Acting Individually For Animals
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org
As presented at the 2009
A) Personal Acts
- One of the primary goals of an activist is to foster and facilitate
change in the way society views, perceives and treats animals. We must
remember, we are their voice and are the only ones who can speak up for
them. I believe we have a moral and ethical obligation to do so. One person
can, and has, made a difference. The passage of “Nathan’s Law” in Wanaque is
an example. After working to get support from local animal welfare groups,
and veterinarians, I approached the leaders of Wanaque about enacting
“guardian” language in our animal ordinances. Because of the cooperation I
received from them, the ordinance passed. This is not to say it was simple.
It took five years, a great deal of emotion, and an impassioned legal
defense of “Nathan’s Law,” but we persevered, and never gave up.
- You can help animals by changing the way we refer to them. Always refer
to them as “he or she” in conversation, never as “it.” By referring to
animals as “he or she,” we convey to others these creatures are sentient
beings with unique needs, feelings and wants of their own – and not
disposable objects or commodities. They have an inherent value in and of
themselves, and not because we, as humans, have given it to them.
- An activist can also help make a difference by speaking up for animals
when the opportunity arises. When going through the newspaper, if you see a
story or a situation involving animals, write a letter to the editor and be
heard. Depending on the situation, you may need to do some research
(accuracy is critical) – but don’t miss an opportunity to inform others
about the situation. Whenever I see a story in the paper about the
“so-called” sports of hunting or fishing, I write a letter pointing out
neither of these activities can be considered a sport, since in sports, both
sides have an equal opportunity to win. When I can go into the woods with a
Smith and Wesson and shoot back on behalf of the defenseless animals, then
we can consider it a sport.
- Groups which make money from the objectification, abuse, exploitation,
and outright murder of animals, are often quite powerful. Groups such the
NRA, kennel clubs, pro-hunting groups, not to mention pharmaceutical and
cosmetic companies, all have lobbyists who work on elected officials to make
sure their economic interests are not compromised by people.. How do we
combat this? By being as vocal, and passionate, in defense of the animals’
welfare as the other side is. (Example of Defense of “Nathan’s Law”). You
would be amazed at the effect a letter or phone call to your elected
representative can be. Remember, they need us to get elected, so they have a
vested interest to listening to us.
B) Shirts / Stickers
- Your clothing speaks volumes about you, and you should think about the
message you want to convey before doing it. Any message worn on your body
(or place anywhere else) should have the effect of making people think – you
don’t want them to close their mind to you because you are “a radical.”
- People will sometimes have questions or comments about the animal
rights messages we have. When they do, think before you respond. It is easy
to answer a question or comment when someone agrees with the message. It is
much harder to have a substantive discussion (or hold your tongue) when they
don’t. The key here is, whatever your message, educate yourself and remember
to never stop learning. Knowledge is power!
- Gather a wide assortment of animal rights stickers and place them on
your mail. Unless the people you owe money to decide to stop sending bills,
you can always use them here. (Example of Nathan stickers) I also place them
on my hockey equipment.
- If teaching Humane Education or Animal Rights seminars, use posters /
stickers / flyers to reinforce the message. This works especially well with
children, who will take the materials home and expose more people to the
C) Workplace Outreach
- People are often considered an organization’s most valuable resource.
You can send an unmistakable message about your concern for animals by
refusing to work for companies that test on animals or use animal products.
- Help establish your company as “Animal Friendly.” As Director of
Purchasing for the companies I’ve worked for, I will not purchase from
companies that test / experiment on animals. When companies ask me why they
lost the business, I let them know.
- Check to see if your employer has donor-matching program for animal
welfare charities / organizations.
- If your company has a cafeteria, ask the manager about providing
- If you bring a vegan lunch, bring a little extra to share with curious
co-workers. I’ve found most people will try anything if they see you
- Discuss with your employer about a “Bring Your Animal Companion to Work
Day.” Nathan routinely joins me in the office, and it makes for a much
better environment. Our records indicate sales are higher on the days he is
there, and it makes a wonderful starting point for the discussion of animal
issues with co-workers.
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