Becoming an Animal Activist

Contact local animal advocacy/animal right’s agencies in your area to inquire if they need help or volunteers at all in any of their endeavors, and this includes any animal shelters or local pounds.  It is best to visit these agencies in person to talk to someone directly, to find out any pressing needs in your community, and to pick up any brochures or flyers. Most of them will also have websites with their location and hours and volunteer opportunities.  

You will want to assess what skills you bring to the table, like; office work, telephoning, writing, taking part in demonstrations, doing political advocacy, helping with adoptions, giving out materials at events and conventions, speaking in public,  or contacting politicians.  Let the agencies know what you are good at, what you enjoy, what you are most comfortable with, or if you are game enough to try anything. Most of them are nonprofit and do a lot of fund raising, so they need help in getting donations and even stuffing envelopes or computer skills like designing a flyer or helping plan events and fund raising campaigns.

You may want to consider fostering an animal for a while until it can be adopted, or even being instrumental in rescuing a sick animal that can be taken to a shelter. There are veterinarians who need volunteer help also, and that usually is hands on work directly with the animals. You will also become acquainted with the laws in your community that will educate you to recognize signs of animal abuse and know the proper protocol for reporting such violations and how to proceed.

Once you have decided how much time you can devote to becoming an animal advocate, be sure to tell your friends, your family, people at your church or clubs or groups you belong to, and encourage them to join you. Tell your friends on Facebook about your animal advocacy and send tweets about what you are doing and ask them to sign petitions or get involved. It is rewarding and gratifying to know that you are making a difference for those with no voice.

Go online and familiarize yourself with national or international organizations and join by becoming a member, getting their newsletters, and email alerts and educate yourself on their issues, campaigns and outreach. If you feel so inclined and are passionate about an animal welfare issue, especially one that is a grave issue where animals are in peril, write an editorial or letter to the editor of your local paper. Writing to an influential politician, city council members, or the governor of your state is also an effective way to voice your opinion, especially when animal protection laws are up for a vote. Be sure to boycott stores and businesses that do business with known animal abusers, and don‘t buy any products that test on animals. [Lists of the companies who do business with known animal abusers can be found on the internet, as well as companies who STILL conduct horrific, cruel tests on animals, like Proctor and Gamble.]

One of the best books you could ever purchase on this subject is called, “The Animal Activist’s Handbook” by Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich.

An example of activism is writing a letter to the editor. I was surprised and delighted to have my letter printed recently in the TAOS NEWS, TAOS, NEW MEXICO, titled, Urgent Challenge to All People of Faith. The response was very positive. It does matter. KB