What is animal advocacy?
Advocacy is merely the support of an idea or cause, so animal advocacy is the support of animals. There are core beliefs that people who advocate for animals believe:
- Animals are sentient beings. This means that they are capable of feeling.
- Animals are intelligent. Animals are able to learn and understand things.
- Animals have inherent worth. An animal’s worth should not be based solely on their use by humans.
To this end, animal advocacy focuses on creating a world in which animals are treated fairly and humanely. Animal advocacy also includes the improved understanding of animals.
Most advocacy issues are tied to legislation, as sometimes the only way to ensure that animals are treated humanely is to prosecute those who do not. That being said, there is as much power in what civic animal advocacy- what society recognizes as acceptable as there is in legislative animal advocacy- what the law determines is acceptable.
Legislative animal advocacy is incredibly important because it affects so many animals; for example, the law against puppy mills in California will help countless number of dogs be abused for years. Civic animal advocacy, however, is just as, if not more important, because it influences legislative animal advocacy. If the rescue groups did not highlight the neglect and abuse of the dogs in puppy mills, if society did not accept the inherent need of rescuing and adopting as opposed to buying a dog, then there would not be enough pressure to push for a law that prevents that. Legislative advocacy always starts with civic advocacy. This is true in advocacy for humans and it is the same with animal advocacy as well.
Legislative action only comes when enough people in society recognize abuse and start to speak up, but this is not as easy as it may appear. There is some personal education required at times, as sometimes animals are absued under the guise of training, such as rollkur. Although people recognize the abuse, those in positions of power often try to explain why that abuse is necessary. Additionally, sometimes our society accepts abuse because the end result brings with it a monetary gain, such as greyhound racing.
With that in mind, it is so very important for individuals to speak up and educate others about animal advocacy issues. Although individuals cannot rescue every single animal we come across, we can educate ourselves and others about how to care for and train animals. I personally try to advance a number equine advocacy issues, specifically trying to stop horse slaughter in the United States. We work to help educate the public about legislative advocacy issues, such as the SAFE and PAST Acts, but also about civic advocacy issues, such as charro riding and rollkur.
I will be posting on this site not only about issues of advocacy, but about how to recognize and address animal advocacy issues, including:
When does an individual speak up?
How does an individual speak up?
Current legislative animal advocacy issues.
How to educate others about animal advocacy issues.
If you’d like to get in touch with me about Animal Advocacy, please fill out the form below.