New London, CT’s Animal Protection Efforts Get $8 Million Boost

Funding Available for Care of Special-Needs Cats

Funding Available for Veterinary Research Projects Benefitting Cats

RedRover Grants Aiding Abused Animals and Humans Alike

Takeaways from the 2014 Taking Action for Animals (TAFA) conference

A couple of weeks ago, my colleagues and I attended Taking Action for Animals (TAFA) in Washington, DC, an animal-activism “boot camp” presented by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Over the course of just over two days, we were primed for political action, having scheduled appointments with our federal representatives in both the Senate and the House to discuss our concerns regarding specific pieces of legislation with animal welfare implications.

I live-tweeted from a few of the sessions I attended; a summary is below.

Hearing from Humane Lawmakers“:

  • If an animal is being abused in a home, there is an 80% chance that a child is also being abused.
  • Getting a legislator’s attention on a specific issue takes only 5 calls; 10 calls make it a real concern.
  • 10 e-mails to a state legislator on a specific issue can make it a priority.
  • Building a coalition of organizations around a specific issue raises its profile and focuses related work.
  • To elevate animal issues among conservative lawmakers, describe how cruelty violates family values.
  • Taking good care of oneself physically and psychologically is vital for effective animal advocacy.

No Money, No Animals Helped,” on effective fundraising strategies for animal welfare organizations:

  • Enrolling in rewards programs at Staples and Office Depot entitles you to $2 per ink cartridge you recycle.
  • Enrolling an organization in an affinity credit card program creates monthly income as a % of cardholder purchases.
  • Handwritten, personalized thank-you notes to donors make your organization stand out from most others.
  • Having fun, themed house parties that build awareness about an organization can inspire family & friends to donate.
  • Silent auctions of items donated by local businesses for special events can bring in significant donations.
  • Graphic images of abused animals can be a turnoff to potential donors — happy-ending stories are better.
  • Amazon wishlists for organizations’ desired supplies don’t disclose who buyers are, so thank them on your organization’s Facebook page.
  • Include a donation link from each photo in your organization’s Facebook album; you never know which one will go viral.

No Horsing Around: Let Your Equines Shine” on advancing legislation that protects horses:

  • Wild mares who are sterilized can have a 50% longer life expectancy than mares who are constantly foaling.
  • Most horses are given fly ointments, dewormers, medicines, & FDA-banned substances, all toxins in horsemeat.

Are You Wild About Wildlife?” on advancing wildlife-friendly legislation:

  • In some states, up to 86% of land is owned by the federal government.
  • Specific animals and the agencies responsible for managing them:
    – Wolves – US Fish & Wildlife Service
    – Wild horses – Bureau of Land Management
    – Mountain lions – Wildlife Services
    – Whales/dolphins – National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Get to know members of the agencies with jurisdiction over your issue; many of them do care about wildlife.
  • The Federal Register lists all federal legislation being considered at various stages; you can sign up to receive e-alerts.
  • Identify your state wildlife agencies & commissions; meetings are open to the public and accept comments; e-alerts tell you when they occur.
  • Similarly, at the local level, many communities have wildlife advisory boards; volunteer to serve on them.
  • Find out how wildlife is managed in your community & work with local agencies to develop non-lethal solutions.

Creating Corporate Policy Progress for Animals

  • Advance corporate reform by becoming a company insider, buying stock and filing shareholder resolutions.
  • Approach managers at your favorite restaurants & grocery stores about more humane food sourcing.
  • When those restaurants & grocery stores make positive changes, encourage local media coverage.
  • The US is the #1 producer of trapped-animal fur, followed by Canada and Russia.
  • The US is currently at a 30-year low in fur consumption.
  • Real fur can be distinguished from faux fur by looking at an individual hair shaft; real fur hairs taper to a point; faux-fur hairs don’t.

Overall, TAFA was a very positive experience that I highly recommend to everyone who is passionate about promoting animals’ well-being. Unlike most other conferences, this one provides a unique opportunity to take everything you’ve learned and put it to immediate use via concrete — and potentially high-impact — action.