Activist attorney; Secretary, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; Secretary and co-founder, Animal Legal Defense Fund; Advisory Board member, United Poultry Concerns; former Maryland Assistant State’s AttorneyOne Internet list of famous vegetarians lists Roger Galvin as an “activist attorney”; he has represented PETA and Friends of the Earth in animal-rights cases. In addition to his position on the board of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Galvin currently sits on the advisory board of United Poultry Concerns and is a director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which funds a variety of animal-rights litigation programs.
Galvin’s claim to fame is his role as the Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted the infamous “Silver Spring (MD) monkey case,” which launched People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as a national sensation. Following the allegations of a young Alex Pacheco (PETA’s co-founder), Galvin brought a 17-count “information” action (i.e., an indictment without a grand jury) against the director of a suburban Maryland brain-injury researcher, relating to the use of primates in his research. In all, 11 of these counts were dismissed at trial; 5 ended in acquittal. The single remaining charge (“failure to provide adequate veterinary care” for six of the animals) brought a conviction, but was overturned and dismissed upon appeal.
On the heels of the case’s publicity, PETA launched a major fundraising offensive. Galvin resigned his prosecutor’s post and moved to California to help launch the Animal Legal Defense Fund.