Christine Stevens

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Christine Stevens, "who devoted her life to protecting all creatures -- elephants, whales and laboratory animals -- died last Thursday [2002] at Georgetown University Hospital. She was 84 and lived in Washington, where she was a leader of social life.

"She founded the Animal Welfare Institute in New York in 1951 and was president until her death. In 1955, she formed the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the institute's lobbying arm, which helped write more than a dozen laws on behalf of wild and domestic animals. These include the hard-fought 1958 Humane Slaughter Act and the 1966 Laboratory Animal Welfare Act.

"The institute also originated the Save-the-Whales Campaign, in 1971.

"Known for her gently determined ways, Mrs. Stevens shunned confrontational tactics in favor of lobbying and made her points before Congress as well as in countless meetings and conferences.

"She was the widow of Roger Lacey Stevens, the New York real estate magnate, Broadway producer, fund-raiser, arts patron and founding chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A supporter of her institute, he died in 1998 after a marriage of 60 years...

"In New York, in 1951, a syndicate led by Mr. Stevens bought the Empire State Building. Mrs. Stevens opened the institute in a rent-free vacant office, with a roster of scientists serving as advisers. One of the first issues she raised was the fate of farm-raised beagles destined for radiation studies by the Atomic Energy Commission." [1]

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  1. Christine Stevens, 84, a Friend to the Animals, New York Times, accessed June 24, 2009.