Peter Lovenheim was legal counsel at HSUS in the 1980s. He wrote an essay entitled "Animal Rights and Human Obligations" published in the May 1982 edition of Vegetarian Times. In it, Lovenheim (then a 27-year-old attorney) acknowledges HSUS's formal adoption of the belief that "there is no rational basis for maintaining a moral distinction between the treatment of humans and the treatment of other animals” at its October 1980 Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Though Lovenheim is credited as the author, he appears to write on behalf of HSUS, stating in one part that "animal protection laws are not the basis for our assertion of 'animal rights.'" (Emphasis added.)
Also while employed with HSUS, Lovenheim made a presentation about how activist lawyers could use the Freedom of Information Act as a campaign tool, at the "First National Conference on Animal Rights Law" in 1981. Following that conference, he joined the board of a new organization called Attorneys for Animal Rights, which would later change its name to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
In 1985, Lovenheim became the first animal rights activist to engage in "shareholder activism," using his 200 shares to try to pressure a food company into discontinuing the sale of pâté de foie gras. When the company refused to distribute his shareholder proposal, Lovenheim sued in federal court for the right to be heard at the company's Annual Meeting, and won. (Lovenheim v. Iroquois Brands)
In 2003, Lovenheim published the book Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf as an indictment of large-scale livestock farming. He holds a degree in journalism from Boston University and a law degree from Cornell.