentagon laboratory where animals were shot to test bullets; and Weinbergers' order that no dogs or cats ever be used again in military ballistics training or research. This was the second animal laboratory ever closed in the U.S.

He orchestrated a four-day occupation of 15 federal offices by over 100 activists at the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health, compelling the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to terminate a $14 million brain injury laboratory where the brains of animals were being crushed. This was the third animal laboratory ever closed in the U.S.

On Capitol Hill for 15 years, he directed animal protection lobbyists, testified before congressional hearings and worked on congressional election campaigns. His undercover work resulted in closing down the largest horse slaughter operation in the world, involving over 30,000 horses.

From being voted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame to receiving The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award, from his non-materialistic Franciscan philosophy to his creativity, near fearlessness and unending drive, he is described by some as a ‘modern day Spartan.’


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